I first posted about my goals on February 20th, and I’m checking in with myself about how the last three months have gone. I’m reflecting on my first three goals in this post.
I had six goals for the year :
- Stress less.
- Sleep more.
- Use my mornings.
- Stay on top of my last 5 classes, my thesis, and my internship.
- Work toward a healthier body.
- Make less waste.
All of these goals are important to me, but I’ve had some trouble achieving them. I kept wondering, why wasn’t I making progress? Why was it easier for me to achieve my goals in school, for example, than in my personal life?
In my search through podcasts, articles, and message boards, someone (and I seriously wish I remember who they were, because I want to give them credit for putting me on!) mentioned SMART goals.
Google is still free and fast, and it took me to Project Smart, a site devoted to project management, and a very clear, brief article about how to develop goals within a larger project. My project for this year is to build an intentional life, and while my goals are emotionally salient, they weren’t necessarily well-defined.
According to the Project SMART article, SMART stands for
S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
In general, my six goals are ART (achievable, realistic, and time-bound), but they’re missing the specific and measurable facets of a SMART goal.
For the next three months, I’m going to reframe these six goals to be SMART, not just ART.
Let’s review :
Stress less to SMART Stress less
While I feel like my stress level is much lower this month, especially in the face of some external challenges, things were off to a rocky start earlier this year. I’ve noticed that my stress levels tend to rise on the train, despite the fact that my only obligations are to get on the train, ride like a normal, polite person, and get off the train. Not hard, but somehow stress inducing.
Having realised this about my day, I’m going to focus on using the Headspace App on the way to work when I’m on my third train, at least three times per week. I generally get a seat, and I have more than 10 minutes on that train to complete the meditation.
S – specifically work on de-stressing my commute by meditating.
M – measure my meditation by using the Headspace App.
A – three mini-meditation sessions per week is so achievable!
R – I feel better after I meditate, and it can help me sleep better and enjoy my workday.
T – I’m going to give this a shot for three months, or 36 mini-meditation sessions.
Sleep more to SMART Sleep more
This… hasn’t gone well… I get home around 7, sometimes 8, and I struggle to force myself to go to bed at 10:30. I barely have time to talk to E, to check in with my family and friends after work, or to do any number of chores that add up around the apartment. We’ve been going to bed so late, near 11:30pm or midnight, and that has taken a toll on E’s general well-being. He’s going into his crazy busy season at work, so I am really excited to SMART goal our routine.
S – specifically, start getting ready for bed at 9:30. I already use an alarm to remind myself to go to bed, but I tend to ignore it…
M – measure my sleep by using my Fitbit. If I keep it clipped to my pyjamas, it will track my sleep and let me know (generally) how things are going. I can track E’s sleep by subtracting a couple of hours from my total.
A – E and I have both agreed that we need to get more sleep, and he’s already talking about how he will need to go to sleep before me. I love sleep, so it isn’t a hardship to work on getting more of it!
R – Physically feeling better about getting more sleep is definitely a great reward, but I feel so good when I think about E waking up in the morning with the energy to have a great day.
T – Again, I’m going to give it three months, but E is considering quitting his job, so I may be able to adjust the time I go to bed if there isn’t an external pressure to wake up early.
Use my mornings to SMART Use my mornings
It’s easy to see that if I’m not getting to bed early, I’m also not getting up early. Not exactly rocket science! I didn’t define anything to do in the mornings beyond maybe going to the botanical gardens or doing some quality laying-about in my bathrobe. I’ve figured out how I want to transform this goal.
S – specifically, I am going to try and get up at 6 three times per week, so that I can see E before he leaves for work. If I feel like we don’t get enough quality time at night, then if I’m able to go to bed early, I can get some good time in during the morning. Once he leaves for work, I want to make the bed, take my shower, and do one of the chores that is outstanding (usually laundry, or dishes, or sweeping up.)
M – I’ll probably have to make a little rotating checklist for the chores I want to finish, and that is very measurable. I can literally see the laundry that needs folding or dishes that need to be put away, so it is easy to tell when that chore is done.
A – I dearly want to feel like I have more quality time with E and that I am actually taking care of my home. I agree with myself and my happiness to work on this!
R – Realistically, I know that I may not be able to get up early 5 days per week. A 6am alarm, three days per week, is an OK place to start.
T – I’ll keep waking up early as long as E keeps going to work early… That may be for the next three months, or it may be for another six weeks. Even if I’m not getting up at 6, I want to give myself enough time to do a chore before I leave the house. If I leave at 9am, that means getting up at 7am. I’ll post an update for myself if I’m able to make the change from 6 to 7.
I’ll post part two of my goal update tomorrow, and work on defining the rest of my goals as SMART goals.