Every January my gym is packed with people trying to live up to their new year’s resolutions. It’s not surprising, I’ve read somewhere that the two most common resolutions are to exercise more and to loose weight. Another thing not too surprising is that by March the gym is no longer as crowded.
When tutoring my pupils I always encourage them to set up SMART goals. It’s very common amongst my pupils to set up goals like: to study more/work harder, improve my grades or to be more active during class. As good as goals like that sound as hard are they to attain. How hard do you have to work to work harder? How active is more active?
To set up SMART goals (the term was created by George T Doran in 1981 and further developed by Peter Drucker) is a way to make them easier to achieve. SMART is an acronym with the following definition:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant),
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating),
- Attainable (achievable, agreed),
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic) and
- Time based ( time bound, time/cost limited)
Using this method, the goal “study harder” could be specified like this: I’m going to study for an hour a day, three days a week for two months. After two months you evaluate and decide if the goal is still valid. You decide if you think you have accomplished your goal or if you want to prolong it and maybe alter it. My guess is that a lot of people in my gym made hasty new year’s resolutions, maybe to mark a new start in the beginning of the year to improve their lives, but didn’t think of specifying them and consequently lost motivation and stamina after a while.
I hear you all shouting: Get off your high horse! Don’t worry, I will. Isn’t it remarkable how hard it is to practise what you preach? I was inspired to write this text after reading the blog post “Exhausted by my own moral outrage” by JB Clark, in which the message is to replace complaining with action. It made me scrutinise myself and realise I also have some complaining that need to be replaced. I’m boldly going to steal JB’s thoughts and add a few goals of my own, for example the goal I mentioned in my first blog post (Stray Bullet): to encourage myself not to listen to what people say or think of me. Now I only need to figure out how to make them SMART 😇.
The sun rise come, I climb the ladder. The new day breaks and I’m working on a dream.