Smart Habits For Success – From Setbacks

You’ve heard of smart cars, smart homes and smart phones. Objects that can perform many different functions automatically. But now I’d like to introduce you to what I call smart habits of success. These actions help take you automatically to higher achievements, accomplishments and success.

Experts say it takes 21 to 31 days to develop a habit. Here’s the smart habits of success in this new economy.

I. Persistence

A persistent attitude is a trait you can be develop and strengthen, just like a muscle.

Here’s simple habits that will help you develop persistence:

1. Practice being persistent in the things you do each day.

2. Refuse to quit at the first signs of defeat or opposition toward small goals. Get in the habit of trying one more time.

3. Face each temporary defeat, obstacle or setback with persistence. The more you do that the easier it will be to persist and the harder it will be to quit.

This is the quality that winners have, especially the one’s who win against the odds. Losers do the opposite, they find it easy to quit and hard to persist or finish.

II. Ability To Fail Constructively

A common trait most people who find success have is their ability to fail constructively. The difference between failure and success comes in your ability to learn from your failures, mistakes and setbacks. The average and below average fail to learn from their mistakes or failures and continue to repeat them.

Everyone fails at some point. That’s why it’s vital to know how to face failures constructively. Learning how to face failures successfully and use them for your benefit is essential for success. To fail constructively ask yourself the following self-questions after experiencing a failure or setbacks.

Ask the… Who, What, Where, When, Why, How questions.

For example:

A. Who – did I fail?

B. What – should I have done?

C. When – should I have done it?

D. Where – should I have done it?

E. Why – did I do what I did?

F. How – can I do better next time?

With every failure you encounter ask and answer these self questions (as a minimum). They’ll give you the answers needed to improve your future efforts and turn your failures into success.

III. Ability To Shake Discouragement

Shaking discouragement is the small but important detail you must have to achieve success in life. The person who can shake discouragement, failure and setbacks, pick themselves up and persist toward their goal is a winner.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the failures in life who experience discouragement. By reading biographies of the famous and successful you’ll find most had one thing in common. Know what? They all had obstacles, problems and setbacks along the way that could have caused discouragement. However, they were able to shake discouragement and continue toward their goals until they achieved them.

Vital Tips To Help You Shake Discouragement

1. Have a Specific Goal!

Have something to look forward to. That’s important to help keep discouragement at arm’s length. When you’re busy you don’t have time for discouragement.

Goal oriented people tend to shake discouragement easier, because their mind is kept busy.

2. Learn From Examples of Inspiring People In Your Life!

Most successful achievers can name other people who inspired them mentally and emotionally. For example, a relative, friend, acquaintance, teacher, boss, pastor, author, speaker etc.

Observe and learn what it is about them that’s inspiring or uplifting to you. Is it their enthusiasm? Determination? Patience?

Next practice doing them at every opportunity. For example, if it’s enthusiasm you identify as the inspiring trait, practice being enthusiastic. Practice makes improvement.

3. Read Inspiring Stories!

Another effective way to learn from the examples of inspiring people is to read their stories. You can do this through books, magazines, articles or watching them on television.

People who overcome tough odds, problems and setbacks have powerful ways to motivate themselves.

By reading how others have overcome problems and achieved victory gives us the feeling of ” if they can overcome their problems, so can I!”

These are the smart habits to help you achieve and maintain success. Work at them until they become a habit. You’ll discover they will pay you rich rewards for the small effort invested. Now that’s smart!

Inspiration to Make Your Dreams Reality Using SMART Goals

Do you have big plans for 2011? What do you want to accomplish? 10K increase in salary. What about losing ten pounds before next spring? It does not matter what you would like to achieve, you must have structure to keep you going in the right direction.

SMART is an acronym for the five characteristics used to set goals.
• Specific: When goals are specific you know exactly what is expected, when, and how much. Because the goals are detailed, you can easily measure your growth towards completing your goal.

• Measurable: It is easy for you to stay motivated to complete your goals when you have milestones to indicate their progress. What good is a goal that you can’t measure? If your goals are not measurable, you never know whether you are making progress toward their successful completion.

• Attainable: Goals that are set too high or too low become meaningless, and you naturally get frustrated and begin to lose focus or ignore all together. Achievable goals should not be too easy or out of reach.

• Relevant: Realistic means that you have the resources to get it done. The achievement of a realistic objective requires resources, such as, people, equipment, money, skills, etc, etc.

• Time-bound: Goals should have a start date, end date, and milestones into between. Setting a deadline is the key to keeping the momentum going. Goals without deadlines or schedules for completion can become derailed by the day-to-day drama that is just life.
A good example of a situation that calls for SMART Goals would be to get in better shape. You need to define the who, what, when, where, how and why.


Who: Just you

What: Lose 30lbs

When: 6 months

Where: At home and gym required

Why: Doctors orders and to just get into better shape

How: workout 3 times a week for 2 hours

Measure your progress weekly to make sure you are on target. This also helps to keep you motivated.

Can you lose 30lbs in 6 months? That would mean 5lbs every month. Based on your weekly progress is this attainable?

