Goals, Step Two – Getting SMART

Welcome back to what is apparently going to be a little mini-series on setting goals. Last Monday, I wrote about goal setting from a place of desire–start with what you want. Get to the heart of the matter.

(Apparently, use italics to emphasize those things…)

How do we get from here to there? How do we set goals that move us from the heart to the head, and then eventually to the point of publishing those goals, both as an internal azimuth and an external document, i.e. business plan.

Keep in mind, at this point, we’re still at the strategy level. Why? Goals are strategic. Plans are tactical. We’ll get to those, eventually, but it’s hard to plan effectively if you don’t have strategic goals to focus what you’re trying to do.*

With that, one of the best models I have found is the SMART model. Namely, goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-Based.

While this model covers everything a specific goal should include, it doesn’t prescribe a set way to write it, or go about forming it. So whether you, like me, are setting personal business goals, or whether you are working with a team to develop project goals, the goal-setting SMART model is flexible and expansible.

Last week, I sat down and wrote out a list of one- to two-word phrases that encapsulated what I want to do with Infamous Scribbler. These came from the heart, and required no further explanation–at least to myself: Entertain, Coach/Mentor, FOCUS: Veterans, Challenge, Money.

Let’s take a look at the “want” words, and see how they can be used to write draft SMART goals.

“Entertain” is pretty darn generic. While I do desire to entertain people through my fiction, this word encompasses so much in its definition that it will be hard to nail it down to its specifics. However, I’m not willing to give it up, just put it aside.

“Coach/Mentor” is more specific, in that I can point to a specific definition of the words, as well as to some specific actions that I am currently undertaking. Right now, I volunteer with a local writing group (and in fact, have just raised my hand to assist in a co-leadership position.) I also have a few clients that I been working with, and enjoying my time working with them. I think I can work this “heart” word into an actual goal.

“FOCUS: Veterans.” Right now, what I want to do is help service members and veterans tell their story. This desire comes from a place of often not seeing myself and my experience reflected in the accepted veteran stereotypes and narratives. What I would like to do is work with veterans who have a desire to tell their stories and contribute to a richer fabric of military service narratives. Hmm … that sounds like it’s getting pretty specific. And starting to touch on the rest of the SMART model.

“Challenge.” We’re back to the general, generic, not very well-thought out strategic desire. Again, I’m not necessarily going to throw this one out, I just need to do some serious thinking about what I mean by “challenge.”

“Money.” I can think of some very specific money goals, and for the purposes of my business plan, I will attach some numbers to my goals. But what I truly mean by this is that, Infamous Scribbler and Scribbler Coach should be treated like a business. I need to remember that businesses won’t survive if I work for free for everyone, and that charting growth from year to year is a good thing when it comes to determining which marketing and sales efforts are growing, and which are not.

This post is getting a little long, and giving me some food for thought about what I actually want, and how to get there. From examining my “desire” words in the light of the SMART goals model, I see that I have a couple of very helpful “wants,” and a couple that need revising or re-thinking.

I invite anyone to drop me a line as to whether or not this process is helpful. And, if you’re looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, drop me a line at infamous_scribbler ~at~ yahoo.com


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* This is especially true when you have a group of people who may be more experienced at planning and execution of specific campaigns, but who are used to doing so either in isolation, in reaction to circumstances rather than an overall goal set, or in accordance with goals handed down from higher.

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