Setting goals

The new year may be in full swing but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still be thinking about setting goals.  Why should you be restricted to only making plans one month out of twelve? And how many of us have been despondent at the end of the year when we can’t seem to see the results of all our hard work?

In the past I have certainly been guilty of setting an unachievable goal or two. By this I don’t mean that it was something far out of my reach, but that it was so vague that I either didn’t know where to start or had no way of monitoring my progress, so felt as though I hadn’t achieved anything.

This year however I am thinking SMART. This is an acronym that I learnt whilst working as a Teaching Assistant many years ago and is used to help set targets for learning, but is also used in many different sectors to help with setting targets and goals. It stands for:

  • S – Specific.  If you have a larger goal in mind, try breaking it down in to smaller, more detailed chunks.  This will help you to focus on exactly what you need to do in order to get to where you want to be.
  • M – Measurable.  Putting a figure on your specific goals can also help you to focus, while creating a simple way to monitor your progress. For example, “I want to design ‘X’ number of patterns this year”.
  • A – Achievable.  You might decide that you would like to design 12 intricate lace shawls this year, and while this is specific and measurable, you still need to sit back and ask yourself if it is physically possible.  Do you have the time and/or resources to achieve it?
  • R – Relevant.  As you work through your list of specific goals, check to make sure that they are still helping you to achieve your long-term goal. Maybe the bigger picture has changed over time?  Again, check that your specific goals are still relevant to your new direction.
  • T – Timed.  Give yourself a time frame for when you would like to reach your goal.  It can be 3 weeks or 18 months, it is entirely up to you.  Just try to keep it achievable.

The most important thing to remember is that whatever the goal, it is not set in stone.  Life gets in the way sometimes, things can change and that’s OK.  This isn’t a test.  There is no pass or fail.  This is simply a few ideas that you could use to help you focus on achieving your goals.  Even if you don’t get there in the time you had hoped, you will still be closer to your goal than when you first started. And that will be something worth celebrating.

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