SMART Goals Setting Methodology

Like so many others on Info Barrel, I have decided to set some monthly goals here on Info Barrel, so that I can visibly keep track of the goals I set forth for myself, and be held publicly accountable, as I will publish the goals each month. Each month I will reassess my goals based on my progress and make the necessary adjustments to my goals each month to ensure my ongoing success towards my longer term goals here on Info Barrel.

Normally when I set goals, I usually will just write them down, or make a mental note about what I want to do. This I notice does not usually work for myself, because nobody else knows about these goals I am setting, so I am really only accountable towards myself. Which is not really a strong source of motivation I find, because if I do not manage to pull through with my goals, I usually just "adjust" the goals by putting off the date to a later time... thereby making the timeline practically limitless and a vicious cycle of "adjusting goals" that never seem to get met. Which I suppose is the uber procrastinator in me. Therefore to address this problem, I am trying out a different method of goal setting - publicly setting goals, and being held accountable to the public. In doing so, I believe that I will be more motivated to maintain these goals as they will be published for all to critically observe.

So in order to set some proper goals for myself, I will apply the SMART goal setting methodology, which goes something like this:

  • S - Specific, Simple
  • M - Measurable
  • A - Attainable, Achievable
  • R - Relevant, Reasonable, Realistic
  • T - Timely, Time-Bound, Traceable

To break down my goals for February 2011, it would go something like this:

S - Specific, Simple: To write at least 1 article per day in February 2011. These articles can be about anything I fancy to write about, and that I will not worry too much about SEO, backlinking, market research, or any other practices of developing visibility for articles. I wish to focus more so on developing content and not get too bogged down with other small details - at least not just yet. This is a very specific target, and is simple enough according to my own comfort levels of writing.

M - Measurable: February is made up of 28 days, so an article a day would add up to 28 articles published by the end of the month. I can also track each day's writing habits, so that I can pinpoint information such as when I am most likely to be motivated to write during the day, or what days I am prone to other engagements. This month will be the starting point of figuring out where my writing habits lie.

A - Attainable, Achievable: I know that 1 article a day may sound like a rather easy goal to be making, but considering that I am just starting out, I believe that slow and steady is the way to go. I will be able to assess my writing motivation as I go along this month, and adjust my goals for the next month accordingly. I also work a full-time job, so this venture for me is done exclusively in my own free time outside of my job. I'm also hoping that in keeping to February's goals, I will feel more motivated once I achieve it, and be able to take on writing more articles for the next month. To me it seems similar to exercising - You want to start out slow and small, so that you can get used to the sensation of exercising, and also at the same time, build your body's overall strength and endurance so that you can slowly take on more exercise as you keep building on it. This is what I want to work on - my writing strength and endurance!

R - Relevant, Reasonable, Realistic: I know that there will be some days where I won't feel motivated at all, or other priorities in life will come up, in which case I will be unable to steadily produce 1 article per day. So as long as I make up the article that was missed for the day, and that by the end of February I have 28 articles in total published, I will be satisfied. As long as I am not putting off the articles so much that I end up overwhelming myself, such as missing an entire week's worth of article, I think I should be able to handle writing 2 articles on a couple days out of the month.

T - Timely, Time-Bound, Traceable: 1 article per day within the month of February - this is pretty explanatory I think... I've named my terms, and the due date I require my terms to be met. Having goals are great, but if you don't apply an amount of time to accomplish those goals, then you might forever put those goals off. Having a deadline gives a sense of urgency, and can be a great motivator for getting going on those goals. For example, my fiance and I were expecting guests over, and we only had about 3 hours to clean up our place. So with this time frame in mind, we set to work on tackling major areas of cleaning up first like vacuuming, and then the little details such as stowing away any clutter. With the time line in place we were motivated to clean up, and ensure our place was decent for our guests in time before their arrival. So with this straightforward timeline, I believe I will be able to maintain my goals for February.

There you have it! Those are my goals for February 2011 in a nutshell, with the SMART goal setting methodology applied to them. I feel that if I can keep up with my goals each month, ensuring to adjust my goals so that they are just challenging enough for me - not too hard and not too easy, that I can continue to make large improvements in my writing endeavors, not only here on Info Barrel, but in general as well.