About this series: Our Duos have learned countless tips and tricks of the trade in our work supporting older adults and their caregivers. In these posts, we share our easy-to-follow guides for dealing with some of the most common aging navigation issues we encounter every day.
We all have goals - some are big (any marathon runners out there?) and some are small (hello clean laundry). But no matter how ambitious your goal is, let’s first celebrate the fact that declaring it is the first step on your journey to success! To help you map out how you’ll get from today to the finish line, we recommend using the SMART goals framework.
The “Why”: Values guide the reason for change
- Who or what gives you a reason for change and can support you through those changes?
- Who are the most important people or things in your life?
- What do you value most in your life?
- What do you consider to be some of your greatest accomplishments in life?
Values sound like: “I love my grandchildren and my family. My health is important to them and me.”
The “What”: Hopes are desires for change
- What do you want your life to look like?
- What are some of the things you wish to move toward in your life?
- When you think about your future, what are some things you’d like to have in it?
- What are you hoping to accomplish in the next 3-6 months?
Hopes sound like: “I want to be better at taking care of my health so I can be around to watch my grandchildren grow up.”
The “How”: Goals are how change is achieved
- How do you plan to turn your hopes into reality?
- What do you think is an achievable next step towards your goal?
- What have you tried before to help you achieve this goal?
- How will your strengths support you while you take steps towards this goal?
- What is the outcome you hope to achieve?
- What does your timeline look like for this goal?
Creating SMART goals
Each element of a SMART goal provides a framework for goal setting. It is intended to make goals more organized and achievable.
- Specific: Break your goal into specific, small steps to plan effectively
- Measurable: Define how will you show progress is being made
- Achievable: Confirm that this goal be accomplished in a reasonable timeline; if not, it may need to be broken down into smaller steps
- Relevant: Ensure that the goal aligns with your values and hopes
- Timely: Give each step of the goal a clear end date to allow for more effective task prioritization
Need inspiration? Here’s a SMART goal set by one of our members:
“By next month, I want to start taking my medications 100% of the time. In order to do this by next month, I will miss no more than two doses of medicine this week, one dose next week, and on the third week, I will miss no doses of my medicine. I will refill a weekly pill box each Sunday and note any doses I missed. I will review my notes with my Duo to check the progress made and with my doctor to discuss my health.”
Give the SMART format a try, and see if it helps you stay motivated and on track with your next goal.