Are Your Goals SMART?

SMART Goals By Pat Morgan - Author of  "The Concrete Killing Fields" Obsessed With Progress - Featured Guest!   True confession. I’m obsessed with progress—I’m a goal-getter—and I didn’t think I needed any motivation until I started writing this guest blog and remembered what has motivated me for thirty years. For some of us who are obsessed with progress in the area we are obsessed with, setting a goal and going after it is simply what we do. Some of us don’t even realize we’ve set the goal we’re obsessed with until we look up and realize we’ve been obsessed with it for a few decades and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be less obsessed with it anytime soon. We don’t need any additional motivation. Whatever we have experienced that led us to set our goal was so profound that it is burned into our subconscious. We live it, breathe it, obsess about it, get up early or stay up late to work on it—and get excited over the tiniest bit of progress. My goal happens to be breaking the cycle of homelessness, starting in America. Granted, it’s not going to happen in my lifetime but at least I didn’t get hooked on world peace.   Since you’re reading this, chances are 50-50 that you may be obsessed with progress in your work, your business, your personal life, or the wider world. If so, you probably have  a goal—“an end that one strives to attain.”  If your goal is about your work, your business, or your personal life, you’re lucky. You have a roadmap to get there, courtesy of Dr. Edwin Locke’s SMART theory, which means that your goal (and the steps to take to achieve it) need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.   But were you smart but still stuck? Could it be that the progress you’re making isn’t as satisfying as you thought it would be? That you’re not sure you’ll be fully satisfied when you reach the goal you’re currently obsessed with achieving?  Or you reached the goal you set and it hasn’t brought you the satisfaction you thought it would?   If you’re still reading this, you may have been obsessed with progress or may still be, but you’re “stuck” and looking for motivation to reach your goal. If so, you may want to reconsider the goal you are or were obsessed with. You can start by thinking about some key questions, such as….
  • What is your goal, the “end” that you are striving to attain?
  • What will it cost, in time, money, energy, emotion, to achieve that goal?
  • Why are/were you obsessed with it?
  • How long have you been obsessed with it?
  • What have you done (other than be obsessed about it) to achieve your goal?
  • Is it worth obsessing about your progress (or lack therof) in achieving it?
  • What do you expect it to do for you?
  • What do you expect it to do for others?
  • Are you the right person to do it?
  • Has anybody told you that you’d be the best person to do it? If so, was it your mother?
  • Do you need others to help you reach your goal?
  • Are you willing or able to accept the reality that you may never achieve your ultimate goal, even with the help of others, because the goal, in and of itself, seems unachievable and therefore doesn’t meet the SMART criteria?
  • Will it give you the deep, deep satisfaction that comes from knowing, or at least feeling, that you are making a difference in the lives of other people? The world?
  I don’t remember when I read the quote attributed to Thomas Burnham, famous for his work in urban planning in Chicago, but apparently I internalized some of it. “Make no little plans…..Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.” (I was able to overlook his failure to include “daughters and granddaughters” since he is reported to have said this over a century ago.)   For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write a book. I didn’t obsess about it, but if somebody had asked me what I wanted to do with my life, writing a book would have been at or near the top of my list. I didn’t even know what the book would be about. Then I lost myself—and found myself—during the five years in which I spent almost every weekday afternoon volunteering to help homeless people at a drop-in center in the basement of Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Motivated and obsessed by that experience, I’ve worked for another 25 years to help break the cycle of homelessness. And the book I always wanted to write?  It’s just been published—about homeless people and how they so profoundly affected my life. I’m still obsessed with progress in breaking the cycle of America, but every time a homeless man or woman breaks free from the stranglehold of the streets or a homeless family with children is safely housed and receiving the services they need, I’m motivated all over again!)   -------------------------------------- About Pat Morgan Pat Morgan author - The Concrete Killing Fields  
Pat Morgan was a real estate broker and former banker when she answered the call from the concrete killing fields of homelessness and found her calling. Thirty years later, she is still working to break the cycle of homelessness and remains determined to keep her promise to the homeless people she loved and lost to the concrete killing fields.    Along the way, she became an intern for Senator Al Gore; was an enthusiastic insider to Bill Clinton's quest to the presidency as an Arkansas Traveler in the pivotal state of New Hampshire; became the Director of the Office of Correspondence in the Office of Presidential Transitions for President-elect Clinton followed by a presidential appointment to the US Interagency Council on the Homeless; where she also served as a special assistant to Andrew Cuomo. And this all happened after she was selected by TIME magazine as one of 20 outstanding college juniors in America at the age of 50!

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