JS Tip 38: From the Organizing Our Time and Talents Workshop: Using the End of the Year to Plan

The end of the year is a great time to think about planning.

Many organizations, institutions, and authorities teach five criteria for goal setting. (In other words, the ideas aren’t ours.) Your goals should be—

Specific: Identify exactly what actions and results you want to accomplish: “I’ve got to get my act together” is woefully too general. “I’m going to get to work on time” is more specific.

Measurable: Use numbers—counts, percentages, and ratios: “I’ll get to work before eight o’clock 98 percent of the time in 2010.”

Attainable: Choose a goal that’s achievable but challenging: Ninety-eight percent of the time? I can do that. It won’t be easy, but I can do that. 

Relevant: Your goals should matter to you. They shouldn’t be imposed from outside unless you agree and support them: This is something I need to do, something I want to do.  

Timely: Set time frames. Start points. End points. Review points: “On April 1st, I’ll review my progress and, if necessary, adjust my goals.”

We’ve never been crazy about cute acronyms, but the organizations that teach these criteria call them SMART goals. Yeah. That works.