Perhaps there is a difference between planning a career that fits into your life and fitting your life into your career. In the business world, this is often why strategic plans are created. Organizations focus on three to five-year plans to prevent coordinating events at the spur of the moment or implementing programming on a dime. Once the strategic plan is accepted, businesses have a more clear direction of hiring needs, financial requests, allocation of space, and even the smaller details such as what supplies to order.
How do you plan your life strategically?
How would you allocate your last $20?
When you are clear about how your actions and tangibles fit into your life plan, you can decide if your nails need to be done, if your car needs to be washed, or if you should purchase a book on how to improve your writing skills to prepare for becoming an author. Ultimately this is called S.M.A.R.T. goal setting:
S- Strategic and Specific
For example, I have been saying that I want to lose weight for many years. I am not a heavy girl, but shapely at the bottom and I was born with a round face and chubby cheeks. While I have thought about it occasionally for the past five years, I had not committed to actually losing weight until recently. I was recording myself doing poetry in hopes of posting some of my performances on YouTube, Facebook, etc. to gain exposure. As I looked back at the tape, however, I realized that my chubby features were not coming across as well on the screen as I would like for them too. Because this has affected my confidence for seeking out opportunities for live performances, I created a S.M.A.R.T. plan for my weight loss:
Goal: Lose 25 pounds in 3 months by changing my diet and exercising
S– The goal is strategic because it has a specific weight loss number and time frame as opposed to a goal to just lose weight.
M– The goal is measurable by a scale as opposed to a goal to look smaller which can be hard to measure or can vary depending on what you wear.
A– The goal is attainable as I actually have 25 pounds of fat to lose on my body.
R– The weight loss goal is realistic. For example, if an adult woman was 5’5 and weighed 117 pounds, it would be unrealistic and probably concerning if she wanted to lose an additional 25 pounds as she may not even have enough fat on her body to lose.
T– The timeline that I created is realistic based on research that states a person can healthily lose up to three pounds a week. My timeline allows for me to lose approximately eight pounds a month.
For over 5 years, my plan to lose weight was disconnected from my life plan. Now that I have made the connection, I am finally committed to this goal. Think about something you have procrastinated on doing and ask yourself how overcoming the procrastination and actually working toward the goal would affect your life. For me, performing is part of who I am. By not losing weight, I am ultimately hiding a part of myself.
If you are nervous about creating your S.M.A.R.T. plan, start with picking one area of your life you want to focus on, and make a S.M.A.R.T. plan that can be achieved in one week. If you are more experienced, set your S.M.A.R.T. plan for a month or longer. Check out my blog regularly for updates on my progress.
Below is a link to a SMART goal setting worksheet that will help you get started with your goals.