In 2011, I had intended to get all my business systems in place, stabilize cash flow, begin earning money at the educational website, triple traffic at my business website, live a more balanced life, bring creativity back into my non-work life, and strengthen my relationships.
These were not SMART goals, SMART standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. The only measurable item on the list was tripling our traffic, a fairly arbitrary goal. Our traffic is actually up by 65.79%, which is quite good for a website but a dismal failure if the goal was to triple it.
Otherwise, the goals were so undefined that it’s impossible to tell whether they were met or not. I don’t even know what business systems I ought to have in place, so how can I tell whether I got them all covered? We might be said to have stabilized cash flow, int he sense that we don’t have to worry about paying the bills, but it isn’t exactly predictable from one month to the next. What does “stabilize” mean here? The educational website earned about a thousand dollars, which is money, but is it enough to feel that it’s earning its keep?
I lived a more balanced life, in comparison to the preceding year or three. What did I mean by that, though? A 40 hour work week? I met that goal, pretty much — according to Toggl, I averaged 41 hours a week in 2011. Having something else to talk about besides business? Maybe not. I did manage to exercise regularly most of the year, I went to Rome for a week (it was business, but it was also wonderful), I settled into a church, I got some sewing and knitting done, I bought some furniture (it was for the office, but it’s also pretty), I got involved with music, I read novels. That’s more balanced than 2010, but is it balanced enough to have met the goal?
Creativity and relationships? Who knows? I had both creativity and relationships in my life last year. Were they improved in comparison to the year before? I don’t even have a metric for that.
This year, I plan to have goals SMART enough that I can tell whether or not I met them.
I’ve been working through 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You, a book which offers one change to make each week so that in a year you’ll be a Happier, Healthier You. I received this book to review, and found it sensible and practical. I was stuck on “Keep a food journal” for about a month, but now I’m using an app on my phone to do this and I was able to move on this week to “Keep a positive attitude.” Over the New Year’s weekend, I plan to develop some SMART goals for 2012. The combination of the two ought to let me start 2012 with a less wimpy set of goals, one that will allow me to decide, next year at this time, whether I actually met my goals or not.