Winnie's Blog

January 2012

Making S.M.A.R.T. Goals

We?re half way through January, right around the time when New Year?s Resolutions start dropping off our to-do-lists. Did you make a resolution this year? Whether it is exercising more, quitting smoking or starting a new course in life, why is it that even with our best intentions, these resolutions so often fail?

Many social scientists believe it is because the goals we make are not S.M.A.R.T. goals. The first known use of the acronym S.M.A.R.T. ( as a goal setting tool) was by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review. Here?s what it means. In order to succeed in our goal setting our goals need to be:

Specific ?Measurable -Attainable -Relevant ?Time based.

Specific: The clearer your goals are the more likely they are to meet with success compared to more general goals. They must answer all five "W? questions.

What: What do I wish to accomplish?

Why: What are the specific reasons, benefits and purposes of your goal?

Who: Who is involved?

Where: Identify a specific location for this change to occur at.

Which: Identify the requirements and the constraints of your plan to change.

Measurable: If a goal is not measurable it is difficult to see if there is progress or completion. Giving yourself specific targets (I want to be at this spot by this date and so on) will keep you on track.

Attainable: Are your goals realistic? Deciding to lose 100 pounds in one week by going on a crazed diet may have some initial results, but since this is not sustainable over the long term you will usually fail. Goals cannot be out of your reach or below what you can accomplish. The question needs to be asked: How can this goal be accomplished? Develop your plan from there.

Relevant: This answers the question does this goal matterto me? If this is not something that really moves you, you won?t really embrace it. Ask yourself: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Where does this line up with my other efforts/needs?

Time ?Based: Giving yourself a realistic time frame to meet a goal gives that goal a sense of urgency and a completion date. Life has a way of taking over our days if we are not conscientious about how we spend our time. Having a time based goal puts a little extra and necessary pressure on us to NOT have an excuse to neglect our goals.

Wishing you a very successful 2012 as you plan specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals.

By: Sharon Osvald in collaboration with Winnie Visser



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Change Begins with Yourself

As we begin this fresh New Year, we can?t help but think of change. What was good about our last year, our goals, accomplishments our lives and what needs to change? As I do this in my own life, a reoccurring theme comes to the surface.

Change begins with yourself.

One of the principles to live by this year is that we are all responsible for our own joy and fulfillment in life. As a marriage and family therapist, I understand that many people have terrible things happen to them in their past. These things can be traumatic to overcome and drastically affect people?s lives. However, I believe: Don?t blame the past. Yes, it happened and yes, it was painful. However, it is easy to become stuck by something that happened to us thirty ? even fifty years ago. In the words of writer and speaker Joyce Meyers, "Let God restore you but don?t stay in recovery all your life.?

It is time we take the baton and become responsible for our own attitudes, our own habits and our own disappointments and stop blaming our parents, our husband, our wife or our kids for the life we now choose to live!

Blessings for a year of change! Only you can decide what that means and how you might go about changing it. No one can do it for you. You might be empowered by your faith or supported by others but it is you that needs to do this.

Believe me; I?m looking in the mirror when I say this.

By: Winnie Visser in collaboration with Sharon Osvald

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Principles for Real Living:

  1. I am responsible for my own attitude
  2. My attitude affects my actions
  3. I can not change others, but I can influence others
  4. My emotions do not control my actions
  5. Admitting my imperfections does not mean that I'm a failure
  6. Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world

Desperate Marriages by Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, Chicago 1998, 2008