Do you have the time to make the goals realistic? Do you have the resources at home to work out? Will the gym be affordable?

Milestones at fixed intervals means every month you need to lose at least 5lbs. Will your timeframe be every week you weigh in on a scale?

The key to SMART is to remember that it is your life, so careful planning will keep you aligned with your goals to get what you want in a timely manner. 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years from now what should you accomplish? Once you know what you want to do with yourself, you are ready to create some goals. Start with your short-term objectives such as daily, weekly, and monthly targets that will move you toward your long-term objectives.

We all have dreams. Can you accomplish your dreams by using SMART Goals? Maybe you are creating goals just without any clear process. Being inspired to try smart goals is the first step. As you accomplish your goals, your motivation and inspiration should increase. Yes!

Coming soon, I will layout my plans for 2011 using SMART Goals.

Curtis Valentine (aka) Mr. MakingUsmile

Setting Smart Goals – How to Set Yourself Up for Success

As a leader, you’re used to setting goals. But are the goals you’re setting really as powerful as they could be?

Goals help us to cut through the clutter of a crowded mind and keep our thoughts on the things that matter most. They help us focus. To be effective, you can’t just set random goals the way many people do – long lists of wishes that pop up at random and eventually fall away. You can be smarter than that with your goals. Wiser. This article shows you how.

In the business world, we have been trained to set SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-Oriented
  • Realistic and
  • Time-Bound.

There’s value in that. “SMART” goals have helped many people move from vague unattainable goals to clear, specific action. You might want to use this standard to transform your commitments into powerful goals.

Here are some examples of SMART goals that meet all of these criteria. This first example shows how you might use a smart goal at work.

  1. Schedule (an action-oriented verb) team-building and strategic planning off-site (specific activities) by end of January (a time-bound date that is realistic and measurable).
  2. You can also use smart goals to help integrate your work and home lives to find better balance:
  3. Leave work (a specific, action-oriented verb) by 6:00 p.m. three times a week (a time-bound commitment that is realistic and measurable).
  4. Smart goals are just as helpful in your personal life.
  5. Go on a date with my wife (a specific, action-oriented verb) at least twice a month (a time-bound commitment that is realistic and measurable).

All of these goals illustrate how the SMART criteria get you to be very concrete about your goals, which makes them easier to attain.

The problem with SMART thinking is that it has a tendency to limit instead of inspire. SMART goals can work against you if:

  • You neglect to write them and keep them fresh.
  • They’re isolated from other important parts of your life.
  • They conflict or compete.
  • They lack spirit and conviction.

To avoid these pitfalls, make sure your goals are both SMART and WISE.

WISE Goals

‘WISE’ stands for:

  • Written,
  • Integrated
  • Synergistic
  • Expansive

Using these criteria to improve your goals will transform them into a more powerful approach.


The “W” in “WISE” stands for “written.” Writing your goals is a critical step – and one many people miss. Writing forces you to be clear in your thinking. It allows you to look at your plans with objectivity. It instills commitment and puts your thoughts in a durable form you can revisit again and again.


The “I” in “WISE” stands for “integrated.” Integrating your ideas means bringing them together in the same place so you can look at them all at once. Allow your personal and professional lives to intermingle. It’s okay if right under “increase profit share” you have “get more rest.” They both improve your quality of life. They both contribute to your definition of success. You get to have it all. There are no rules. You make it up.


The “S” in “WISE” means “synergistic.” Whereas integrating your goals means bringing them together, synergizing means making them work together. Synergy happens when one idea advances another. Keeping a vision of what you want in mind when you think about your goals will help create that synergy. You really lose something when you decouple your goals from your vision; they become just another prioritized list.

The most powerful and peaceful way to think about your efforts is to see how they can coalesce into one complete vision for your life.


The “E” in WISE stands for “expansive.” Think big. Your goals should inspire you to stay on the path to your dreams, not lock you into a pattern of ticking off bite-sized action items from here to retirement.

This may be the biggest differentiator between SMART and WISE thinking. Spending too much time and energy boxing your objectives into a hard and fast formula can squeeze the life right out of them. Some examples:

SMART GOAL- Schedule team-building and strategic planning off-site by end of January

WISE GOAL -Transform my staff into a team of inspired, empowered partners

SMART GOAL – Leave work by 6:00 p.m. three times a week, organize my office and work with my assistant to find new planning system within one month from today

WISE GOAL – Feel in control of my life

SMART GOAL – Go on a date with my wife at least twice a month and tell her why I appreciate her at least once a day starting August 3rd

WISE GOAL – Fall in love again

The best goals are both “smart” and “wise.” SMART thinking gives your goals specificity. WISE thinking gives them heart.

Every good leader has goals. Your goals will help you stay on track to achieving your bigger vision day after day, and the “SMARTer” they are, the more productive you’ll be. However, make sure that your goals are also WISE enough to inspire you, excite you, and move you in new and exciting ways. You will find you don’t just meet your goals, you’ll actually be bettered by them.