November 2018 SMART Goals – Consolidating, Learning and Balance

November 2018 SMART Goals – Consolidating, Learning and Balance

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I’ve never written one of these posts before on my blog, even though I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a list of goals/plans written down – it is achieving your goals that’s the tricky thing.  But, I thought I’d start doing writing my SMART Goals every month on my blog, as it will help me to see what I’ve achieved over the month, the quarter and going into 2019.  It also makes goals more real, realistic and accountable if they are shared with colleagues, friends and family.  It also helps me to think of some words which sum up what I want to achieve – Learning, Consolidating and Balance. 

postcards a black wooden background, scattered around one says Dream Big, another 'Live Simply, Be Grateful, Give Love, Laugh Lots', another a 1-10 list on a grey background, A large letter B card, four orange/yellow roses and a pair black garden snipper sissors

Dream Big, Live Simply, Be Grateful, Give Love, Laugh Lots – and have a list 😉 – and flowers in your life

I’ve been thinking over the last year or so about what really matters to me.  The affirmations in the picture I took for the header sum this up too.

I took this photo at the BlogOn conference in Manchester in September.  It was part of a photography session with Lucy from ‘Captured by Lucy’ who as well as being a very talented writer and photographer sells her own very high-quality backdrops for photos – I didn’t take this photo on an old wooden painted floor – it’s vinyl.

We were practising doing flatlay and styled photography. Lucy has a huge range of props too so I was able to find some postcards reflecting my thoughts and aspirations.  I learnt so much from Lucy, and yes I bought a backdrop…

BlogOn Conference:  You can find out more about BlogOn Conferences, register for the next conference on 4 May 2019. The website is a mine of useful information for bloggers too:

How to Set Goals

I’ve worked as a manager in marketing, communications and event management for about 20 years, I know plenty about setting goals and SMART objectives. I’ve also worked with health psychologists for about 15 years, so know a fair amount about behaviour change too. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt over the years: 

  • It is important to articulate/write down and monitor your progress – whatever it is you want to do. In many ways, the internet and apps make this much easier than in the past – STRAVA, food intake apps, online diaries, meditation apps like CALM.
  • The trick is finding what works for you, sometimes it is using the alarms in your phone, other times its writing things down or planning an activity rather than just hoping it will happen.   
  • It is really important to understand what the ‘Barriers’ to you doing something or not doing something – do you get overwhelmed? Is it a lack of practical knowledge of a task? e.g. someone telling me to knit them a scarf wouldn’t happen as I can’t knit, but I could learn to knit.

So what is it YOU need to LEARN? What TRIPS YOU UP with your goals? WHY do you procrastinate?  WHAT DO YOU DO INSTEAD of what you should be doing?

Goal focus

So to give yourself  the best chance of success and to prevent possible relapse, your goals should:

  • Represent clear plans or concrete actions and not wishful thinking. I wish I spent less time on social media vs. I will only check my social media once a day in the evening.
  • Incorporate your interests. Eating healthier is much more achievable if you’re cooking with a friend, or if you listen to music, or a podcast while you’re preparing the food.

Setting SMART Goals

If you’ve ever been on any marketing, project management or planning courses they’ll have mentioned SMART objectives.   SMART goals are:

