January. Again. A new year, a clean slate, a chance to reassess, review and make plans for the coming months. Time to look back and see whether we have met any of the goals we set ourselves for 2015. In my blog post in January 2015 I wrote about setting myself these goals:
“Get a new Fitbit (my last one died) and start counting my steps again. Get more involved in local life (I think 6 months is long enough to allow myself settling in time!). Finish all the unfinished travel scrapbook projects. Keep up to date on current photos.”
Since most of you only know me through my blog and my scrapbook pages, I could tell some big fibs and boast about how well I have done in achieving those goals. But I need to keep it “real” so here’s the truth. I did get a Fitbit and I still wear it every day, but I have not been as committed to walking as I intended to be. I did get more involved with local clubs and activities, but I often have to fight the urge to stay at home & hibernate. I have done lots of scrapbook pages, but my pile of finished projects is fairly small. And sadly I am very far from up to date on my current photos. True confessions.
When I look back over the past year it has been a pretty amazing one. I don’t see the failures and the unfulfilled goals, but the fun times, new experiences, friends made, places visited, lessons learned, life experiences gained. Life is about experiencing the now, every day, every moment lived to the full. Nevertheless, I need to ask myself what went wrong. Were my goals unrealistic? Did I lack the discipline necessary to meet my goals? Did I just not try hard enough? Probably a little of each, but mostly, the problem was that my goals were not SMART enough.
For anyone not familiar with the term, SMART is an acronym that is popular in business circles for setting team and personal goals. SMART stands for:
Specific goals are clear and unambiguous, not vague generalisations e.g. I will complete my cruise album and my Kenya album – rather than I will get more projects completed.
Measurable goals can be assessed – if I finish my cruise and Kenya albums I know for certain that I have met my goal. If I get one or two projects completed, is that enough? Is that too many? There no sense of purpose in that generalised goal.
Achievable goals are just that – achievable. If I haven’t even started my Kenya album, is it likely that I will be able to finish it? If there are other more pressing tasks, setting a goal that I don’t expect to meet is setting myself up for disappointment.
Realistic goals set limits based on what I know about myself. If I promise to complete 10 pages a day, when I usually only can do 2 or 3, and that not every day, then I am being simply ridiculous. Set goals that are real and that you have an expectation of meeting. If you over-achieve, you can always set a higher goal next time.
Time-based goals are possibly the most important ones for me. I am deadline-driven, and work most efficiently when I see the deadline and know exactly how much time I have to get the task done. A time-based goal will allow me to regularly monitor my progress and will drive me to work harder if need be. For example – complete 10 pages every week, tag 100 elements every day, finish my cruise book by the end of January.
Looking at the goals I set myself last year, it’s clear they were not SMART at all. Instead of “start counting my steps”, a SMART goal would be to walk 10,000 steps on at least 5 days a week. Instead of “get more involved”, a SMART goal would say “meet friends for coffee every Sunday morning”. Instead of “finish all the unfinished travel scrapbook projects”, a SMART goal would be “complete the cruise album by the end of January, then set the next goal”. Instead of “Keep up to date on current photos”, a SMART goal would be “download photos from phone or camera every day, tag them and upload the best ones to my Forever account. Every Thursday, create a double page spread of that week’s photos”.
Have you set SMART goals for yourself? Do you need to reassess the goals you have set? Do you prefer not to set goals, but just fly by the seat of your pants? Do you need to set your goals higher because you met your targets too easily? If you like some accountability, consider joining our p2P Plan2Scrap Club on Facebook, where fellow scrappers will help you with your goal setting and cheer you on your way.
Whatever your goals and plans for 2016 are, at pixels2Pages we are here to give you the skills, the tools and the motivation you need to meet and exceed your targets. Happy New Year, and Happy Scrapping!!
PS. My cruise album is actually almost finished! In the interests of getting it done, here’s the quickest cover ever!