[INTO THE DAWN] SMART Goals for the New Decade

Last century I worked for the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco as an Assistant Hotel Manager. As part of the Sheraton Hotel management group it was taken over by the larger Starwood Hotel Corporation. I was there for the merger/acquisition, and before removing myself from the company I got a taste of their management style, which seemed taken directly from the pages of my MBA texts.

One of the most impressive things that the Starwood Hotels had their managers do was establish SMART goals each year: Specific, Measurable, Accountable (you can be held directly accountable for your goal), Reasonable, and Time bound. In 2009 when I set my own goals for the year I used that methodology and I had great success. 2009 was an extremely challenging year in real estate, yet I had one of my best years. I owe that success in no small part to my SMART goals. With 2010 and the start of a new decade under way I have finally come up with some SMART goals that I hope not only to guide me through the year but also well into the new decade.

For brevity and personal purposes I will only be dealing with physical goals in this column. I have other goals, financial, professional, and personal which I will not elaborate on at this time. For me the physical goals are the easiest. I find it’s very easy just to put my body into motion, and we know from the laws of physics that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. To quote an old man my daughters and I bumped into this summer while on a walk, “I’m 101 years old. I’ve got to keep moving.” He said as he slowly and purposefully made his way along the street.

In 2009 I really started moving and kept moving. I dropped 15-20 pounds. My stomach literally transformed from round and soft to (mostly) slim and muscular. I believe where I am now lays a good foundation going into the New Year, however I know I can improve my physical well being by making some formal commitments that I am currently following loosely.

1. I will not drink alcohol in 2010. This is a reasonable goal for me because on July 17, 2009, I stopped drinking, and I haven’t had a drink since. It’s specific, only I am accountable for what I drink, measurable, and time bound (although all year is a long time). Not drinking alcohol I believe can be directly attributed to at least the last 5 pounds I lost. Those extra 5 pounds were not healthy to permanently carry around. Enough said.

2. I will exercise daily at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or more unless I’m ill or injured. Again, I’m already pretty much doing this. I ride my bike, walk or run almost every morning. 2-3 times a week I lift light weights so I can keep my shoulders in their sockets, which enables me to surf at least once a week. I also run stairs, hills, wind sprints, jog very lightly between sprints and I do LOTS of physical activities with my daughters.

3. Log 1300 miles of riding instead of driving my car between April 1 and September 1. In 2009 I logged 1000 miles, meaning I rode them (instead of driving) and kept a record, between April 16th and the middle of August. This year I will step it up a little, and keep track from earlier and later in the year and try to ride more miles instead of driving. Who knows, I could hit 1500 by September. I’ll still drive, don’t get me wrong, because I have, to but I’m going to ride more instead of driving.

So that’s pretty much it. To drop the SMART format I can abbreviate my goals fairly simply to (1) not drinking alcohol, (2) exercising daily, and (3) logging 1300 miles on my bike. One thing I know about these goals is they will affect my quality of life positively. All three of these goals are attainable.

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