It's almost 2008. Most people are reflective of 2007. Some are anticipating what the new year will bring. I'm doing my best not to fall into the resolution trap. It's the temptation to make changes that I won't follow through on. It's the disappointment that many people feel around January 21, when they failed to form a new habit and fall back into old patterns.
So I'm leaving the language behind and I'm focusing on creating SMART goals for the next 90 days. If you aren't familiar with the term SMART, here's a quick refresher:
The 90 Day Plan - A SMART Goals Worksheet
Here's a simple worksheet that I've designed to help me through this process. I wanted to create something that would give me a Big Picture view, but then help me break everything down to be able to daily implement my plan. This worksheet lets me...
1. Write down my goals. If I don't get it on paper it doesn't get done. I want to have these goals in clear view and view them on a daily basis.
2. Calendar my plan and progress. I believe that calendaring is the key to accomplishment. If it doesn't get on my calendar, I don't make time for it.
3. Break my goals down. I use a simple number system to identify goals and the sub-goals that go with them.
+ 90 Days
I may want to work on something for the entirety of 2008. But I won't have a clear plan unless I break it down. I like 90 days. It's 3 months. One quarter of the year. It's helps me to celebrate small successes which create the momentum to move forward.
Mark your start and end date on the worksheet. While a goal may extend past the 90 day mark, think about what you can realistically accomplish during this block of time.
+ List Goals
There is space to list up to 10 goals. That may be too many for some. That's okay. Don't feel like you have to use up every space. Instead of numbering my goals 1 - 10, I choose to use 10.0 - 00.0. With this numbering system, I can organize them a little better.
For example, my third goal (30.0) is to be able to bench press 310 lbs. I'm currently at 285 lbs. But I want to be able to break the goal down. So I will mark my steps to accomplishment like this: 30.1 - 290 lbs; 30.2 - 295 lbs; 30.3 - 300 lbs; and so on. These are the numbers I'll use on the calendar portion of the worksheet.
Also, let's say that I want to add a goal that relates to this goal. For instance, I want to be able to do a certain number of reps at a certain weight. I can add a goal in this category by numbering it 31.0, 32.0, 33.0, etc.
+ The Weeks
When you move to the calendar section, there is a space on the left column for marking the date of the week or numbering the weeks. I tend to work in weekly chunks with most of my appointments and planning. I use a revised version of the GTD weekly review to reflect and plan ahead.
+ The Calendar
The Calendar is my target. I want to put the goals or the broken down pieces of each goal on the calendar. If it's not on the calendar, then I'm not working on it. I want to achieve certain steps along the way.
The calendar consists of 7 squares across. I begin with Monday because that's how I view my week. I will go through and mark the date for each square in the upper left portion. I tend to write small, so the writing the date doesn't take up much room. You can also use the Date|# column to write down the dates for the week (ie.,1/1/08-1/8/08).
I will write the number of the goal (like 30.1) on the day that I hope to achieve the goal and circle it. When I've done this with all of my goals, it will give me a bird's eye view of my goal accomplishing plan over the next 90 days. Then I'll simply add these dates into my calendar (Google Calendar!) during my weekly review.
Over one quarter of the worksheet is for notes that I will make. I may draw a line from a certain goal and make a note describing what the number means. I may jot down progress made. It is an open space to write down whatever is helpful toward my goal's accomplishment.
As with any of the tools/worksheets I create, I am always open to suggestions. One of these days I'd like to figure out how to put these things into an online, editable form that one can type into. But for now, it remains a single sheet of paper that you can download.
Download The 90 Day Plan - Smart Goals Worksheet v1.3[pdf.52kb]