One of the supposed benefits of Bush as president (I knew it was bullshit, and so did you) was that he had experience in the business world. Let's set aside, for the moment, that his experience was heavy on failure. Anyone who has ever worked in corporate America has probably gone through some kind of training in goal-setting and achievement. I went through various iterations of this kind of training when I worked for a certain cable company, and one thing that stuck with me was the concept of SMART goals.
Attainable Realistic Timely
From the above website:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, "Get in shape." But a specific goal would say, "Join a health club and workout 3 days a week."
Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as......How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable - When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Realistic - To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
Timely - A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there's no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? "Someday" won't work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, "by May 1st", then you've set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
T can also stand for Tangible - A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
I believed that this war was doomed to failure from the start, based on the ever changing reasons presented for why we had to go into Iraq in the first place. Now the Republican party is saying that any end to this war is failure. Well, that is what they are saying, but it's easy to see what they are really saying: we are going to stay in Iraq until a Democrat is in the White House - they can leave, and we can paint that as a failure, and that will help us win back Congress and the White House.
I think this gives us - the people who want our soldiers to come home - a real timetable for when we have to end the deadly folly of the Iraq War. We need this to happen before November 2008.