Establish goals in these four categories

The SMART methodology can help you set your goals


By Carl Hendrickson, For the Call

Last month I wrote that one was never too old to set goals. I suggested four categories of goals to establish – mental, physical, spiritual, and relationship – and promised to provide additional information this month. 

Mental goals are those that stimulate the brain. Such stimulation could stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Make it a goal to engage in activities that give the brain a workout. To engage in activities that require one to seek solutions, such as doing crossword or other puzzles, is one way to stimulate the brain. Taking a class on a subject of interest is another means to stimulate the brain. Tech-adverse seniors could learn to navigate the internet, how to use Facebook, or the advantages of email. I have encouraged readers in past columns to write their autobiography. Your children and grandchildren will be thrilled to learn more about you, the opportunities you had and the challenges you faced as you grew to adulthood and as an adult.            

As an attorney and state legislator, I felt the need to improve my communication skills. I joined a local Toastmasters club, which turned out to be a great investment on my part. When I was offered the opportunity to write a column for local newspapers, first the PrimeLife Circuit and then The Call, I took writing classes at the community college. Joining Toastmasters and taking these classes were some of my past mental goals.   

Physical goals are designed to improve an individual’s balance, flexibility, strength and endurance. Physical activity on a regular basis can help to improve health and reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. My wife and I have taken tai chi classes in the past as our physical activity goal. Currently we attend classes at HouseFit, an organization that helps senior citizens to fulfill their physical activity goal. I may not be able to keep up with the youthful instructors, but my goal at 85 is to keep up with the youthful septuagenarians in the classes.    

Spiritual goals are those that assist one in discovering how to live a meaningful life. Spiritual goals are designed to help one gain clarity on the purpose of his or her life. These goals help one to contribute to society. They can be satisfied in a religious setting or in a non-religious manner. Donating time, talent or treasure to an entity that assists the less fortunate is a worthy spiritual goal. I serve on the board of a foundation that raises funds for a senior living community.   

Relationship goals are those goals that assist you in getting closer to another individual. For a married individual that other person is a spouse. For a parent that other person could be a child or children. For others it is a friend. Perhaps the relationship goal is to spend more time with a spouse, child or friend. Dedicate the time to spend exclusively with another. Become a better communicator. Discuss feelings. Learn to listen.    

 Use the SMART methodology in establishing goals. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. As you consider your goals,

take each of these five factors into consideration.

 If you satisfy the SMART methodology, your goals will be achievable.

Good luck!