Get SMART in 2021


By Margarita Cossuto

With the new year comes desires to start new projects and complete goals. We all have goals and thoughts about things that we want to do in life. The idea of doing something new or having something new can be quite motivating because of the associated novelty, but it can also be overwhelming. The key to accomplishing our goals is first to organize them and think about them in a way that they are achievable. In this article, I’ll outline how to create realistic goals and how you can organize them so that you can see progress along the way and be motivated to work towards the things you want for the year ahead.

A common way to start and guide goal setting is to use the SMART acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely – all of your goals should have these components. I would suggest downloading a “SMART Goals Template” from the internet to use as a guide in completing the parts that we’re going to review. Specific: when setting a goal, it is essential to ask yourself what you want and be specific about what you would like to accomplish. For example, if one of your organizational goals for the year is to donate items in the house that you don’t use, your specific goal could be, “Donate clothes, kitchen items, books, toys, and other items in the house that are not used so that we can have more space in the house for things that we do use.” Measurable: a measurable goal accounts for quantity so that you can track progress and know when your goal has been accomplished. Building on the donation goal, you might measure this goal by saying that you will fill at least two banker-sized boxes with donation items every four months. Achievable: your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful, and an attainable goal will outline how exactly the goal can be accomplished. For example, by placing empty boxes in common areas of the house. Relevant: a goal that matters to you is one that is relevant and worthwhile. If your goal matches your needs, it is reasonable and realistic, then your goal is relevant. Timely: every goal should have a target completion date so that you have a deadline to work towards. The time-based component of your donation goal could be to donate your items by the end of the year.

Creating SMART goals can be helpful because your goals will be written and organized in a way that will help you actually to get them done. Once you have your goals written, you will want to put them in a visible place to serve as a cue and reminder. Consider making multiple copies to have in different locations around the house and also taking a picture of your written goals to have in your phone for a quick review. Keep in mind that accomplishing your goals is going to take time and effort, and there are likely to be barriers that get in the way. Some of the obstacles that can get in the way of organizing include not knowing where to start, becoming overwhelmed when organizing and stopping, and having conflicting thoughts about being organized, like “I want to have less clutter, but I like everything I have and don’t want to give anything away” or “I spent my hard-earned money on the things I own so I want to keep everything” or “My house will never look the way I want it to, so it’s easier just to leave things the way they are.” Try to remember that you are taking steps towards something that you want. With your SMART goals, you have a plan to accomplish your goals for the year ahead.

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