22 Jan Are you SMART?
Many of us have now broken at least one of our New Year resolutions, so I don’t feel quite so terrible for wiping all three of mine off as I’m an over-achiever by heart! Not bad, twenty-two days in and I’m a failure already, but I’ve done it 100%! Fortunately, I’m thick-skinned and, to be perfectly honest, I probably set myself up to fail through self-sabotage. That’s one thing I’m proficient in and don’t have to achieve as a goal. Go me!
As a teacher, I was used to writing individuals goals for my students and putting in place strategies and scaffolding for them so they were able to achieve them. When they did, I felt the achievement as much as they did. I’m also very good at writing personal goals for myself. Writing is not the problem. It appears, however, what I’m remiss in is providing some kind of framework for myself so that I can have a sense of achievement. I don’t break down the overall goal into smaller chunks so I can enjoy success in bite-size pieces on the way to the spurt at the end of the race. I rarely get to dashing, chest first, through the tape to feel a winner. I just give it a one-and-all approach and, when I don’t attain what I am supposed to, throw in the towel and walk away. That’s so easy to do when my annual objectives are to stick to a diet, to save money and to stick to my goals for a minimum of a month.
As a newly self-published author, I’m currently reading up on how to promote my novel and, surprise, surprise, surprise, what is recommended is the writing of SMART goals. I used them all the time as a teacher yet never considered them for my personal life and in my writing. Everyone has a slightly different interpretation of what each letter in SMART represents, yet the overall meaning is the same. You want to succeed and succeed well. It depends on how motivated you are, how many steps are required, and how steep each level will be on the climb to the top. That’s where I begin to stumble. Steps mean exercise. Exercise and Annie are not two words you usually associate in the same sentence. Ergo, instant dilemma! My body is already going into spasms at the thought. I need to think of another term for STEP that doesn’t have me flouncing to my bed for a lie-down. Many of you are thinking what a procrastinator, and you’re spot on. When I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m not going to venture into it at all. I hate the dark. I hate the unknown. And I doubt myself every step of the way.
Therefore, I’m having trouble seeing how to write, let alone follow, every PHASE of my goals. They can be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound on paper and have everyone oh and ahh at how well they are written. It’s the strategies to achieve them I’m having difficulty with as I don’t know what the strategies are. Teaching ones I can write without a thought, but promoting a book is a whole new ball game. And ball games are exercise, and you know I don’t do that sweating thing! Now, are you getting the picture?
I’m visibly afraid of commitment. There, I’ve said it and I’ve written it and it’s out there, where ever BLOGs go. It will be there forever, residing in the cloud somewhere. Now it means I have to face up to my difficulty, be proactive and … That’s the thing. What do I do? Where do I start? It must be the best-kept secret in the world because I just keep finding the same thing: Promote Your Book, but not the tools by which to do it. So, I did what I usually do when I need to strategise …I started to brainstorm. I had a coffee and a piece of cake to provide fuel for the brain. I had to get up and wash my fingers because they were sticky, and then I washed my cup and plate. I thought that maybe I should vacuum the crumbs and wipe down the table. I mean, I’d hate to get the blank piece of paper dirty! And then the dryer stopped, so I needed to fold the clothes before they got wrinkled. And I had to put them away as I hate them lying around, out of place. Yes, I was procrastinating again. But I do it so well! I give it 100%.
Finally, I had a breakthrough. I wrote S M A R T down the side of the page. It was a start. The page was no longer blank. I was on a roll. It was time for another coffee, and maybe just another tiny slither of cake. To help with the thinking process, you understand! Then, of course, the hand washing and washing of the cup and plate. Even the ironing looked inviting. And that was just plain sad, on so many levels. I’d reached a new low in procrastination. I needed help, and immediately.
So, I googled lots and lots of words and had a fantastic time. There are so many words in our language, and so many of them relate to me! I’ve assembled my version for goals as a writer. I’m not sure they will take off, but I certainly felt a level of personal accomplishment. And I’m not sure they will help with the promotional side of things, which was the goal for this year. Oh hell! I just keep failing at my goals 100% of the time. High Five for me. Tell me, what do you think of these?
S: scintillating, sassy, sanctimonious
M: mirthful, moving, mystifying
A: ageless, active, appealing
R: radical, rambunctious, rattling
T: talismanic, trendsetting, tutelary
Now, how SMART are you?