Connect Your SMART Goals to Your Heart Goals


We all want to do our best work. No one questions that. However, what happens when you work to the extent that you’re not taking good care of your physical and mental health along the way? That is a question each of us likely need to be reminded of as we invest in our work throughout 2021. I talk to some fantastic women about that very question on several episodes on my podcast, This Prof Life: Women of Color in Higher Education, for Season 3, which is available right now.


I have had the opportunity to chat with some highly credentialed women whose life work is to either counsel people about good self-care or to teach others on how to do it. One of those women is Dr. Darshon Reed of the University of Central Arkansas. She shares through her teaching expertise in experimental psychology that while we strive to meet our SMART Goals, we also need learn to connect our efforts to making sure we are doing it in a healthy way. Reed, an assistant professor of psychology, trains students as well. As you likely already know, the acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based goals. It’s a classic approach that a number of organizations, companies and individuals use to move towards their vision, mission and, in the end, their goals. In other words, they are well-planned and can be tracked.


Reed has a new strategy for attaining those SMART goals while also maintaining one’s own self-care, particularly during such a stressful time in the middle of a pandemic. She has coined the term, RESTART goals. Under this approach, goals are set that are relevant to who you are in your individual core. When one undertakes this practice to reach their goals, they are going to ensure that the goals relate to their individual value system or character traits. Reed believes this allows a person to set goals related to internal rather than external factors, leading to better job satisfaction and self-care.


Reed also talks about goal disengagement or limiting the number of goal expectations for the year. Less with quality is better than more with stress, which brings to mind advice offered by licensed therapist, Nia Ridgle. She says one should try to accomplish three, simple projects in a day. As owner of her own agency, Ridgle suggests having a plan in place that allows one to feel accomplished and not overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed can lead to professional and personal paralysis.


Do you need to practice more self-care while attaining work goals? Learn how “high value women” can achieve a nice synergy between the two. Lisa Wilkinson, another licensed therapist, defines high value women as those who are in high stress, goal-oriented jobs. Listen to all of the episodes on This Prof Life podcast during Season 3 which is out now. You can find it all here. https://www.drpatsanders.com/podcast or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast. I hope to hear from you and your feedback about how you hope to practice more self-care.

Until next time,

Dr. Pat

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