Marjorie JamesYou and your Collaborative team have completed your “mission.” The divorce is final. The furniture has been divided up. The car is now registered under one name. One person’s clothes have been taken out; the ones remaining hang in an almost-empty closet. The toothbrushes have been separated. Names on bills have been changed. All was done with a minimum of angry words and vendettas. Now what?

As painful as divorce is, it is a “new beginning.” When approached that way, positive changes can be a part of life after divorce. Goals can be set, much like many people do on New Year’s Day. How we do our goal setting can have a huge impact on our future.

I want to add a personal note at this point. When I do the whole “goal-setting thing”, I have a tendency to overburden myself with too many, trying to do everything at once. A word of caution: Keep the list small. There will be many opportunities to add another goal once one has been accomplished.

Before I retired, I, along with the other teachers on my team, spent time helping our middle school students with goal setting. In that contact, we used the acronym SMART, a concept developed by Paul Meyer (Attitude is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond.) We saw tremendous growth in their ability to make and accomplish goals. If it worked for them, it can work for anyone!

S.M.A.R.T.

SPECIFIC: Goals we set need to be specific. A nebulous goal is not really a goal at all, merely wishful thinking. We need to be able to see what meeting our goal will accomplish. “I am going to lose weight” is a worthy project, but try getting more specific: “I am going to lose 15 pounds.” That is the spring board for focus and success.

MEASURABLE: How will we know whether or not we have reached our goal? If a goal can’t be measured, we will not know when it has been met. Specific and Measurable go hand-in-hand and are both necessary for good goal setting. Fifteen pounds can be measured, and we can easily see how far we have come and how far we have to go.

As I suspected, the look into goal setting will take more than one post. I will continue next week.

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.