Recently I was looking back on a previous site I had created but never stuck with. While going through the handful of posts I had made, I found a list of New Years Revolutions I had made a couple years ago. I had great expectations for myself going into 2015. Let me share:
- Become more social
- Become healthier
- Create/journal more
- Push myself to do things I normally wouldn’t
- Organize my time better
- Be more active in school and future career
- Stop comparing myself to others
- Less time on my phone/social media
- Volunteer more
- Start celebrating myself more
Dear 2015 me: what the actual fuck?
I suppose I was feeling ambitious, as I tend to do when I think about changes in a one-dimensional sense. These goals are mere words. There’s no substance to them; no meaning. Revolutions and goals do not stick for a multitude of reasons. I know I have a hard time committing because
- I am not specific enough,
- I do not create a plan I can follow through with, and
- I am too ambitious from the start – I think I can change all things at once, including the core attributes of who I am.
It is no surprise I get discouraged easily and soon forget about my revolutions. How many other people have done the same? I know I cannot be the only one.
While studying Therapeutic Recreation, there is a major focus on goal setting. What goes into goal setting? What components should be included? How can we create goals to motivate and challenge us, while remaining accessible?
Let me introduce S.M.A.R.T goals. SMART goals are a way of creating goals which aid the individual in discovering precisely what they are working towards and creating a basic plan in how to follow through.
S – Specific – Your goal must be specific. Instead of “become healthier”, decide what exactly being healthy looks like to you, and chooses one thing per goal to focus on, e.g., “Cut back on eating take-out”
M – Measurable – Whatever your goal is, it must be something you can measure. Let us take “Stop comparing myself to others“. This goal has nothing objective I can measure. It’s merely subjective to myself at a time.
A – Attainable – Are the goals you’re creating reachable? Do you have the means necessary to accomplish your goal? This can include time, money, resources, and even talent. For myself, it is not attainable for me to say I’m going to put out a CD by the end of the year when I don’t have the resources or the money available to do so. This is not to say you cannot aim to do the impossible“, however – just plan smartly.
R – Relevant/Realistic – This is where we must be honest with ourselves. Is it realistic for you create a non-stop schedule between meeting up with friends, school activities, work, volunteering, or what have you when you are more of an introvert? A goal like this (be more social) does not relate well to who I am, deep down. While I appreciate and love the time I spend with my friends, I cannot be surrounded by people, and on the go 24/7. I need time to myself. I need to recuperate from being around people. Are these goals worthwhile and will meet your needs?
T – Timely – Are you giving yourself enough time, or giving yourself too much time? Creating deadlines or a specific timeline is important as it sets how you carry on from that moment forward. I could say my goal is to learn the full language of Korean in a month. I don’t think so. Instead, I could rephrase it to “learn 7 new words in Korean a week“. While it may seem simplistic, to me it may be attainable at that time.
I think it is important to have SMART goals to help in guiding you where you want to go, want to achieve, and who you want to become. I don’t think they need look the same for everyone. Not all goals are created equally. Some goals are short term (studying for a final), while others are long term (creating a healthy lifestyle). The beauty of having goals is the ability to check in with them and decide if they are still working for you. If they are – great! If not – go ahead and change what needs to be changed! There’s no wrong answer.
I know my project for the next week is creating actual SMART goals for myself and digging into exactly what it is I wish to change and achieve. After comes is motivation – and that is a topic for another day.
Much love, xxo.