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SMART Goals: What Are They And Why Should I Use Them?

SMART Goals The Short Advice

The Importance of Goal-Setting

Goals give purpose to our actions and are a major consideration of the ‘Success Blueprint‘. They provide the direction and motivation needed to be successful in our endeavours, acting as ‘stepping stones’ to track our progress. Goal-setting should incorporate both long-term and short-term goals, to ensure that we set ourselves realistic and achievable targets. This brings us to the acronym that we’re going to dissect in this article, SMART goals. 

SMART Goals

The term was first coined by George Doran in a 1981 article for Management Review titled ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T way to write management’s goals and objectives‘. Whilst this article was written for the context of business management, the idea itself is not exclusively for business application. Since 1981, the term has been further developed, and can be presented in a number of ways, according to Robert S Rubin. Below, we’ve chosen what we believe to be the most helpful term for each letter of the acronym, to describe the process of defining realistic goals. 

Specific

Exactly what are you aiming to achieve? Don’t be vague, be precise. This will help you to define the steps that you’ll need to take in order to achieve your goal. The more specific your SMART goal is, the easier it will be to identify the path that will get you there. In previous posts, we have referred to this path as the ‘short term goals’ and ‘regular activities’ necessary for overall success. 

Measurable

How will you measure your progress? Consider the criteria that must be met in order to continue moving towards your end goal, and ensure that these points are clearly defined. Now, consider how you will measure the success of your overall goal. Is your SMART goal specific enough for you to clearly define what your success will look like? As well as setting a specific goal, set specific targets that will allow you to track your progress and encourage you to continue towards the ultimate outcome. 

Achievable

Make sure your goal is a realistic one. It’s okay to reach for the stars, but sometimes you need to focus on making it outside of the Earth’s atmosphere first. That is to say, the achievement of realistic goals, will make those less-attainable goals more attainable. Similar to above, long-term goals need short-term goals, and broken down further, regular activities, in order to be successful. Naturally, your shorter-term goals will be relatively easier to achieve in comparison to your long-term one. 

Relevant

This point encourages you to consider if your goal is relevant to you, your environment, and your needs/wants. Your SMART goals should be aligned with your values and principles. How will they contribute to your overall development, and how do they relate to any other future aspirations/goals? Chasing large goals can affect other areas of your life, so consider whether it is a wise life-choice before embarking on your journey. 

Time-based

Perhaps one of the most important points of the SMART goals acronym. This brings us back to specificity in a way… Exactly how long are you going to allow yourself to achieve your goal? By setting deadlines for each task, you’ll keep yourself on track. This also takes us back to the ‘measurable’ point. Completing tasks within a time frame that you’ve set provides a measurable point of success. Or perhaps you didn’t meet the time frame? That’s okay too, it still provides a measurable benchmark that you can improve on. 

Are SMART Goals Flawless?

Nothing, and no-one is perfect. SMART goals are a fantastic tool to plan and analyse the goals we set for ourselves. But there are other considerations we should make during the goal-setting phase. Because, just like interests, goals can change. Measures of success can change. So, we must be able to adapt throughout our journey in order to achieve our goals. That is why critical self-reflection is so important. If you have been unable to meet the targets outlined by your SMART goals, then you need to understand why. Our mistakes and failures are but invaluable lessons that provide the basis for our success. Absorb these experiences, and use them to refine and re-implement your SMART goals. 

Final Note

If you don’t start today, you’ll wish you had tomorrow. Use the SMART goals acronym to refine and re-implement your current goals, and give yourself the best chance at achieving success. We sure hope you’ve found this article helpful, and we are forever grateful that you’ve taken the time to read it! So, as always, thanks very much, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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Productivity Vs Procrastination: 5 Pertinent Points

Productivity Fist

Productivity vs Procrastination: Civil War.

Procrastination, ‘The Land of Counter-Productivity’, and civil unrest. Whether you’re studying, working, or developing a project, we’ve all journeyed there at one time or another. A self-destructive government wasting it’s resources, and you’re the President. But it’s time to clean up the streets, and appoint a new Secretary of Defence that isn’t so easily corrupted by fidget spinners and Netflix. The campaign for productivity has begun…

The 5 Pertinent Points of Productivity

Your productivity is measured by your level of quality output. This quality output is what you need to produce in order to achieve your goals. The more efficiently you can do this, the closer you’ll be to success. The first step towards being productive, is actually being there…

1. Be Where You Are.

This is a lesson on managing your internal and external environment, and the things that you can, and cannot control. Are you losing focus whilst writing an essay because you can’t help thinking about the deadline? Stop it. You can’t change the deadline. So put that thought aside, and concentrate on what you can do now, with the resources that you have available now.

2. Consider Your Goals.

Goal setting is an important part of creating direction and motivation that you need to consider. Why are you putting yourself through this? The process of achieving our goals may at times be tedious, but this hard work is what gives value to our goals in the first place. If it were easy and valuable, wouldn’t everyone have already achieved your goals?