  • Specific – your goal should say what you want to achieve. For example,  
    I shall go for a walk for an hour every day NOT I’ll walk more.
  • Measurable – make sure you can verify your goal, this usually involved writing down when you’ve done what you’re supposed to be doing – monitor what you’ve achieved.  This could be with an app but paper and pen is just as good.  
    For example. I’ll eat more vegetable versus I shall include two types of vegetables in each evening meal and try one new vegetable each week.
  • ActionableIs it something that is within your control?
    However, the actionable part REALLY means… JUST DO IT!
    For example: Be more appreciative vs. Tell people you encounter if they’ve given good customer service
    Agreed is often added to actionable, especially in a work environment, who do you need to agree to your goal? For example, agreeing with your manager that you’ll go on a particular training course.  
  • Realistic – you shouldn’t make your goal too easy to achieve, but it should be achievable.  
    For example, I’ll never eat chocolate again vs. I will only eat one high-quality chocolate bar once a week as a special treat.
    For example, I’ll be a millionaire by this time next year (it’s not SMART if you’ve got no idea how this will happen?)
  • Time-bound – What is the deadline or timeline for your goal? This helps you stay motivated.  But also being clear about the timeline for the goal is important as it means you’ve understood the processes needed to get to the ‘finish’.
    For example, I’ll save a deposit for a house versus I’ll transfer all the money remaining in my bank account at the end of the month into a high-interest savings account.  
    Here’s a work example: you need to check speakers availability for an event before deciding on a date/booking a venue.
    Deadlines are part of timeliness too
    It is important to set a deadline for your goal but to maintain motivation, but it has to be practical.  Long-term goals should have shorter-term milestones attached to them as part of the plan.

Tracking and monitoring Your SMART Goals

You should track your goals frequently to identify progress and any potential issues that might slow you down or even stop you.

I have a diary/journal already in which I note daily activities – use alarms on my phone, schedule activities.  But I know one of my main problems is having 97 different things going on at the same time so I know I need to FOCUS on the activities that help my employment situation and my health/wellbeing.  

Also, I need to step back from some activities that arn’t helping my health and wellbeing – so I just need to say NO.


So what are my SMART goals for November 2018:

1. In the Garden:

  • Plant the daffodil and tulip bulbs in the terracotta pots by end of weekend – done
  • Cut back the buddleia, hypericum and privet – done 
  • Empty and compost the hanging baskets. 
  • Dig up the dahlia tubers and put in paper bags in the garage (labelled!)
  • Plant up winter hanging baskets by end of November.

2. Photography:

a. Lensbaby Learning:

I have a new lens called a Lensbaby Trio 28 which has very unusual dreamy effects.  It’s a lens with three different lenses within the main lens. I keep forgetting to take a photo of the lens on a camera. It’s a fully manual lens and you use the aperture and focus to take the photo. 

  • Twist gives you a large sharp central area of focus surrounded by twisty, swirling effect (called bokeh)
  • Velvet has a sharp  central area of focus with delicate glow/blur from edge-to-edge – the photos look like impressionist paintings
  • Sweet creates a sharp central sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur to the edge of the frame.

Have a look Lensbaby’s website to get a better idea of what really experienced photographers can do with Lensbaby lenses.

My Goal: I want to be taking better photographs with this lens by the end of November. I’ve been advised by an experienced photographer to take photos in good light/sunny day and practise, practise, practise!

  • Spend two days on photographing locality in Monton, Worsley Woods, Bridgewater Canal taking photos using Lensbaby Trio

Here are three photographs I took yesterday of verbena and grasses on Oxford Road Manchester which show the different effects – I am very pleased with them.

purple verbena and grasses on Oxford Road, Manchester - 31 10 2018 using lensbaby trio 28 sweet

purple verbena and grasses on Oxford Road, Manchester – 31 10 2018 using lensbaby trio 28 sweet

purple verbena and grasses Oxford Road, Manchester 31-10-2018 lensbaby-trio-28-with swirling effect around edf of the frame

Purple verbena with grasses on Oxford Road, Manchester 31-10-2018 using lensbaby trio 28 twist

Purple verbena and grasses - Oxford Road, Manchester 31-10-2018 lensbaby trio 28 velvet

Purple verbena and grasses Oxford Road, Manchester 31-10-2018 using lensbaby- trio 28 velvet effect

Reminder: these photos are my copyright and not to be used without permission

b.Standard DSLR:

  • Take 3 different styles of  Christmas/winter shots for use on the blog – dependant on weather.
  • Do one flat lay Christmas styling photoshoot and Canva edits for SM.

c. Social media/ Editing software:

I couldn’t decide whether to include this in the blog section but here will do.

