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S.M.A.R.T. GOALS for 2017



Here it is – my first blog of 2017. Ouch! Still hurts to write the new date. As the illustration points out, it seems 1913 was only the day before yesterday. But time marches on and so does another year of celebratory rituals.

img_1439Rituals are closely related to routines, and one of my regular routines is to get away from my computer to walk by the sea. I’m not always sure this is good for me. I could be just on the verge of a fascinating plot point, but I tell myself I must go outside and see actual people. Sometimes I see something even better — in this case the Honu, or green sea turtles, I saw last week.

Not all routines are good, of course — which is probably how the custom of New Year’s Resolutions began. I will spare you the historical details. The point is, for some reason a new year marks the perfect time to RESOLVE to stop dancing above my neighbor’s apartment at 1:00 a.m. But will I? Perhaps I could dance in toe shoes instead of tap shoes…or maybe do a soft-shoe routine. Would that work?




Or, I RESOLVE to clean out the garage…except I found these really cool glass bottles and maybe I could use them for perfume bottles if I cleaned them out.

Ellen DeGeneres has a good routine about that sort of resolution and its cousin procrastination.



In short, Resolution’s cousin

Procrastination can destroy anyone’s resolve.

Actually, Resolution as a term for setting goals isn’t a good word to use, because we generally expect to break our Resolutions within two months and are seldom disappointed in that assumption. A few years ago I started using the term Revolution instead. As in, it would take a revolution for me to clean out the garage.

But wait, there’s a better way. A S.M.A.R.T way.



S.M.A.R.T has nothing to do with aggressive Resolutions or Revolutions. It uses a kinder term – goal-setting. Kinder because using the S.M.A.R.T. System you can’t fail. Well, you can if you want to. Check out this video featuring Smart Goal Man.

Smart Goal Man is mildly irritating, but he does make a S.M.A.R.T. point. Heh heh. In order for a Goal or Resolution or Revolution to succeed, it needs to be:

Specific or it can’t be achieved;

Measurable or we won’t know if we achieved it;

Attainable, because if my goal is to rapell down the Matterhorn

it isn’t going to happen, ever.

Realistic, see Attainable

Timely which I interpret as a goal that will or won’t happen

within a defined time period.

So, let’s take that from the theoretical to the actual. @ inner courtyard indian museum


I Resolve to Reach the Following Revolutionary Goal by the end of 2017:

Completed manuscript for MALICE: The Case that Scandalized 1883 Calcutta.


Will I succeed? Hmmm….We’ll know by this time next year.

What are your goals for 2017? Leave a comment.


In case you’re wondering, G. T. Doran came up with the term S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting in 1981.


New Year Baby, 1913. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons

Bottle Collection by Russ Pollanen. Creative Commons Attribution. Wikimedia Commons.

Other illustrations by Author.


Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.

Golden Rules of Goal Setting: Five Rules to set yourself up for success.

Michael Ditton. Start Smart Goals Setting. Goal Setting Basics

Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives”, Management Review, Vol. 70, Issue 11, pp. 35-36.

Will Meek. How to Set Goals. Psychology Today. Aug 25, 2013

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


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