Having a direction or guided path in life can help you avoid making some detrimental mistakes. Even if research says the brain does not fully develop until the age of 25, that does not give you the luxury to live life carelessly up until that age.
I personally have been in the habit of writing things down and checking my short term objectives and long term goals off of my list as I go. I’m a “lists” person, and once I see it, I remember it. I categorize things. I prioritize, then rearrange list items to fit my life and my schedule in order to accomplish my next set of tasks or goals. I have a certain amount of discipline over aspects of my life such as career and family than I do over frivolous things such as laundry and dish washing. I’ve pretty much set out to do things in life that would defy the stereotype placed on me coming from a single parent, absent father, latchkey kid environment and have lived a life I can look at be pretty impressed by. But how did I do it as I continue to live and make new “to do” lists? I’ve been SMART about how I live.
I’m not talking about reading every reference book known to man and soaking up all of the news on television and having debates with people to prove a point. I’m talking about being strategic with my time to do everything I said I’d do even if it took me some time to get EVERYTHING done while continuing to set new goals.
So what does being S.M.A.R.T. look like?
Specific: I’ve been very specific about what I wanted in life. Graduate high school, be married before having children, earning a 4 yr degree, completing my 6 year Air Force enlistment successfully, becoming a teacher, earning my doctorate. You name it, I’m sure anything that is on my resume and my holistic body of work and experiences were written down as focus points in my life. I’m not completely regimented and avoid having fun. I’m just specific about what I want my life to reflect as I continue checking things off of my list. So write it down, then look back at your lists and it will help you see where you need to switch gears or take time to celebrate.
Measurable: Examine your list and determine the amount of time it will take you to complete your tasks. You can’t measure when you’ll get married because that requires you being in a serious relationship, but in 6 to 12 months you can determine how serious your relationship is. Attending college to earn your first undergraduate degree could take four years, but in some cases a fifth year in school may be required to have all of your graduation requirements complete. Have in your mind how long you envision completing a task will take. If you see that some things are taking longer that others, don’t give up. Accomplish what you can in order to see some progress.
Attainable: Ponder the question if you will be able to reach your goal? Making up in your mind to reach your goals is personal. You don’t want to be too far reaching and never get anything done, that puts you in a possible burnout phase. Identify inside of yourself the most attainable goal and work at it until you accomplish it. It’s all in your mind. The attitude you develop towards your goal will carry your further than having an astronomical list of things to do that read more like a bucket list than reality.
Realistic: Walking on the surface of the sun is not a realistic goal because that is not humanly possible. But if you are into science you can definitely become an astronaut and walk on the moon. Ask yourself if the goals you’re striving to reach fit your lifestyle? Will they benefit your career? Your family? Will they realistic add value to areas of your life? Be real with yourself and work hard because when people see what you’re realistically trying to accomplish, they will support you.
Timed: The 80/20 rule is real! What ever you spend the most of your time trying to accomplish(80) is most beneficial and meaningful to you. Leaving you with 20% of time used eliminating nuisances. Does that make sense? LOL! Basically, use your time wisely. What can you do today? What can you do next week? What can you do next month? When you can answer those three questions based on your realistic and specific list, you have become S.M.A.R.T.
Live the life you love. Love the life you live. But please be smart while living.