SMART Goals & Giving Up “Busy and Productive”

Last month, I set out to really create integrity around moving towards a more simple and focused life. I wrote about striving for less, how to set weekly goals, and the cost of minimalism.

This month, I want to really start seeing some changes in a few areas and I’m going to use the SMART Goal template and my trusty timer to help keep me in check. (And I even created this free SMART Goals Printable Worksheet for you:)

I’m really having a hard time focusing on the “less” part of my resolutions and keep feeling this need to be busy and productive.

“Busy and productive” sounds great, but really, what are we allowing ourselves to feel busy and productive with? If it’s not the best use of our time, and bringing us closer to our big goals, “busy and productive” can allow us to feel accomplished, when really we are avoiding the work that needs to happen.

I don’t want to feel busy anymore. Busy is stressful, self-important, and keeps me away from the things that matter.

No, instead I want to be purposeful and accomplished. I want to go to bed every night and know that I accomplished things that I set out to do. That I am working toward big goals, and that I am consistently doing thing that are bringing me closer to those goals.

That’s what SMART goals are about. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Accountable
  • Relevant/Realistic
  • Time-specific

The BEST part about SMART goals is how honest you need to be with yourself as you are setting them and filling out the criteria — you get really clear right away if this “goal” is actually something that you want to be accountable for, if it’s relevant or realistic, and if you can get it done in the time that you have (or want). Many of the goals that you feel you “should” have, but aren’t dedicated to will reveal themselves for what they are as you are filling out the criteria.

Because here’s the honest, no-holds-barred truth: if I’m not excited about my goal while I’m filling out the SMART criteria, if I’m filling out the sections and thinking to myself, “yea, this sounds good,” I’m not going to achieve that goal. I’ve already decided it’s not worth doing the work.

And that’s okay. Our goals change as we change, and we can be honest about the fact that while some goals sound good and noble, sometimes it’s the goals we don’t have that are the sign of honest and happy living.

I don’t want to climb a mountain. I have several friends that have and I think it’s amazing, but I’m not interested. I wouldn’t enjoy the process and it’s not really something I’m interested in. So, why would I pretend that I did? Why would I set out to climb a mountain and do it, when the idea doesn’t give me goosebumps?

But, being able to travel the world with my daughter? Writing another book? Finishing my current degree despite the setbacks of disability and single parenthood? Those give me goosebumps. They terrify me, and they excite me.

That doesn’t mean that those ideas physically get me out of bed in the morning, but I need to position it so that they do. I need to really get clear that I need to do the work for those goals to happen. Wanting them isn’t enough.

SMART Goals that I am setting for myself include:

  1. Get caught up on the school work that I got behind in during Ella’s fall of back-to-back illness (6 times she was sick! 6!)
  2. Basement completely purged
  3. Start working out again, specifically tabatas and yoga
  4. Work on new eBook
  5. Use evenings to spend quality time with Ella, no distractions
  6. Keep house clean, use naptime to achieve this and make a list of what needs to get done regularly
  7. Healthy eating, no defaulting to junk food when I’m by myself


OK, now I want to hear your goals! What are you planning on achieving this month?

Either comment below, or if you have a blog, link up!

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