Month: January 2018

Blog post #219 Attainable

Blog post #219 Attainable

As we get into the new year, I’m reviewing SMART goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

Today – Attainable

But first, I’m going to talk about two (or maybe just one) “desire” that isn’t quite a goal but is more probable than a wish.  I am thinking about two (or maybe just one) car.

My ‘desires’ are:  1) a Tesla Car; 2) an autonomous vehicle.  Let me elaborate pro and con.

Tesla: Over the past year, Tesla’s stock / company evaluation has soared into the top ten and even for a period of time, into the top spot over rivals General Motors and Ford:

Like so many Americans who are investing in Tesla, we are star struck with Elon Musk, with his dreams (and, really goals).  His concepts of an electric car that can go hundreds (or thousands) of miles without recharging, that is intelligent has captured our interest.  I took a picture a while back of me standing in front of a Tesla (and subjectively ‘claiming’ a Tesla in my future).

Autonomous Car:  I remember my father’s final driving experience (which resulted in a crash).  At age 92 he was generally a safe driver (no accidents or tickets for years).  But, as we age, our reflexes take longer and all too frequently children have to take the car keys away from their parents.


To me, autonomous cars (i.e. self driving cars) will be an immediate hit with the senior citizens.  No longer will the car be taken away from elderly as they can still sit in the car but now instead of driving to the grocery store, they can say to the control unit “Take me to the grocery store”,  “Take me to Church”; “Take me to my hair appointment”; “Take me to the doctor” – and even “Take me to my son’s house 800 miles away”.  (We have made that 800 mile trip many times.  Flying is hard and expensive for that trip as he and his family live a distance from a major airport.  Plus Grandma loves to shop for the grandchildren and we need a car to carry all the goodies to the grandchildren!!)

A friend (retired from Homeland Security added in a note to me recently:

  • Long haul trucking
  • Short repeatable trips in town
  • Ride sharing
  • No parking hassles
  • A 12-yo headed to a violin lesson
  • Disabled

I’ll add ‘and avoiding speeding tickets’ to that list!!  

I will have an autonomous car (note the I WILL affirmation).  But not sure when.  The news suggests that within 4 years almost all automotive makers will have autonomous cars.  I’d make it a goal but will want to know the expense and more before officially making it a goal.

I also said I had two desires but maybe just one as the autonomous car could be a Tesla!!!

But, back to the topic – Attainable.  Can I with just my background and strength – attain the goals I set?  Does my goal depend on others?  Can I have a goal of having the Minnesota Vikings win the SuperBowl?  Not really – I have NO control over the Minnesota Vikings – so I can cheer for them, but what happens is way outside my control.

Can I reach my goal?  Can I lose 10 pounds?  Can I lose 100 pounds (I hope not, I’d blow away in the wind!!).  Can I quit smoking?  (I don’t smoke anyway).  Can I be a millionaire? (Already done – at least on paper / logic as I throw in my retirement savings, home value, pensions, etc.) If I can reach the goal – it is attainable.

So … how about you?  Do you deep inside yourself have goals that you CAN reach – that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely?  Go for it!!

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Blog post #218 – Measurable Goals (SMART Goals continued)

Blog post #218 – Measurable

As we talk about New Year’s Resolutions, we are going through a series on SMART goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

Let’s look at measurable.  In some respects, this is simple – at the end of the specific (and timely) goal there should be a date – such as by March 1, 2018 I will weigh no more than 195 pounds.  That is measurable – yes, I made it; or no  I did not make it.    

You maybe came close – and you can be happy with that; but close is not reaching your goal.  Last weekend there were four NFL playoff games.  Of those only four times reached their goal of winning.  For example, New Orleans lost in the last seconds of their game with Minnesota.  They could say “We were ahead until the last seconds”; we almost won; we looked great in the second half; we had an amazing comeback.  But, ultimately, in the final measurement of winning and losing; that team lost.  

Coming close is nice – but reaching the goal is the ultimate.  I’ve read of climbers who came close to getting to the top of Mount Everest, only to turn back for one reason or another (and … generally very good reasons like a colleague is sick and they must get him down to safety and healing).  But, in the back of their minds must be the thought “We didn’t quite make it.  We didn’t reach our goal”.

I have academic friends who started a PhD program but didn’t complete it.  Doing the research and writing a dissertation (let alone defending it) is a significant effort.  I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I reached that goal.  And, I’m sure these friends who have the designation of ‘ABD’ – all but dissertation wish things would have worked out for them.  

Sometimes it isn’t you that keeps you from achieving the goal and that is understandable.  Maybe like the climbers, where a higher priority came into play – saving a person’s life.  Maybe like the academics, they were out of funds and took a position thinking they would still finish it off – but inertia occurred and they didn’t finish.  

It something is worthy of being a goal; then it is worthy of the of the effort to reach that goal.  You do you need to work harder to get there?  Is the roadblock to your goal one that can be overcome?  Is there another path to your goal?  Have you re-evaluated your goal and found that it doesn’t fit you anymore?  

