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Play it SMART when setting goals this year

When one year of your nursing career ends and the next year begins, a golden opportunity is at your door. On episode 37 of my podcast, The Nurse Keith Show, I discussed setting goals and why thoughtful goal setting is so important to forward movement in your nursing career. I also covered the notion of performing an annual life review, and I shared links to a great article and downloadable spreadsheet in the show notes for that episode.

As a new year begins, many of us are quick to make resolutions — promises to ourselves that this year will be different. We may promise to exercise more, lose weight or work harder, but resolutions are so very readily broken.

To be more effective, we can instead focus on setting intentions, creating a framework for moving into the new year with measurable, achievable goals that will position us for success as we take steps in an inspired direction.

Follow the 5

In some circles, goal setting is all about so-called “SMART” goals. The acronym can be a handy guide for creating both personal and professionals goals. It’s based on five basic tenets you can follow as you create your goals and the practical steps that will carry you toward success. According to these tenets, your goals should be:

S = Specific: Goals need to be specific, not amorphous. Your original goal might be finding a new job, but a more specific goal could be getting hired by an ambulatory surgical center within 50 miles of your home.
M = Measurable: Goals also need to be measurable in some way. In terms of a new surgical center position, a measurable goal might be submitting an application to six facilities.
A = Achievable: Setting your sights on achievable goals is certainly more likely to result in success. Finding a job at a surgical center may feel achievable, as well as applying to six specific centers.
R = Realistic: Realistic goals are generally more achievable; gaining employment at a local surgical center may seem like a realistic goal.
T = Time-bound: Goals that are time-bound are more achievable, since you will act according to set time parameters, not some day. Setting a goal of applying to six surgical centers by a particular date would be a perfect time-bound goal.

Ambiguity vs. specificity

Setting goals in specific categories of your life is prudent and important. Without goals, we flounder in ambiguity; with goals, we move forward in a positive direction with specific outcomes in mind. And if we reevaluate our goals and need to change course, so be it.

Assess your nursing career, set SMART goals that speak to your aspirations, and move in a specific, inspired direction as a nursing professional.

Access Carlson’s podcast.

By | 2016-01-28T22:12:17-05:00 February 2nd, 2016|Categories: Nursing News|0 Comments
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway. Keith is co-host of, a popular nursing podcast, and also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. A widely published writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He brings a plethora of experience as a nursing thought leader, holistic career coach, writer and nurse entrepreneur.

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