3. Consider Your Consequences.

If goal setting is the positivity, then consequences are the negativity. Don’t ignore negativity simply because you fear it will classify you as a pessimist. Be aware of what you could be missing out on if you choose not to do the work required. But, don’t dwell on it. That is the difference between being a realist and a pessimist. Hoping to achieve your goals won’t achieve your goals.

4. Re-Think Your Approach.

This point refers to efficiency, productivity’s dearest relative. If you feel like you’re chasing your tail, perhaps its time to change your process. There will always be improvements and adjustments that can be made to the way you approach any activity. After all, nobody is perfect. So, time spent procrastinating could instead be spent on reviewing how you do things. Is your environment conducive to productivity? What could you change? What distractions could you avoid, and how?These questions will lead to improved efficiency and productivity.

5. Do Something Else.

If all else fails, you can declare a productivity vs procrastination cease-fire. Walk away, and do something different for a little while. That doesn’t mean go off and watch a feature length film. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you should indulge in the activity that is causing you to procrastinate. If you’re studying, it might mean go for a walk to grab a coffee, and get back to work in ten minutes time. Basically, give yourself short breaks if you become distracted for a period of time, and then return ready to work.

Signing the Peace Treaty.

Learning to work harmoniously alongside the inevitable temptations of procrastination will take some doing. Follow The 5 Pertinent Points, and begin campaigning for a stronger balance of efficiency and productivity today. Like anything, you’ll refine and adjust as you go along… It may not be a perfect process, but with each step you take, you’ll be far closer to where you need to be. Realise your goals, and earn your happiness.

As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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What Does Valentines Day Mean in 2019?

The Short Advice and his Valentine on Valentines Day 2018

For many of us, love has become a need that is as readily met as our primary needs of food, water and shelter.

And so, we do often take love for granted. Thats why Valentines Day serves as a great opportunity to celebrate love, and to express your gratitude to your significant other for their affection and support. However, some people would prefer to ignore this special day…

Because commerce ruins everything.

Well, not really, but it is an interesting perspective. The commercialisation of significant dates in our calendars brings out the inner cynic that lives in the shallows of us all. And fair enough too. So, should you completely can Valentines Day? We say no. And here’s why…

Celebrate your love, AND slap the man.

Kill two birds with one stone on Valentines Day 2018! Take a moment to do something nice for your loved one. Focus on the parts of your relationship that are special and unique. Express your love and devotion, but make it personal. Write your own love letter, rather than have Hallmark Cards do it for you! Besides, wouldn’t that be a far greater gift for your much-deserving counterpart? We definitely think so. But what else can we do on Valentines Day to slap the sales and marketing team at every department store that’s selling love heart chocolates?

Some things to do for free on Valentines Day 2018 include…

Picnicking (if weather permits), home-cooked candle-lit dinners (because where is the effort in paying for a meal?), hand-written love notes (OMG beb I love you, 4 real), making and presenting a photo album, or simply reminiscing on all of the reasons you have to be grateful for one another. So, don’t get duped by the sales team this V-Day, and the common misconception that you should express your love by overdrawing your account. If you can implement the ‘Celebrate and Slap’ protocol this Valentines Day, you’re bound to have a more fulfilling experience. Perhaps you could also invite a few of your single friends around for dinner too? Wouldn’t that be a selfless and inclusive act to show your people that your plutonic love knows no bounds? Absolutely it would.

Maybe you are that single friend that doesn’t have a Valentine this year?

For too many people, this is perceived as being an absolute disaster. “Nobody loves me, I am disgusting and repulsive, I’ll never find the one, I am destined to die alone and miserable…”. Hmmm. It’s no secret that having love and happiness thrown in your face when you’re feeling a bit vulnerable can certainly highlight one’s insecurities. But it is important to remember that we’re all insecure, and feelings of negativity are perfectly normal too. It is how we respond to these emotions and insecurities that will define the course of our future happiness. So don’t dwell on your shortcomings, remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for. Today is not the day to let your fearful-self take you on a rollercoaster ride of swiping right and sending bulk messages to every person you’ve ever been romantically involved with. You CAN be stronger than that.

“But if I don’t find someone now, I’ll be lonely forever!”.

Being happy alone is an art. It’s okay to want to be in a relationship, but if you allow it to dictate your every move, you’ll forget about what makes you special, and so will everyone else. It takes strength and determination to focus on our own personal development, but when we do, when we truly commit ourselves to the idea, our happiness can soar. Our goals become far more realistic, our passion is noticeable to others, and, ultimately, we become more attractive in the eyes of potential love interests. But perhaps that is now a secondary concern for you, and reaching other life goals has now become equally as important…

In the coming weeks…

We will be discussing the art of being happy alone in greater length, so be sure to subscribe to post updates so that you too can become a desirable candidate for Valentines Day celebrations in 2019 😉 (if thats what you want, of course). As always, thank-you for reading, and we’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.