There are a lot of things I’ve learned in my adult years of life and one of those things is to never be too hasty in throwing away ideas, information, and objects. If they were important to you at the time, then they could possibly be important to you in the future. That may be the pack rat mentality, but I’ll take it. And, may I emphasize that I’m not claiming to be a hoarder (there’s a distinct difference…I think); I’m just admitting that I like to hold on to some things. Things like valuable take-aways that I acquired 10 years ago while conducting and receiving training in the area of organizational behavior, for instance. I quickly identified the validity of such take-aways, because I recognized their far-reaching application in the workplace as well as in home life. Workplaces come and go but home life happens every day.
One of my fondest memories and most profound experiences was the opportunity I was given as an HR professional to provide performance management training to leadership at a local hospital. One of the sayings I remember quoting during training was a biblical reference, which I would paraphrase by saying “if you don’t work, you don’t eat”. This idea is of course pretty straight forward and commonsensical. Not much explanation was necessary. However, another topic, within performance management training, I remember emphasizing was the relevance of setting SMART goals, which wasn’t as straight forward a discussion and was even quite a bit complex. SMART goals required some explanation. So, before I go any further, it might be helpful to stop here and define what SMART goals are. Here’s a breakdown of the acronym SMART (in relation to goal setting). A goal should be:
- S (Specific) – has a clearly defined expectation that is communicated.
- M (Measurable) – can be observed or compared and therefore assigned a number, value, amount, or estimation.
- A (Achievable) – is challenging yet attainable, where the necessary resources are accessible.
- R (Realistic) – has a relatable purpose and meaning to the desired outcome.
- T (Timely) – has a certain timeframe for completion or deadline attached to it.
For the fun of it, let’s build a SMART goal from scratch. We’ll use the following basic goal and make it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Here’s the goal: I will exercise for my health. I’ll give you five minutes to come up with your SMART goal. Just kidding… take as much time as you need. Here’s the SMART goal I came up with: I will exercise to strengthen my heart by walking in the mornings (around my neighborhood or at the mall when the weather is bad) for at least 5 days out of the week for 45 minutes to 1 hour a day.
What’s yours? ___________________________________________________________
Practice this procedure for some very basic goals that you may have set (at the beginning of this school year and at other times) for your household and go ahead and make them SMART. I double dare you.:) Hey, I don’t know if you realized this but we’re adding on the third layer of our home’s structure…Step#3 – Building Your Home with SMART Goals. Feel free to go back and refresh your memory or check out for the first time Steps 1 (Structure: Step #1 – Start with a Schedule) and 2 (Structure: Step #2 – Follow-up with Expectations) from my previous posts.
Lastly, I want to remind you that, as a parent, it’s crucial that you hold your child accountable for striving and sometimes stretching to reach his or her SMART goals. But, all the focus can’t be placed on the child; some of it is pointing directly to you. While you’re encouraging your child’s goal setting and achieving efforts, don’t forget to put some of that attention on yourself. Parent, hold the other parent accountable; and single parent, choose a trusted family member or friend to hold you accountable. Checks and balances, right? I guarantee that the noticeable positive results you experience from setting and reaching your SMART goals vs. basic goals will be worth celebrating.