Goals for 2013

A month ago, I wrote a blog post about setting "S.M.A.R.T." goals about my personal leadership as part of the CT Health Leaders Fellowship program. S.M.A.R.T. is an abbreviation for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. As we approach the New Year, it is timely to set goals, but the other parts remain elusive. I’ve always been a bit goal adverse.

Perhaps some of this comes from a story I have a strong memory of from college. A philosophy professor told my class about when he had led a bunch of students on a pilgrimage from Paris to Santiago. They retraced the route of pilgrims from medieval times. It was a deeply meaningful experience for many of the students on the trip, and upon their return, they visited various alumni association meetings.

At one such meeting, an older alumnus got up and shook his finger at one of the students saying, “You know what’s wrong with you? You don’t have any goals!”

The student responded, “No, I have one goal: to live each day more fully and more lovingly than the previous”. I have often told that story when asked about my goals. It fits well with my interrupt driven ADD lifestyle.

This is not very specific, and perhaps not especially measurable, but very relevant, timely, and I believe achievable. My friends at the CT Health Foundation might ask, “So, how’s that really going for you? Are you being as successful and effective in this as possible?”

I would like to think so, but I don’t really know, and I suspect there are aspects where I could be more effective in the over-arching goal. To put it into the language we’ve been using in the fellowship class, I’m sure there are areas where I am not conscious of my incompetence.

So, I’m trying to break this down into smaller pieces to find skills to work on. One interesting framework to look for skills to work on is the Framework for 21st Century Learning from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills: Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Communication and Collaboration.

Creativity is an area I’ve always been interested in enhancing. This gets a bit more specific, but is also not particularly measurable. What would a measurable goal for creativity be and how would I work on it?

Communications and collaboration is another important area to me. I blog. I tweet, and I collaborate on many media. I could return to an old goal of putting up a blog post daily, or perhaps add in other goals, like putting up a blog post monthly on other sites about health equity or policy issues. An additional possible goal might be to get more interaction with what I’m writing.

Another interesting framework comes from Jane McGonigal’s game that can give you 10 extra years of life:

Please, take some time to watch this video. If you have time, you might want to watch her earlier Ted Talk, Gaming can make a better world before hand.

In her second TED talk, she speaks about four kinds of resilience: physical, mental, emotional and social resilience. These could match with the 21st century skills. Mental resilience as part of nurturing creativity and social resilience as part of improving communications.

So, now my more specific goals start taking better shape. To act upon them, let me propose an idea. If you’ve made it this far, send me an email with your thoughts about what my specific goals should be. What goals do you think would be most beneficial for me. Are their skills that I could be more competent in that I’m perhaps not aware of? For that matter, has this inspired you to think about some of your goals for next year, if so, what are you thinking of doing?

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