It’s one thing to know that you should set SMART goals to achieve your dreams despite whatever obstacles you face. It’s quite another to actually put those plans into action. Well, I have some great news for you. There is a miracle tool out there that can work wonders when it comes to setting and keeping SMART goals, and the bonus is that you probably already have some version of it on your computer.
What is this miracle tool? A calendar.
You may already use a calendar, or maybe you have piles of date books you’ve never even cracked open. A lot of people use calendars, but only for “appointments”: doctor’s appointments, lunches with friends, soccer games, and whatever else they can’t afford to forget.
I, on the other hand, use calendars very differently. I schedule everything, particularly my goals for each day. I personally use iCal, but any calendar program should do nicely. No matter what your situation, I highly recommend that you start using a calendar to schedule your life starting today.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
No one’s perfect, but you chronic warriors should try to schedule out your days as close to when you wake up each morning as possible. That way, by the time you’ve finished your morning tea, you’ll have a day’s worth of goals to which you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable.
Schedule the Small Stuff
You may feel silly putting stuff like “Shower” and “Brush teeth” into your schedule, but don’t let that stop you from doing it anyway. Chronic pain and depression can make even the smallest molehills feel like mountains.
Plugging those deceptive items into your schedule will help hold you accountable to all your goals. Scheduling your fun as well as your work can also combat any guilt that may be associated with your non-work activities.
Color-Code Your Calendar
Color-coding different sets of goals will help to keep you organized. For example, I currently have eight different sets of goal calendars in play in iCal: Health/Wellness (green), Upkeep (pale blue), Creative (violet), Social (pink), Financial (red), Self-publishing (orange), Freelance (dark blue), and Relaxation (lavender).
Use Your Calendar to Measure Your Goals
Getting back to the “M” in “SMART,” a daily calendar is very useful when it comes to making your goals measurable. When you sit down to start plugging your goals for the day into your schedule, it’ll force you to think of how long it will take you to complete each and every goal.
Heavily utilizing a calendar may just seem like one more hassle to add to the seemingly endless pile of hurdles you deal with each day as a chronic illness warrior. But I promise that if you follow the simple tips of creating your schedule early in the day, scheduling even the tiniest of your goals, color-coding your calendar to match your different types of goals, and using your calendar to measure your goals, you will begin to find not only setting your goals but keeping them will become much, much easier.