Goal setting and resolutions are hard for a number of reasons. They can feel rigid and don’t allow for a more forward-thinking “look at how far I’ve come” mentality and in general, they are complicated. SMART goals or SMARTER goals, (brought to us by Drs. Phil Zeltzman and Meredith Jones) can feel complicated and cumbersome and they take a lot of thought to write up. Are they important? For sure! Do they work for everything? In my less than humble opinion – no. That’s going to be controversial, I know, but hear me out.
The truth of the matter is that goals aren’t just things that need to be accomplished but you don’t want to do and so put off and put off and put off until you finally just hire someone to paint the deck (not that I’m speaking from experience here at all). Goals are also things you want to accomplish! Pro-tip: It’s perfectly okay if some of your goals are even things you were going to do anyway – like have that baby you’re already pregnant with (I’m looking at you, Charlotte Lucas)!
I think a number of us have spent a long time viewing goals and resolutions as something we fail at regularly and so we give up. Is the answer to have SMARTER goals? Maybe so, but the reality is that over the course of the year, priorities change. Look back at last year. Things that matter to you in February, were most likely not your priority in April. I think it’s time to turn annual goal setting on its head.
That’s what we’ve done in the Uncharted group “21 in 2021”. A bunch of our Community Members have said – here are 21 things I’d like to accomplish in 2021. Here are some of my favorite “goals” on lists from members this year:
- Get 3 chickens or 1 kitten
- Promote our new designation as a Fear Free Hospital
- Do something crafty once a month
- Launch SmartFlow at work
- Host future vet camp
- Think harder about current job situation
- Go through saved journal articles… purge unneeded ones
- Take one Irish language class
- Call Nana once a week
You’re right if you’re thinking that some of those would benefit from SMART or SMARTER goal setting – that’s true. But if that stops someone from putting a goal down on paper (or in Trello, or on their Remarkable Tablet) or looking for accountability partners, then that’s not so helpful.
What is helpful is that this group is about more than goals and accountability – it’s about support for what you want to accomplish, without judgment. After all, there is enough judgment out there in the world and you are hard enough on yourself. We cheer each other on throughout the year, but the most fun is our year-end wrap up when we get to look at what we’ve accomplished together, personally and professionally.
We hope you’ll join us because we can’t wait to see what you will accomplish in 2021!
About the Author
Jamie has over 17 years of experience in the veterinary field, most in emergency and critical care. In a prior life she was an animal control officer and a veterinary team manager for a 24 hour practice in Los Altos, California. Jamie is the Administrative Manager for Dr. Andy Roark and Uncharted Veterinary Conferences. Jamie is passionate about mental health and suicide prevention in the veterinary community and is a firm believer that education reduces stigma and increases survival. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid responder, QPR gatekeeper and certified gatekeeper instructor. Jamie is an administrative rockstar, organizational aficionado, tea geek, and workaholic – not necessarily in that order.