  • Prepare three social media template photos for use in November/December – e.g. leaves/woodland, autumn food, snow scenes 😉
  • Social Media – Pinterest – read up on rich pins/prepare some Canva templates. 
  • Add the Canva templates to my three most popular blog posts in the last quarter by end of November – and pin etc via schedulers.

3. On the blog:


  • Write and photograph a Six on Saturday and In a Vase on Monday every week – contribute and promote link ups on Social Media
  • Once a week: write a blog post on ‘a walk around…’ or ‘visiting…’ or ‘a review of…’
  • Once a week: write a blog post on a business/photography topic
  • Once a month: write a blog post about crafting
  • Once in the month: write a blog post on ‘living with osteoarthritis’


  • Identify/Investigate/price a new theme: key issue – needs to showcase my photography well


  • Reply to comments promptly.
  • Continue to engage on SM/using schedulers.
  • Be a supportive and helpful blogger in blogging groups – e.g. give advice promptly.

4. Health and wellbeing:

  • Continue to walk for at least one hour a day every day (in spite of the weather).
  • Attend at one (and preferably two yoga classes a week) 
  • schedule following yoga online video with my husband once a week. BTW We go to yoga together.
  • Attend Slimming world meetings every week (oops!).

5. Working Life:

  • Clarify working situations (A) and (B): have a plan in place/agreed for the next three months – outline of working arrangements for 2019 in discussion/preferably confirmed by end of November. Note: part of this is out of my control.
  • Follow up on networking connections – confirm the 4 meetings in progress currently, agree on next steps and action points.

Note: I have written a detailed plan for the two main areas of work I’m focusing at the moment but it’s not something I want to discuss on my blog at the moment – as pitching is involved 😉

6. Work/Life Balance and Friendship:

  • Invite three people to next Cottonopolis WI meeting in December (note: I’ve already invited people to November meeting)
  • attend Eccles Cakes WI Party on 21 November.
  • Confirm meet up with Monton posse for December – agree date/time/venue by 20 November.
  • Finalise meet up with RJ/AM 
  • Christmas plans: discuss options with my husband/family – delegate food planning to my wonderful husband.
  • One ‘date’ night a week with my husband – In fact, most of this is scheduled in for November as we are going to gigs/theatre in Nov/Dec and Jan – but we need to plan for 2019.


Looking back over these – I think I need to be more time-bound/give myself deadlines – but this is all achievable in the month of November. Some of the photography goals are weather dependent but that’s not in my control.


I’ve joined a few blogging facebook groups and found some useful linkups and support, so I’m joining up with an existing LInky – as this will also help me be accountable to myself and others.

I’m taking part in the  Monthly Goals (and updates!) Linky hosted by Charlotte over at , Emma at and Claire at


Do you set goals? Do you use SMART goals? What do you have as a goal for November? Or do you go with the flow? 

Photographers: Do you use any lens effects? Have you used lensbaby lenses?  

Carpe Diem,

love Bec xxx xxx






  1. 01/11/2018 / 8:43 pm

    I love the vinyl backdrop you used – I actually am researching a couple at the moment to buy, so I will have to take a look at Lucy’s. I’m still so jealous of anyone that gets to go to a Blogging conference as I so badly want to give one a go. I think I’m going to start saving now for next year’s BlogHer – maybe that can be one of my new goals.
    The number of goals you have set for yourself is really impressive. I worry that I always set goals – but because they aren’t SMART goals – there’s no accountability and sometimes they can just drift along. Thank you for all the tips! Charlie xo

    • 01/11/2018 / 9:19 pm

      The vinyls are well worth the money (thick but you c an still roll them up) – I think Lucy ships worldwide too. I’ve used the using my white wood vinyl often – and I’ve got a shoe shot on my insta using a different vinyl (polished metal with gold flecks).
      I hope you get to a blogging conference sometime – I’ve learnt so much from the two I’ve been to – they’re only three miles down the road so easy for me. Love Bec 🙂

  2. 02/11/2018 / 7:14 am

    Gosh these are so specific! I’m frustratingly a Rebel (check out 4 tendacies) so setting goals like this doesn’t work for me. I admire you!

