There are few better feelings in this world than that which comes when we achieve something we set out to do. At Lagom Landing, we have the pleasure of experiencing this each day on the job site, on our land, and in our wood shop, as we work with our hands and transform our materials and environments. But it all begins with setting a goal, a skill that is often taken for granted but in actuality must be built up just like the skill of carpentry or landscaping. That’s why at Lagom Landing we incorporate goal setting into our curriculum and work one-on-one with students to set and pursue their personal goals.
In building a life for themselves, it is important that young people develop their sense of “self-efficacy”—their ability to make an impact in their lives and world. We believe there is no better way to develop this than to put our students into situations in which they can enhance their ability to set and pursue goals. We all have goals: the career we would like, the family we want, personal wellness goals, or an aspirational financial situation. There are goals for all of the areas of our life, and often we think of them as short-term, medium-term, or long-term goals, all of which feed into what this resource calls our “big picture” goals, or our ideal life.
As with anything else, however, goals are not as simple as they first appear. There is a lot of talk out there, and research even, into how best to pursue ones’ goals. Perhaps you have already heard of “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”, a common framework for goal-setting that we expose students to at Lagom Landing. The acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Sensitive. It is known that writing your goal (or stating it), rather than keeping it bottled up, is a key starting point to achieving your goal; but you are even more likely to be able to hold yourself to your goal and to successfully pursue it if you follow the S.M.A.R.T guidelines.
To illustrate this framework, we have set a goal for our organization and will share it with you one letter at a time:
S. – Specific: The goal should be clearly stated in a way that can be clearly envisioned. So rather than having a vague goal such as “I will be more active” one might say “I will to play more tennis” (we hear our co-director Rock say this one a bit!)
Lagom Landing’s Specific Goal: We will increase our social media reach by boosting our number of Facebook “Likes”
M. – Measureable: The goal should be articulated in a way that one is able to, at any time, assess how well he or she is doing at achieving the goal. So rather than saying “I will play more tennis,” Rock might say, “I will play tennis twice a week.”
Lagom Landing’s Measureable Goal: We will increase our number of Facebook “Likes” to 650.
A. – Actionable: It is critical that the goal be something that the individual can really take action towards achieving; if the goal is outside our control, we are helpless to achieve it. In Rock’s tennis example, if he sets this goal during the winter and does not have access to an indoor tennis court, his goal is not actionable (luckily Rock loves to ski, too!).
Lagom Landing’s actions towards achieving our goal: Asking our current followers to invite their friends to like our Facebook Page (click here to help us reach our goal!), paying to promote some of our content to reach new audiences.
R. – Realistic: Perhaps the most important component of a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Being realistic in your goal setting assures that you don’t “set your sights too high.” This is important because if you set a goal that is not attainable, you may still be disappointed when you do not reach it. This is a problem because the disappointment dampens your “self-efficacy” that we talked about earlier, and can keep you from continuing to set meaningful goals. So, in Rock’s tennis example, his two tennis sessions per week is realistic, he can find one week day and one weekend opportunity to pursue this. Had he tried to play tennis seven days a week… well… we would need a new master carpenter around here!
Lagom Landing’s above stated goal is realistic because we are not too far off from it. At the time of this writing our Facebook page has 587 “Likes”, so another 63 is not inconceivable; we can do it!
T. – Time-Sensitive: Last, but certainly not least, goals are made time-sensitive by setting a deadline. This allows you hold yourself accountable for achieving your goal. So, set a goal for a week out, a month out, or this new year of 2019. If you do not achieve the goal, that does not mean you failed entirely, but maybe the goal wasn’t as realistic as you thought, or perhaps you learned something new about yourself along the way and now your goals have changed. Great! It’s back to the drawing board, then, to set up your new goals and keep working at them! In the end, Rock’s tennis goal might be: “I will be more active by playing tennis two times a week for the next month.”
Lagom Landing’s S.M.A.R.T. goal is: We will increase our social media reach by boosting our number of Facebook “Likes” to 650 by the end of February.
And with that, we are off to pursue our goals, and we hope that you are also off to pursue yours! If you liked this post, please share it, “Like” our Facebook page, and consider inviting others to do so as well! We would love to hear about the goals you are working on, too, so leave them in the comments below!