But, don’t just walk away from your goals.  Examine your goals and examine yourself.  Create new goals.  Work towards them.  Follow your dreams (but make those dreams into goals).

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Blog Post #217 SMART goals and change

Blog Post #217 SMART goals and Change

Let’s look more at SMART goals:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Timely

There are wants and there are goals and things in-between like “that would be nice”.  

There are things I can change and things I can’t change.

Last weekend in the National Football League playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings made an amazing comeback in the last 30 seconds of the game, scoring a touchdown to win.  So, my goal for the next month is for the Vikings to beat Philadelphia and then to be the other team and to win the SuperBowl!!  (Great goal – but definitely not attainable).

I have no control over the Minnesota Vikings.  The most control I have is whether to watch them on television or not. 

There might be a slight control factor (really beyond my reach).  I know friends who were praying for the Vikings to win.  Did that help?  I don’t know.  While I do believe in prayer; there were probably as many praying for the Vikings to win as those that were praying for the Saints to win (and … hey – Saints might have a better chance with God!!!).

What can I change?  Myself, my environment, my attitude.  What can’t I change?  The rest of the world.

There is an old story of the couple.  The man announces that he is in charge of major decisions; and his wife is in charge of minor decisions.  When questioned, the man says – “Yes, I am in charge of major decisions like what to do with North Korea; what to do about the weather; what Congress and the President should do.”  Then he adds “And my wife is in charge of minor decisions like where we live, what we eat, how we raise the children, how much money we need, how to spend our money and more minor decisions.”

The reality is pretty clear – if changes are going to be made, I can’t expect my wife, my doctor, my employer to do it – only I can really do it.  

We look for magical solutions.  I believe the Atkins Diet will work or the Keto Diet or Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or others.  But it isn’t until I make the decision to change that things change in my life.

Now, I can help other change.  I can vote.  I can write letters to my congressmen (or congresswomen).  I can express my opinions on Facebook or Twitter.  I can organize some groups for change or join existing groups for change.  But down inside I can only change me.

Even if I want other change (let’s say some governmental policy like healthcare).  Changing myself won’t make it.  But working the grassroots and talking to people and working with others with a similar mindset might eventually cause change at that level.  

So, in this new year, what are you going to change in yourself?  Are you complacent?  Are you in a rut?  Do you REALLY want change in your life?  Then make that a consuming fire – see the change in you; work on the change in you; make the change happen with passion!!!

Questions?  Comments?  Email me at:


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Post 216 New Year Resolutions: SMART Goals

Blog post #216 – New Year Resolutions and SMART Goals

Background:  In October 2017, I had opened my blog for others to make comments.  Within a day, the blog was ‘taken-over’ (I’m guessing with a lot of Russian users).  I couldn’t get on my own site!!

Steven – our web / network guru – and his crew fixed that.  Now I’m back on.

I will continue in my style – some blog posts on aging, some on motivation, some on life issues, some on technology, and others at my whim!!!  


But to get us started today, talking about motivation.  New Year’s Resolutions and SMART Goals

I set goals all the time – short term, medium term, long term (like living until at least 98!!).  New Year’s Resolutions are a way to approach the new year with resolve – setting goals, envisioning the future.

Goals as we know should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.  Many people who are not used to goal setting do try to do New Year’s Resolutions.  They tend to be vague, non measurable, achievable (maybe), realistic and timely.  These might be like:  This year I will lose weight.  Good idea.  How much weight?  Maybe something like by March 1st I will weigh no more than 195 pounds.  That is specific (number), measurable (did I make it or not – and in this case, you may want to put in intermediate values – by January 15, by February 1; by February 15 with specific numbers); achievable (depending on your starting value – if you are 300 pounds, getting to 195 by March 1 is not achievable; if you are 205 pounds getting 1o 195 by March 1st is achievable); the goal is realistic and timely.

You can (should) pair your goals with imaging.  Taking the losing weight example, think of new clothes you can wear, or how your pants that have gotten tight will no longer be tight, of the double chin going away, of smiling at your success.  

Another goal many have for New Year’s Resolutions is to exercise.  Something like “I will exercise more this year”.  Nice thoughts – but not SMART.  

Or … this year I will stop smoking – vague – maybe by March 1st, I will totally be a non-smoker.  I will visit my doctor by January 4th to talk about smoking cessation methods; by January 15th, I will have worn non-smoking patches for a week; I will also have been to my first non-smoking group session, etc.  

Then make it real:  Put post-it notes on your bathroom mirror – so every time you look in the mirror you see your note.  Put a post-it note on the refrigerator; on your steering wheel; let your spouse, friends, family know – so if the see you eating junk food / smoking / being a couch potato they can help you get back on track.

The take-away from today’s blog – make SMART goals and hold yourself accountable.

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Have a great 2018!!



(Maybe one of your goals will be to have a motivational speaker for your company.  Contact me and we’ll set something up!!!)

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments