In my previous blog, I shared with you some of my professional goals that I had set at the beginning of this year. I also listed the reasons, I believe, prevented me to get where I want to be by the end of the year.

The main question that I will try to answer in this blog : How can I make sure that my goals are potentially achievable and not only dreams that will evaraporate over time ?

When looking to answer this question, I have spent substantial time during my commute reading books and blogs. Although there are tons of books about this topic, I was pleasantly surprised by the practical ideas in the book Design Your Day: Be More Productive, Set Better Goals, and Live Life On Purpose by Claire Diaz-Ortiz. This book helped me frame several ideas that I will share with you in this blog.

The approach recommended in this book to set potientally achievable goals is to follow the SMART goal rule. This concept was first introduced by Paul Meyer and is well detailed in the book: Design Your Day: Be More Productive, Set Better Goals, and Live Life On Purpose.

A goal is considered SMART if it fits the following criteria:

Smart Goals

– A goal shouldn’t be vague. It should be Specific. As an example, instead of setting a goal to learn a new programming language, you should be more specific by targeting for example to get certified in this language or get your hands dirty by working on a real project (learn by doing) by developping your own application or helping in an open source project.

– A goal should be Measurable. To stay with the previous example, if you want to be certified, you need to estimate how many hours are needed per week to pass your certification before the end of the year. You will then be able to track your progress more easily.

– A goal needs to be Actionable. What actions you need to take to make sure you are making a progress toward your goal ? Start by setting the first action that needs to be initiated for each goal.

– It is crucial that the goals you choose are Relevant to you in the current stage of your life. It is ok if you are inspired by your friends’ goals but avoid the laziness to adopt them as they are your own goals. Keep in mind, those are your goals and need to be relevant to YOU otherwise you will be giving up !
For each goal in your list, ask your self WHY you consider it as Relevant.

– And finally, a goal needs to be Timely. If for example, I am planning to pass a certification, when should I complete the first reference book that will help me to prepare for the test ? When I will start passing sample tests ?

In addition to make sure to chose SMART goals, ask your self if you have a lot of goals. The general rule is to better choose less rather than more. I don’t think that there is a magic number. Usually, I try to not exceed 3 goals by category. You can find the categories that I am using in my previous blog.

Once you have your list of goals ready, it is time to start planning how you can achieve them. This will be the topic of my next blog !