Month by Month: Being SMART

Almost exactly two years ago I found myself in an airport looking for a good-read to take on the plane with me. I wanted something thought-provoking, non-fiction (usually my go-to), but a little bit lighter than the Brian Tracy-esque library I had been browsing at lululemon.

My eyes found “The Happiness Project” (Gretchen Rubin), read the first chapter and kept themselves busy with those words for the entire 3-hour flight.  A former Supreme Court Justice Clerk, Churchill biographer and working-mom-of-two suddenly realized, “The days a long but the years are short.”

Happiness Project

The confession here would be that I have yet to actually read through to the very last page of this book, even though I stand behind its message, approach and lessons. (Yes, I did note that I’d like to finish books. Consider this exhibit A.) But I took something away from those pages that has totally changed my approach to the days the calendar reads “1”: I set goals/focus for every month, all year long. Sometimes the focus-flavor-of-the-month is completely different from the 30 days that preceded it, sometimes it’s a continuation. Regardless, the goals are SMART and keeping me in line.


It’s an old-fashioned approach; I write them with pen & paper, tape it on the fridge and check the box when it’s appropriate! Sure, there are apps for that, but don’t mess with what works, right?

January’s goals seemed to be focused on an attitude, but the measurable stuff included things like this: use the EPIC yoga pass (that had been dormant for a month), cook at least 5 new recipes and run at least 20 miles per week. All boxes were checked, and getting back into that exercise routine helped set me up for February.

This month the mind, motivation and I are all business. I’m looking into a blog redesign, creating a media kit, planning my 2013 races (one confirmation is in!), planning spring travel and trying to learn the acronym language of business.

The idea here is to give yourself some things to work on without completely overloading the list and overwhelming your brain but also putting enough on there that you feel challenged and motivated. The next step is to break down that goal into the steps it will take to get to that check-mark.

Example – my baby-steps: contact blog designers & narrow down options (check!), look into other media kids for an idea of what I’m getting into (check!), look into local & national races to start debating what’s worth all of those dollar bills (check….ish) and reach out to RDs in private practice (check-in-progress).

To get your mind in the right place, remember this:

what you do every day20 seconds of courage
challenge and change


What are you up to this month?

What’s on your bucket-list for this year?

Think about it…


Filed under challenges, Goals, motivation

8 Responses to Month by Month: Being SMART

  1. Lauren

    Dustin is reading the Happiness Project right now and LOVES it! I am going to read it next :)

    This month I am focussing on getting into the groove of my new job and balancing it with grad school. I am also in the process of signing up for my 3rd half marathon thanks to YOU! Whooop!

  2. I read the Happiness Project a little bit ago and really liked it. Definitely worth finishing. :-)

    I also like the idea of month-to-month goals, even if I haven’t quite been implementing that strategy…

  3. This is a really nice post. I got that same book, but just haven’t had the time to read it yet! The goal setting is such a good idea too…I need to start doing it more often!

  4. Love those quotes! I follow Gretchen on google reader and always enjoy her thoughtful posts. This month I am looking forward to seeing my highschool girlfriends in Hood River (1 hr east of PDX) and just hanging out. Otherwise, I’m cranking through some wedding to dos (finally ordered our save the dates and started a wedding website) and trying to stay focused on school and studying.

  5. I have a few year long bucket list items, but my #1 is to keep in touch/get back in touch with my friends/family all over the country in a manner that doesn’t involve FaceBook! Enter – buying cards and small gifts and trips to the post office! So far, so good!

  6. Mamacita

    I am also reading this book and loving it; actually bought it for a friend’s birthday but she already had the book which worked out great for me. I like Gretchen’s month by month approach to her goals. Good post sweetie.

  7. Hi, love this post! I just stumbled across your blog and laughed to myself as I have started a Happiness Project a couple of months ago – am blogging about my progress and as part of my tasks for this month, I set up another blog for my running! They are both there if you’re interested..
    I love Gretchen Rubin – loving her books – now it’s been a few months, I’m starting to see benefits (and I have a clean study – that I haven’t seen the desk in a few years…!) PS I haven’t yet read to the end either (even though I’ve had the book for months… I’m hoping by the time I finish the project in the 12 months I WILL get to the last page…

  8. Mixing business with pleasure, LOVE this:) You’re exuding passion.

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