Learn how the big guy gets it all done


Before putting on the magical red suit, Santa makes his list and checks it twice. Then, and only then, does the jolly old man race around the globe delivering presents. Modern day shippers like UPS and FedEx follow Santa’s lead and print manifests before deploying the motor pool. A source from the North Pole leaked the big guy’s secret formula of using the goal-setting acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. 


Even if you don’t believe in Santa, you can refer to the dozens of research studies, published from the 1960s to current day that prove productivity increases when people give themselves specific goals. Saying, “I’ve got to purchase some presents,” is too general and probably won’t produce the desired result. Instead, state, “I want to buy gifts for Barbara, Missy, Pam, and Steve.” Your mind will identify appropriate goodies for each person on your list.


Define a start and finish line in order to measure your progress and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. In my example, I have four family members on my gift-giving list. After finding and paying for Barbara and Missy’s surprises I’ll be halfway done – so near to completion, my motivation will drive me until I reach 100 percent.


If you had millions of naughty and nice kids’ names to review by hand, it would be an insurmountable task. Many people tend to give up if a task seems impossible to reach – sometimes before the first attempt. Establish an attainable goal and vastly increase your chances of success.


Dreaming big is excellent advice especially when it is paired with rational and tangible goals. Attempting to be the earth’s next Santa Claus is grandiose, but wanting to be a local philanthropist is more realistic. Clearly visualize what you want and share the desires with your family and friends. This will generate additional excitement and propel you forward.


To deliver a lump of coal or new toy to every deserving boy and girl within 10 to 12 hours can put on a little pressure on Mr. Claus, although deadlines do provide urgency. A little stress is good to help focus our intentions and energies toward completing a task and receiving a reward, financial incentive or a sincere “thank you” when your loved one tears open the present from underneath the Christmas tree.

Whether you believe in his Christmas Jelly-Belly-ness or not, you can admire and learn from his top-notch organizational skills. Keep your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. High achievers know precisely what they want, because they’ve written it down in simple, clear terms to keep them focused.

Write down your list of goals (and check it twice) to increase your chance of success. Make your SMART list today!

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