Being S.M.A.R.T for the New Year...

 At the start of every year, I compile a list of resolutions much like most people. The list contains the usual proposals of self improvement such as weight loss or learning an instrument. Feeling a sense of purpose, the path to fix myself is put on the fridge as a constant reminder. Time passes around us, life throws a couple curve balls, and maybe one item is crossed off the list before the Ball drops to signal a new year. The list gets ripped off the fridge, and another one is started that day. Rinse/repeat each year and that leads to a ton of resolutions not completed. The self improvement train never seems to get traction. 

While I was on vacation, I began investigating new ways to approach personal and career goals. One of searches lead to an article written by George T. Dolan called There's a S.M.A.R.T way to write management's goals and objectives. The idea behind S.M.A.R.T is a way to set the importance and difficulty of goals. People have used different words for the letters of the acronym over the years. For my example, my breakdown will use some of the most common shared words for the acronym. Without further ado, I present S.M.A.R.T goal building:

Specific - The goal should be narrowed down from a broad statement like "I want to learn Lua". A good example would be "I want to make a World of Warcraft addon that helps roleplayers use dice".

Measurable - After the goal is narrowed down, one can establish steps in order to achieve it. With the clear outline, one can monitor the progress on the road to success. 

Achievable - The goal should be reasonable within your realm of possibility. If a goal is set that is way above one's skill set, it will just be a exercise in frustration. Breaking keyboard frustration. 

Relevant - The goal needs to be important to you. If it not important to you or what you want to do, why do it? To me, this is the most important part of the S.M.A.R.T way of goal building. 

Time-blocked - The idea of a deadline causes high blood pressure for some people. However, one needs to set a hard deadline for goals in order

Reading over S.M.A.R.T is all fine and dandy, but it does not help with out some examples. Here are a couple of my goals for the year:

  • I want to write a <secret> program for work in C# by the end of Q1 to help get a better understanding of C#.
  • I want to lose twenty pounds by php[tek] 2014 ( ) from going to gym five days a week. 

By using S.M.A.R.T to set my goals, I have established a clear plan toward success. In a couple months, I'll have to follow up on this article to let everyone know including myself how it worked out.