Talent is just the beginning…Work is the magic element

I recently said this to a friend: “The effort, extra classes, and training, none of that matters without some gifting, BUT without hard unceasing work there is nothing to read…no matter the inborn talent that may lie in the soul of a person.”

10294340_712003282247282_8265914110445824830_nNow here comes my confession: I am terrible at commitment to a project.

That dig down deep and slog out the word count each day freaks the heck out of my muse…but I’m here to tell you that my muse and I are starting 2015 with a change of diet and workout! Muse and I are not going into that long dark night of sloth and misguided ennui. Oh no! I will not hide the gifting and learning that I have, and neither should you!

COME WITH ME! Come on a journey of vim and vigor, be hot to trot, dole out your word count with audacity! This is your year! This is my year!

Will there be moments of disheartenment? Will we be facing the odds from the outside? Will we want to give in and falter? Yes. We will, but I have faith we will overcome.

What is my plan? I am so glad you asked. First, I got out some old skool tools, pencil and paper. Pencil is important as you will probably need to erase and reorganize your goals and priorities as you go. Second, I started a list of projects that I want to finally complete in the New Year. These are not new ideas. All of the things on this list are projects that I have already started writing or they are the sequels to things already completed. Don’t worry, we will have time to make a list for new items on your agenda.

I sort of went at this list making like your would a business meeting, Old business, New business and Announcements. I’ve explained above what the Old is but now we need to get down to the nitty gritty on how to make goals out of all that mess. Now we will use a tool that I have a love hate relationship with– S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

smart goal setting conceptThese Goals are not your wishlist, your dream journal, nor any type of flights of fancy. They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You see the difference right away from the usual goal lists that people tend to make for “New Year’s Resolutions” don’t you? This type of goal setting requires actual work.

You have to plan FOR EACH GOAL: Use one sheet of paper for each goal. You have to unearth what you really want to accomplish. How are you going to measure your success? (This one is the hardest for a dreamer like myself) What is actually attainable? Does your goal have relevance to your project? What is the actual time (in a hard date) when this goal will be completed?

This is not the idle speculation of clouds and unicorns; this is the hard work of getting things accomplished, so that the things on your goal list in 2015 aren’t the same things that that will top the list for 2016.

Now for the work: Make as many S.M.A.R.T. Goals as you can. Make them so specific that you cannot help but see the way forward for each one. YES, you may find that the timetable for a goal might be longer than this one year time frame, and that is OKAY! Just keep making your relevant goals. When you are done you will organize them into goals based on time. Goals that are shorter go at the front and longer term goals to the back. You might want to put these into a binder or a folder with braids. At this point add these time based goals to your work calendar, either paper or electronic will work. From here you will have learned how to make goals that will move you forward. Make goals for new projects as well. Don’t get overwhelmed. You have a plan, and you can do it!

I will leave you with this one piece of advice, and a quote. In learning to make S.M.A.R.T. Goals I had to let go of the idea that goals are dreams. Yes I still dream and love the idea of a bright shining future full of prosperity and fun. You may think that learning how to make real goals has killed my dreamer instincts, but nothing could be further from the truth. Now I know I will reach my ultimate reward because I have relevant goals that will march me toward my dreams. This type of goal setting is like learning to run uphill, you have to start slow but eventually skill and speed sneaks up on you. Come with me and by 2016 this bumpy start will seem like a mole hill. 🙂

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17 thoughts on “Talent is just the beginning…Work is the magic element

  1. Great Post Lisa! I agree. Each goal must be SMART. The times I have not applied this concept to my goal setting, I did not reach my goals. And your right. It doesn’t kill the dream, it makes it more attainable. I can’t wait to see your SMART goals and I know you will accomplish them this year! Press on friend!

    1. SMART goals have revolutionized the way I plan for the future. And I am with you, when I don’t have this plan in mind when I set goals they usually fade away.

  2. As I mentioned in Bob Nailor’s similar post, I think you should add an Evaluation or Re-evaluation to that model. As you approach each milestone toward your goal, evaluation the effort it has taken, the time, and the other factors that affected achieving or delaying the accomplishment of the goal. Use that to readjust your timelines. Life has a wonderful way of foiling our best plans.

    1. Scott, That is a good point. I do think that as you get to the last three of the SMART goal plans that evaluation is really part of the process. Especially since you set a Hard date for goal to be completed. If you are unable to do so then you must look at what went wrong so that your follow up goal has a more Attainable (A) structure.

  3. Another great post on goals; these always make me feel like I should get off the web and grind out more words for the next book. I tend to have only two or three long term (annual) goals, each with some tactical, intermediate targets. When I have too many goals, it’s too easy for me to procrastinate by shifting from one to another — but that’s my curse. Happy New Year, and may you accomplish all of your goals.

    1. Charles, That very thing (shifting) is one of the reason I like SMART goals so much, I can set up the goals so that instead of being several similar things to bounce around–the goals build on each other. So each one is the building block to the next one. This way of structuring my goals keeps me focused.

    1. Jenny, I have a card on my desk that reads: Do you actions line up with your goals? It keeps me focused on being intentional. That is very similar to this quote: “What is the connection between what I want most in life and anything I plan to do today?” ~Robert Brault

  4. Mountains are conquered one step at a time and the same is true of goals and dreams. I heard a phrase recently…Dreams don’t come true…they’re made true by hard work, determination and taking one step at time.

    1. Tara, I read once that, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” (Diana Scharf) I think that is really the key having hard deadlines.

  5. You’re smart cookie to use S.M.A.R.T. to get your goals in a line. As you declare, no reason to see the same things at the beginning of 2016, especially if you failed them in 2015. Great post.

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