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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Posted by Bruce White

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