  3. 02/11/2018 / 9:38 am

    I love the effect of the Trio Lensbaby. This is good that you already thinking of the goals for the next year too. Frankl, next year scares me and I’m doing the best I can to take care as much as possible this year.

  4. Money Freak
    02/11/2018 / 1:38 pm

    Your photos are beautiful. I love the way you are breaking down your goals and making them SMART. Thanks fr joining in the linky!

    • 03/11/2018 / 10:34 am

      Thank you – I’m loving the new lens 🙂 I have to make the goals really specific otherwise I won’t do them.

  5. 02/11/2018 / 2:22 pm

    SMART is really effective for goal setting and achieving! I love how you set goals for blog gardening health etc All the very best in achieving them!

  6. Pati Robins
    03/11/2018 / 8:29 am

    i do love the idea of breaking down your goals – it is actually a very good set up to achieve your goals hoever big or small

  7. 03/11/2018 / 10:35 am

    Oh wow, that’s a lot of goals! I always find it helpful to have something to work towards and a clear vision though. I need to start setting some short term and long term goals for myself too.

  8. 03/11/2018 / 12:18 pm

    Your photos are looking good hun! I love setting goals and challenges, super important to write them down and try to stick to them or at least make steady progress towards them xx

    • 03/11/2018 / 12:20 pm

      Thank you – I’m pleased with the photos- it’s a lovely camera lens. Yes writing specific goals really helps me.

  9. Thoroughly Modern Grandma
    03/11/2018 / 5:52 pm

    SMART goals remind me of when I was working for Transport for London. Each April I sat down with my team and we agreed on our individual and team goals for the coming year. It definitely helps to have clear goals that you can measure yourself against. And, photography goals sound like fun.

  10. 03/11/2018 / 11:16 pm

    I love Lucy’s backdrops! I bought a couple at Blogtacular earlier this year, and am going to put a couple more on my Xmas wish list.

  11. 04/11/2018 / 8:54 am

    I love how you’re breaking down your goals, I really need to do this also. I struggle with lists!

  12. Wendy
    04/11/2018 / 9:37 am

    Wow!! So so sooo many goals!! I hope you smash them all! I really like the smart method of verifying goals, I’ve used it for my blog before and it’s really effective xx

  13. 04/11/2018 / 1:21 pm

    I’m not very good at setting goals, but I like the way you have set it out and made it easier to focus on what your goals are and how to achieve them. I love photography and learning how to get those photos too, good luck with learning and have fun!

  14. 04/11/2018 / 9:25 pm

    I’ve not seen these vinyl backdrops before. They look fantastic! What did you made of them? Were they quite easy to use would you say? We use SMART goals at work, so I have to say that I wouldn’t usually set them for myself at home. You do have some great goals there, and it will be interesting to see how you get on.

    • 05/11/2018 / 11:44 am

      they’re really excellent backdrops on thick vinyl and roll up in a tube (they come in a tube). v easy to use I’m about to order another one 🙂 People have asked me where I took the photos as they’re so realistic.
      I need to be specific about my goals otherwise they don’t happen…

  15. Katja Knox
    05/11/2018 / 4:53 pm

    Oh wow, that’s a lot of goals girl – but I know you can do it. I always find writing them down makes me commit to them more… Best of luck and I’ll check back to see how you’re getting on 🙂
    Katja xxx

  16. ruthcarys
    09/11/2018 / 6:22 pm

    Lots of goals there lovely, I have so much on at the moment and have learnt over the last few months that I definitely need to have realistic goals! Good luck with them all x

  17. Siobhan McLoughlin
    12/11/2018 / 5:05 pm

    What a collection of goals you have given yourself. I may have to look into setting myself some SMART goals to help myself be more proactive! x

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