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Setting I’M SMART Goals – Using a Simple & Effective Tool to Get What You Want in Midlife

31.10.2018

By Gina Mitchell

Gina is a certified life coach who has been supporting her clients to reach their goals since 2011. Her niche is coaching midlife women due to her own challenges with midlife and menopause.

She wrote a #1 best-selling book about female midlife relationships called ‘Ignite the Spark’.

Gina has a background as a scientist and teacher. She taught secondary science full time for over 30 years.

Her passions include, her pet cats, advocating against animal cruelty and the environment.

As women reach midlife and go through menopause, many changes happen on quite a few different levels and what you may have wanted when you were younger is likely to be quite different to what you want now.

The changes that happen are not just physical, but emotional too. There could be empty nest syndrome, relationship changes with partners and career changes.

When these changes occur, it may feel like they are ‘thrust’ upon you. You certainly did not ask for it and it is very likely that you did not plan for it either!

So, the best thing to do is take a deep breath and take stock of what is really happening. Know that changes are happening anyway and then use this as internal fuel to plan and make changes to your life that will lead to positive outcomes. That is, set some audacious goals and become the best version of yourself and have the life you want.

So, firstly, it is important to define what exactly it is that you want and give yourself a time frame in which to do it. This is called goal setting.

You may have heard of SMART goals. This is a tool used in goal setting.

Firstly, here is a little history about SMART goals. The Acronym has been accredited to George T Doran who is said to have developed the SMART goals tool in November 1981 in Spokane, Washington.

Here is a short video of George T Doran talking about the tool.

Since George Doran developed this tool, it has been used in business and in personal development to provide a clear, simple and useful framework for defining and managing goals. The tool has been used extensively throughout the years and some of the definitive meanings of the words have been changed and/or expanded to improve it.

The new and improved version used here is the I’M SMART version. Each letter stands for one or more words.

I – Inspiring. Think about what would really switch you on. What do you want that will be totally inspiring to you.

M – Motivating. Think about the reasons that you want this goal for yourself. How would your life be better if you achieved this goal? Make sure they are important to you. Would it get you out of bed in the morning?

S – Specific. When setting a goal, be as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying I want to travel (it is a bit vague), say I want to go to Spain next summer!

M – Measurable. It is a good idea to use numbers where possible. For example, I have lost 10 kg. Or, I now make $3000 more per month than I did before. Or, I now work only 3 days per week.

A – Achievable. Make sure your goals are possible for you. If you set a goal that is impossible for you, it will only demoralise you. For example, Instead of saying ‘I will have $10 million dollars in the next 6 months’, when you have only ever earned an average wage may not be achievable for you. However, it could be achievable to someone else who had already achieved it in the past or has a reference to someone who has achieved it and clearly identifies with it.

R – Relevant and realistic but risky. Your goals should reflect the direction in which you want to go. Also, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy for you to achieve. You want to stretch yourself and step out of your comfort zone so you can allow yourself to grow.

T – Tangible and time bound. How will you know when you have achieved it? Where will you be? Who would you be with? What will it look like, sound like and feel like? Will it be in 6 months? 12 months?

Some other hints when writing goals are:

  1. Do it in present tense for the time frame you have set. For example, Today is the 17th November 2019 and I am feeling very happy because I … (whatever has been achieved in that time).
  2. Use first person. This is YOUR goal, not your partner’s, parent’s or children’s (although you may want to include them, but you can’t speak for anyone else. This is about YOU).
  3. Use positive language. Your unconscious mind does not process negatives. So, for example, instead of saying ‘I have given up smoking’ say ‘I treat my body like a temple and only put substances into it that nourish me’.

So, what are you waiting for? You now have this simple and effective tool to enable you to write some new and exciting goals that suit this stage of your life.

If you would like some help with this, you can book into a no obligation complimentary clarity session with me. Just visit my website to book in on www.midlifecoachingforwomen.com.au

 

References:

Doran, G. T. ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.’ Management Review, 70, n.p. (1981).

Haughey, D. ‘A Brief History of SMART Goals’.  Project Smart, n.p. December 13, 2014. Web. Accessed September 24, 2018:

Nieuwland, M.S.  ‘True or False? How Our Brain Processes Negative Statements.’ Association for Psychological Science, n.p. February 11, 2008. Web. Accessed September 24, 2018: