How to Set Smart Goals for the New Year

I’m getting ready to take down my Christmas tree and put away the decorations.  This is probably my favorite week of the year.  The week between Christmas and New Year.  It’s a time for dreaming about FRESH STARTS.  And I love fresh starts.  

As you look to a new year—dare to dream of a New You.  Don’t listen to that voice in your head that says, “You dared to dream last year and where’d that get you?” or “ Making resolutions is a stupid waste of time.  You’ll never follow through on them.”  Tell that voice to go bug someone else.  Because without a vision, people perish.  I believe God created us with an innate desire to press toward a goal; to have something we’re working toward.  Otherwise, we grow bored and stagnant.  Without goals, without a dream of the person you could become, there’s a place inside your soul that dies a little every day.  It’s that vision that makes life worth living.

So go ahead and dream big for 2009. Let me encourage you to set goals for yourself.  Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarded and have a Target date for their completion.  Let me give you an example of one of my goals for 2009. I want to sell 45,000 copies of my latest book, Becoming the Woman God Wants Me To Be: A 90-Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life, by March 15th.  It’s specific.  I want to sell 45,000 books.  It’s measurable.  Either I sell that many or I don’t.  It’s achievable – as my on-line support program, The 90-Day Jumpstart 2009, takes off and women who’ve already bought the book love it and tell others about it.  I have set up a specific reward of going to a Spa to be pampered.  There’s a specific target date.  So that’s an example of a SMART goal. 

An example of a not-so-smart goal is “Have a better relationship with my kids.”  What does a better relationship look like?  How do you measure it?  Is there a deadline?  Instead, make it a smart goal. I’m going to spend one hour of 1-on-1 time with each of my children each week for at least 40 of the 52 weeks in this calendar year. (The 40 out of 52 makes it achievable–life happens!)  I’m going to make a chart and give myself a check-mark every time I fulfill that intention   If, when I sit down at the end of the year, I’ve had at least  40 weeks where I had 1-on-1 time with each of my kids, I’ll reward my entire family with a weekend trip to their favorite place. That way, the whole family is pulling for you to achieve the goal, rather than resisting your efforts!

Suddenly, something vague has become a Smart goal.  Once you make your chart and commit to it, it’s specific (an hour a week with each child), it’s measurable – either you invest the time or you don’t; it’s achievable – especially b/c you’ve built in some margin by saying 40 out of 52 weeks; you’ve established a reward for yourself and you’ve set a target date of year’s end.  At the end of the year, you can re-evaluate and see if it’s something you want to continue or not.  But your goal was 1 hour a week with each child during at least 40 weeks of this particular year.

Now here’s an idea I learned at a recent Personal Mastery Class.  In addition to a REWARD, set up an intolerable negative consequence!  And by the way, it helps if the consequence is HUGE in terms of your time, money or both.   Something you absolutely, positively do NOT want to do.  Like cleaning someone else’s house–unless you like cleaning other people’s houses, then that won’t work.  Think of something that’s extremely distasteful to you.  

For example, I’ve agreed that if I do NOT sell 45,000 copies of Becoming the Woman God Wants Me To Be, I will donate $500 (and I sure don’t have an extra $500, just so you know) but I have pledged to donate $500 to an organization that I think is one of the most evil , truly evil, organizations in the world.  Absolutely, they’re like the spawn of Satan as far as I’m concerned.  The last thing I want to do is give those people a DIME, let alone $500.  So I am really motivated.  I mean, really motivated.  (Why do you think I’m offering a $100 Gift Card to Target to motivate people to buy the book?  I’d rather invest $100 than have to donate $500 to the bad guys.)

Now I have a lot of components working in my favor.  There’s the intrinsic reward of helping lots of women move closer to becoming the women God would have them be; the personal and financial reward of selling 45,000 books and the super-fun reward of going to a Spa to be pampered and treated like a modern-day Esther.  I also have dire consequences hanging over my head if I DON’T follow through with my goal. 

The other thing I should mention: it’s good to publicly ANNOUNCE your goals and invite a specific person or group of people to hold you accountable.  That’s an area where I believe our on-line Facebook Group 90-Day Jumpstart to a New You can make a real difference.  Post your goals for all the world to see!  Tell us what you intend to achieve, your strategy for achieving it and then what the reward or consequence will be.  Suddenly, you’ve put yourself on the line.  And you’ll have hundreds of women keeping you accountable.

For example, let’s say your goal is to thoroughly clean and organize your entire house, room by room, drawer, by drawer, closet by closet, every inch—by a certain date.  You could really put yourself out there by pledging to post photographs on the internet for all the world to see of the messiest places in your house.   Girlfriend, if you are anything like me, you will surrender sleep for a week before posting your biggest mess on the internet! Talk about motivation!

Let me give you another example.  I set a goal to weigh a specific weight – my goal weight – by January 1st.  If I achieve the goal, I’m going to buy myself a new outfit for an event I have coming up here in Arizona the last week of January.  If I do not achieve the goal, I have pledged to send a photo of me in a bathing suit to 12 friends and relatives.  I can assure you, at my age, the LAST THING I want to do is send anyone a photo of me in a bathing suit. Several of these women have promised to post the photo on the internet.  Now that is motivation!!!!  So that’s a SMART  goal.  It’s specific, measurable, achievable (although all those Christmas cookies really took a toll on me), I have a specific reward planned and even a punishment – so there’s both a carrot and a stick.  And, of course, I have a target date.

One last thing.  Be sure to break down larger goals into  intermediate goals and daily goals.  For example, if you want to earn an extra $12,000 this year in your own business, break that down.  What do you have to do in the next three months?  What do you have to do EVERYDAY?

So.  What are some goals YOU have for 2009.  Think about different areas of your life.  For example:

FAITH.  Goal to memorize the entire passage of Proverbs 31:10-31 within the next 90 days.

FAMILY.   Do something special with/for your husband.  Redecorate the bedroom, perhaps?

FITNESS.  How about exercising 3x/week. 

FINANCES.  Maybe you want to get all your bills set up online or all of your accounts set up on Quicken.  Or get your taxes filed by February 15, rather than April 15.

HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT – This is another goal area I’m working on.  I’ve set SMART goals for each area of my house – with target dates of when I want to have each room completed.

SMART goals work for any area of your life.   Specific, Measurable & Achievable with a Rward & Target date for completion.   I invite you to join our Facebook Group, 90-Day Jumpstart to a New You – and share your SMART goals with a group of women who will cheer for your success.

Helping You Maximize Your Life,

Donna Partow
www.donnapartow.com