Being "SMART" in 2011

A few days ago before the new year, I was catching up with a friend and he asked me if I had any interesting new years resolution. I said no, because I feel like new years resolutions are sometimes impractical. He begged to differ and shared with me a goal setting guide to ensure that my new years resolutions, should I choose to have any, can be actualized. For the ardent New Years resolutionaites, pay attention. The guide will help you to focus your efforts and clearly define what goals you want achieved, rather than trying to achieve unrealistic goals. And for the people who don’t have any resolutions, still pay attention, the guide is applicable to everyday life. I will be sharing this technique with brief examples in the simplest way possible. Some people may have heard of it, while newbs like me just got introduced to it. It’s called SMART.

1) S = Specific
What: What exactly is it that you want to achieve? Why: Why is achieving the goal important to you? How: How do you intend on achieving said goal?
Example: Goal is to get married.
*What: You want to get married by when? End of the week, year, month? Be specific.
*Why: Why do you want to get married by a particular time period? Because all your friends, neighbors, enemies are getting married? Make sure you ask yourself why.
*How: How do you intend on getting married by your deadline? Network, attend lots of weddings and engagements, lose weight, get rich, pretend to be who you’re not? There are so many options. Just make sure you have a blueprint as to how you intend on achieving said goals.

2) M = Measurable
Allows you to measure the progress being made to reach said goal.
So for example, rather than saying “My goal is to hammer by the end of the year“. The chances of you being able to measure and achieve said goal of “hammering” is higher when you say “I want to ensure that my construction company gets the opportunity to work on the 2 major multi-million naira road projects in Lagos by the end of June.” The latter statement will allow you see the change occur and give you the opportunity to make revisions and adjustments if need be.

3) A = Attainable
Devise ways to ensure that your goals and dreams are actualized. These “ways” can range from fine-tuning your skills, changing your attitude, having adequate financial capacity, a substantial workforce, and so on.
Example: Raise 100 million naira by the end of march to run for political office.
To attain this goal by the set deadline without the adequate personal finance and support is honestly wishful thinking. So it’ll best for you to say “raise 100 million naira by June 2011 or July 2011” or “raise 2 million naira every month“, which is more reasonable. Compartmentalizing your goal this way will keep it achievable, keep you motivated, and prevent you from resorting to juju or blood money tactics.

4) R = Realistic
Ensure that your goals are realistic and devise an effective plan of achieving your goal(s). The goals need to be realistic of where you are at the moment. So if your goal as an artiste is to win an MTV Africa Music Awards or SoundCity Music Video Awards by the end of the year and you’ve never recorded a song or shot a legit video with Kemi Adetiba, Gini, Clarence Peters, DJ Tee, or any creative director in naija, then I don’t know what to say. It may be more realistic to set a goal of recording and releasing a song every day or week to get constructive feedback from the public and get your music out there, be creative/experiment with your beats and sound, and exercise 4 times a day so you’re healthy and look good in the music video.

5) T = Timeframe or Time-bound
Set a time frame for the entire goal. This gives you a clear target of what you are working towards and keeps your commitment from being too ambiguous. A time limit creates a sense of urgency and action.
You can say by February, I hope to have read 2 books by Wole Soyinka, In three months, I hope to have purchased more African cartoons for my children, or by January 20th 2011, I intend to have shared the Enough is Enough & RSVP movement with people and encouraged them to vote.

There you have it folks. So go out there and get SMART with your goals.

Happy new year everyone. Here’s to a fantastic 2011.

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