I think trying to force my goals into categories may be a fool’s errand… I only identified one category, and it doesn’t seem to have anything more than an obvious impact. Maybe calling it a “rule of thumb” is a better idea.
Looking at my goals, it occurs to me that for each of them, one or more dimensions of SMART is pretty obvious. For my weight loss goals, they’re measurable, and attainable—I’ve done it before (sadly). For the vast majority of them, Timely is absent or non-existent. How can “be happy” be timely? I suppose if I set some goals that need to be achieved before I can really say that I’m happy (fall in love, live debt free in particular), and maintain them for say a year (or a decade… or the rest of my life!) then I’d be able to say that I’ve achieved it.
Maybe it’s OK, then, to have a few goals that don’t quite fit this mold. I don’t want to drop them off my list—they’re important enough that I want to keep track of them.
I think I need to set a few rules for this one. It’ll probably help if I categorize my goals, and then set some basic parameters for each of the five dimensions.
The first category of goals that I’ve identified is establishing habits—like read a book a week, and wake up when my alarm clock goes off. I’ve read that in order to establish a habit, you need to do it consistently every day, for 30 days. I think that takes care care of the Timely aspect for these goals—provided it’s actually a sufficient time to establish a habit.
Unfortunately I’m not sure if the other four dimensions are as easy to nail down and provide guidelines for. I’ll have to give this a bit more thought…
I’ve got a lot of goals on my list
Not many of my goals meet this. “Make new Friends”. OK—it’s measurable, count the number of friends you’ve got. Is it specific? What constitutes a friend? Achievable & realistic? I’d say yes, although since I work almost full time and am taking two classes, it’s difficult to make the time. That’s true for most of my goals, though. Timely—that’s the sticking point for most of my goals— I don’t set deadlines for them. So how many friends should I make by the end of the year? If I meet my “quota”, should I keep going? What about past that? Is it a one shot deal? I’d think it would be something that you’d just try to live up to throughout your life, rather than a goal that you check off a list when you’re done. That’s the problem. I don’t really want to get rid of them—they’re important to pursue. They just don’t belong on a list with really specific, measurable (and timely!) stuff like “run a half marathon” which you can definitely check off as having done, even if you plan on doing it again.
And so, the cull begins. ;)