Life on the Side

Getting S.M.A.R.T. with Goals for Writing, Health, and Life (Part I)

Hey, folks. I don’t know about you, but without a lot of effort, I totally fail at work/life balance.

I’m that person who can very easily get so wrapped up in staying on top of work and school that I utterly neglect other things I value, like writing, my health, and you know… human beings not related to work and school. It’s not intentional; I always mean to spend time on the other things. It’s just a result of becoming way too hyper-focused on things with external deadlines due to my anxiety that three months can go by and I realize, “Oh, crap, I never did that other thing!” Which, of course, results in more anxiety.

I know, it’s terrible.

Whether you’re someone who gets way too focused on one thing or someone who doesn’t make a lot of progress on anything due to a lack of focus, one method that can help is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. I’m particularly fond of it after having coached clients seeking to rise out of poverty on the method for a couple years, including using them myself to lead by example. Anyone can set a goal by saying, “I’m gonna do a thing!” But it’s so much more helpful to break that thing down into actions that are manageable and keep you on track for an intended outcome.

What are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?

While there are numerous versions of what the acronym means, they’re all generally the same format. The one I use is as follows:






I could say I have a goal of losing weight, but while that’s attainable and may be relevant, it’s pretty vague, the metric is fuzzy, and there’s no deadline to keep me on track. S.M.A.R.T. goals help to turn the intention for an outcome into actionable steps to achieve it.

In the next couple posts, I’m going to break down the S.M.A.R.T. goal components and talk about some tools and tricks that help to stay on track.

Until then, hit me up in the comments or social media! Are there areas of your life you would like to improve? Does a structured goal-setting method help you (or could it help you) to find more balance?

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