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Osakis Voices: Be smart about setting goals

"Everything the light touches, is our kingdom. A king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king."

I know there's a few of you out there that know exactly where that movie line is from, even with only the first few words. That message from The Lion King is pretty straightforward in saying what's in store for your future and how to get there. However, you and I don't exactly have things planned out quite as nicely as Simba, and we have to set up goals to reach what we want out of life.

That being said, setting goals is a common practice for all of us, and we do it without even thinking about it; meeting a deadline at work, making the preparations for a party on time, or even saying "no" to cookies all day. These are all easy (except the cookie one), day-to-day goals that do not need to necessarily be tracked or measured, but what if your goal is a bit larger than that? I'm thinking of something along the lines of buying a home, saving for a vacation or a new car, or even retiring.

Putting your best foot forward and setting up goals properly not only helps you achieve them, but it also gives you something to measure to see the progress, which really helps out with long-term goals. In setting up goals, I use the SMART approach. "SMART" is an acronym that makes sure your goal is accounted for properly. Let's dig in...

S — Specific. It's very important to set a specific goal. If your goal is to simply just run faster, that's not going to get you anywhere (from a goal standpoint, that is; physically, you'll be going somewhere). But saying that your goal is to run a sub 20 minute 5K at this year's Thanksgiving 5K Run by following a published running schedule, then you're on to something.

M — Measurable. Being vague with your goals isn't doing you any favors. Saying your goal is to be rich is not measurable. Saying you want to have $100,000 in savings by the end of 2025, is.

A — Attainable. Setting yourself up for failure is exactly what you should not be doing. If you're blind and your new goal is to be a catcher or a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, you're already in the wrong ball field. This doesn't mean you can't shoot for the stars (I hope you do!), but just know you'll have to put in some hard work to make it happen.

R — Realistic. This is one you just have to be truthful with yourself on. If your goal is to win an Olympic gold medal, but you just ate a bag of potato chips with dip, you may want to try and set a different goal, maybe to get yourself in shape, before worrying about scoring a gold medal.

T — Timely. Following a deadline is a must for developing a goal. If you did not have deadlines, the procrastination bone would just keep pushing the goal down the road.

As with any goals, it all comes down to YOU. You're the one that knows what you want, so once that's figured out, it's time to setup a pathway to get yourself there!

Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.