3 down, 40 to go…

So after citing it in expanding my library, I decided I should sign up for 43 Things and create my own list. I have identified 3 goals so far:

1) qualify for (& run) the Boston Marathon
2) build a personal library
3) watch every James Bond movie ever made

Now I’m a n00b on the site, but I’ve already formed a judgement about the quality of the site, or more accurately, the quality of the goals that are being set and shared by the site’s members. I don’t want to belittle any individual’s goal-setting and goal-achieving strategies, but I was immediately disappointed by how many I saw that were…well…half-ass. Check it out:


In the goal cloud above, (roughly) 21 of 213 goals contain the words more or less or some other similar modifier. In other words, they’re vague. How much is more? How much is less? And my favorite, how much is -er? I assume each individual has some criteria in mind that becomes their marker for success, but modifiers such as more, less, and -er require nothing more than incremental change. I’m a relatively thin gal with awesome DNA and an awesome metabolism to thank for my figure? Say I wanted to gain weight so that I am *gasp* heavier? I might gain 3 lbs in a day of mere water weight if I simply chose hydration over coffee, but I’m not producing any real significant lasting affect on my overall health.

Then there is the issue of time. By when does one want or need to be -er? A month? A year? 10 years? How about just sometime before death? Take the goal of stop waiting (2nd tag from left, one row above the black cat avatar). Clearly a goal set by a procrastinator. Maybe they’ll start to stop waiting tomorrow.

21 of 213 is only 10%. Not bad. But vague modifiers and truant timetables aren’t the only problem. One person wants to follow through. Another to levitate.

Talk about fail at goal-setting. 

Alas, there is hope yet. SMART goals to the rescue.

Specific  ◊  Measurable  ◊  Attainable  ◊  Realistic  ◊  Timeable  

Though by no means is the only strategy, SMART goals do provide a simple method for turning half-assedness into successful goal-setting and goal-achieving. And lest I be a pot among kettles, I shall first confess that I have not always been (OK, OK…make that never been) diligent about using the SMART methodology myself. But I do want to be more better at this whole goal thing-a-ma-jig and I’m going to start by making each one of my 43 Things SMART.

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  1. #1 by Tankilo on April 3, 2008 - 10:12 pm

    I feel weird passing on advice I got from podcasts, but a goal setting tip from http://manager-tools.com

    Set M-T goals instead of S-M-A-R-T goals. By the time you get Measurable and Time-able set, the other 3 points will take care of themselves.

    In the spirit of 43 things I will set a goal.
    I will write a twitter 101 guide that explains the @, the #, track, tinyurl, and all the mobile commands in the next 6 weeks, and then share it with my mother. If a sufficient guide already exists, 2 weeks to show it to my mother. I will also have an “executive summary” of 3 sentances.

  2. #2 by Ms. Herr on April 4, 2008 - 6:54 am

    Tankilo, interesting and valid point. I outlined some constraints for the Bond goal (still gotta do the others), and realistically the only two things I identified were measures (all movies, in order) and a timeline (within a year). At any rate, I def want to listen to those podcasts (linked below for anyone interested).

(will not be published)