The SMART methodology can help you define your objectives
Last month, I wrote that you are never too old to set goals. I suggested four categories of goals to set – mental, physical, spiritual, and relationship – and promised to provide additional information this month.
Mental goals are those that stimulate the brain. Such stimulation could prevent cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Make it a goal to participate in activities that train the brain. Engaging in activities that involve looking for solutions, such as doing crosswords or other puzzles, is one way to stimulate the brain. Taking a class on a topic of interest is another way to stimulate the brain. Tech-savvy seniors could learn how to navigate the Internet, use Facebook, or the benefits of email. I encouraged readers of previous columns to write their autobiographies. Your children and grandchildren will be thrilled to learn more about you, the opportunities you’ve had, and the challenges you’ve faced as you matured and as an adult.
As a lawyer and state legislator, I felt the need to improve my communication skills. I joined a local Toastmasters club, which turned out to be a great investment on my part. When I was offered the opportunity to write a column for local newspapers, first the PrimeLife Circuit and then The Call, I took writing classes at community college. Joining Toastmasters and taking these classes were part of my past mental goals.
Physical goals are designed to improve an individual’s balance, flexibility, strength and endurance. Physical activity on a regular basis can help improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. My wife and I once took tai chi classes as a physical activity goal. Currently, we are taking classes at HouseFit, an organization that helps seniors achieve their physical activity goals. I may not be able to follow the young instructors, but my goal at 85 is to follow the young septuagenarians in the classes.
Spiritual goals are those that help discover how to live a meaningful life. Spiritual goals are designed to help a person gain clarity about their life’s purpose. These goals help contribute to society. They can be met in a religious setting or in a non-religious way. Giving time, talent, or treasure to an entity that helps those less fortunate is a worthy spiritual goal. I sit on the board of a foundation that raises money for a community of seniors.
Relationship goals are goals that help you get closer to another person. For a married person, that other person is a spouse. For a parent, that other person could be a child or children. For others he is a friend. Perhaps the purpose of the relationship is to spend more time with a spouse, child, or friend. Devote time to spending exclusively with another. Become a better communicator. Discuss feelings. Learn to listen.
Use the SMART methodology to set goals. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. When you think about your goals,
consider each of these five factors.
If you follow the SMART methodology, your goals will be achievable.