A new year is upon us and with it comes planning for the months ahead. While some may resolve to start or expand a doula practice (pun intended!), it’s no secret that the right kind of goals can make all the difference in what you will achieve in 2015.
It is commonly known that writing down goals increases your chances of achieving them. But did you know that how you set those goals also impacts the chances they will be achieved? S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that is both easy to remember and also provides very helpful tips in creating goals that are more likely to be achieved. It stands for:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound
Specific – This means that the goal isn’t overly general such as “Become a doula.” What kind of doula – birth or postpartum? Does this mean attend a training? Complete certification? With what organization?
Measurable – There is a quantifiable aspect of the goal such as “Complete the remaining requirements for my birth doula certification.”
Achievable – This helps prevent the goal from being too large or complicated. For example, “Attend five births as a certified doula” might be too big of a goal for someone who hasn’t yet attended a training or reviewed the requirements to be certified – it simply may be too much to accomplish in the time available.
Relevant – While this generally applies more when someone like a supervisor is setting a goal for you, it is important to make sure that the goal is worthwhile and matches up with other goals and plans. For someone expecting a baby, finding a doula may be more relevant to where she is in life than becoming one! Of course for others, pregnancy may be the perfect time to lay the foundation for a flexible career that she can manage from home; it’s a matter of considering the whole picture.
Time-bound – Setting a specific deadline can make a big difference in whether a goal is achieved or not. This is particularly true when you have several steps which together achieve a larger, overall goal. For someone embarking on a doula career, setting deadlines to choose a training and certifying organization, completing the training, and supporting her first client will go far to help achieve the larger goal of becoming a doula. For someone who wants to finish up her certification and then expand her practice as a certified doula, her S.M.A.R.T. goals might look like this:
- Find certification packet and review outstanding requirements by January 15th.
- Complete reading requirements by March 31st.
- Write essay by April 15th (sometimes shorter time frames can help stave off procrastination!).
- Create resource list by May 15th.
- Collect Client Confidentiality Release Forms, birth record sheets and client evaluations from all clients in 2015.
- Request evaluations from care providers at every birth attended in 2015.
- Submit completed certification packet by June 30th!
Remember that writing goals down can help make them a reality. Sharing your goals with family or a close friend who can help keep you accountable can also help keep you on track as well. Here’s to S.M.A.R.T. plans for 2015!
— Adrianne Gordon, MBA, CD(DONA)