Goals are wonderful things.
The type of goals that would make the faces of my former lecturers shine – Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-bound goals.
Well-designed SMART goals offer clear direction and purpose and provide a framework that enables you to move in a timely, progressive fashion toward the end zone. They work remarkably well in corporate life, where the delegation of responsibility is possible and employees are easily replaced on a ‘sick day’.
In fact, if your life trends toward predictability and dramatic shifts are as frequent as a blue moon, SMART goals should serve you well.
I knew such a life once – right up until my early 20s – and then life began. In verity.
I could tell you of the normal workday, where I started out feeling ‘chipper’ and then spent the night being poked, prodded and subsequently shipped off to remove an inflamed appendix. Two weeks of sick leave meant anything time-bound flew out the window (except that I got sick of the sick leave after a few days and returned to work).
Or I could recount the story of the day when chest pain and dizzy spells led to oodles of tests and an echocardiogram that showed a congenital malformation. (Note to self: Remove everything from ‘bucket list’ that requires excellent cardiovascular health) No scaling Mount Everest for me, since that is no longer attainable and, therefore, no longer relevant.
Or we could skip a few, and talk about how I came to the end of a healthy pregnancy with a delivery that began with active labour and ended with a Caesarean section, because the tiny ‘associate’ on the inside was high on whatever medication the ‘experts’ had given me, and did not understand the urgency with which he need to vacate the empty pool.
Then again, maybe I will just tell about how I was hit hard and laid low by a bug right after I signed up and committed to type 500 words every day for 31 days in the 500 Words Challenge, hosted by Jeff Goins. Today is Day 3, and I am sitting here with my brain in a fog, feeling very ‘un-smart’. Go figure.
In a perfect world, SMART goals would be well-nigh foolproof but – alas – I do not reside in a perfect world, nor do I have the perfect immune system. The ultimate control of the future is out of my hands, and I am learning to be okay with that.
Am I suggesting that goal-setting is a useless exercise? Of course not.
Goal-setting sharpens the mind by challenging us to test boundaries, explore new possibilities and re-think options. It asks us to think of more efficient ways in which to accomplish goals and encourages us to move beyond living merely for the present to our impact on the future.
So, those 500 words. They may not have been attainable on Monday or Tuesday. They were not attainable on Wednesday morning, but on Wednesday afternoon?
On Wednesday afternoon, I see a light.
At the end of the tunnel.