Posts From Julie

Future Me | Setting SMART Goals

"Ideas without action aren't ideas. They're regrets”

This week’s quote is “Ideas without action aren’t ideas. They’re regrets” by Steve Jobs. When you think about it, many people say they have an idea and do nothing about making the idea a reality, and later they regret that they didn’t.

I work with people of all ages and abilities, particularly those pursuing a new career or enhancing their existing one. One of the challenges that many say they have is putting a resumé together or not applying for a promotion because they’re not confident to write a professional memo, report, or proposal. Others haven’t applied to do a course because it means they have to type an assessment, and they don’t know how to present a document. When we drill down further, it’s using basic word processing software that is a problem, and this creates fear and in many cases, prevents them from moving any further. Some people are concerned about making a document look professional. This can include designing a resumé, that will enable them to apply for a job or losing marks for not presenting an assessment in a required format. Not knowing how to do this actually prevents a person from starting or progressing.

Knowing how to use some of the tools available on your computer can provide the confidence to take the next step towards making a dream a reality. Some of the basics of Word include the ability to:

  • insert headers, footers, and page numbers;
  • create an auto table of contents;
  • add images and label them correctly;
  • creating diagrams such as flow charts and hierarchy charts

It may sound like a small step, but knowing how to create a document may open up the opportunity for a new job. It can also help to complete a course of study with less stress, save you time or money because you’ve not had to ask someone else to do it.

If you have an idea to do anything, start, and that can be as simple as writing down a list of materials you need or finding out if there are any essential qualifications. Some careers do not require qualifications. Many artists haven’t been to art school, there are fashion designers who haven’t attended a fashion school.

Check whether you have the foundation skills for Microsoft Word using my checklist.

The most successful entrepreneurs started by simply having a go. Steve Jobs himself did not graduate from university, and not having a degree did not stop him from reaching his goals.

However, if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, then qualifications are essential. Many successful doctors and lawyers, and other professionals entered university through alternative pathways, in other words not directly from school. Some completed university preparation programs, others completed vocational certificates or diplomas and transferred to higher education. They also did not necessarily start a degree straight from school, some left school and completed a trade and later decided to pursue a dream career. Keiran Davis left school in Year 11, became a tradesman, and then changed careers and enrolled at the University of Wollongong to study medicine. In this case, the start was to talk to an expert about various pathways and what foundation skills would be necessary.

Let’s imagine your dream is to produce a range of clothing that you designed. Some people design and make clothes and start by selling them at market stalls, and create special outfits for people on request. Many entrepreneurs started businesses in their kitchens or garages. Examples include The Hedgehog Hollow, Walt Disney’s Disney Brothers Studio, as well as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with Apple.

J.K Rowling is another example of someone who pursued her passion. Interestingly, the word ‘passion’ originally meant suffering. J.K Rowling suffered rejection after rejection for her first novel “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. Finally, her book was accepted, and I’m sure J.K Rowling is pleased that she pursued her dream, and did not give up. If she hadn’t actively pursued her idea of writing a book and publishing it, no doubt she would have regretted her lack of action.

Goals are dreams with a deadline

When I talk about dreams or goals, I’m not necessarily limiting goals to career goals. For example, many people say, “I want to lose weight”, “I want more money”, “I want a house”, “I want to go on holiday”, but these are all vague dreams. We need to be more specific. For example, if one of your goals is to lose weight, you need to set realistic and healthy weight goals related to your height, size, lifestyle, and current health. A medical check is also useful.

Let’s use the SMART acronym to try and be more specific about our goals. If we use weight loss as an example, we can see what I mean:

  • S = Specific – I want to lose 10 kilograms in six months
  • M = Measurable – You can see what you weigh on Day 1 and each week compare Day 1 to the current day.
  • A = Attainable – A realistic weight loss is approximately 0.5 kilos to 1 kilo a week, depending on what size you start with, so 10kg in six months is attainable. A doctor should be consulted to determine what is an attainable weight loss.
  • R = Relevant/Results-focused – Aim to lose 10 kilos in six months
  • T = Time-bound – The deadline helps to keep you focused, and adds to the accountability of the goal.

You can do this for each of the goals you have set. Notice the word ‘relevant’ in SMART, sometimes realistic or results-focused is used here rather than realistic. Realistic doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stretch yourself, but it does mean that you shouldn’t set goals that are so far fetched that it would not be possible, safe, or healthy to do so. For example, if you try to lose 4 kilos a week, that would be unhealthy. Trying to save $300.00 a week if you earn $500 a week is not realistic for most people unless they live at home and are supported by their parents. However, saving $50.00 a week for a year may be achievable, which would result in $2,600.00, this is far more achievable. On weeks that you can save more, then you can save more.

If you want to go to a particular place for a holiday, do some research and find out what it will actually cost. Consider the following:

A Passport

You can save money by not waiting until the last minute, and it’s essential to allow time for the application to be processed.


Yes, some visas can be obtained while you’re overseas, but for others, this is not an option, and if it is an option, there could be massive queues. You could waste a day or more of your holiday queuing for a visa, which is fine if you have unlimited time. Don’t forget visas can cost, so you need to budget for this, especially if you are entering multiple countries.


Not every country requires vaccinations, but in some instances, it is highly recommended. It is not always possible to have the vaccination at the last minute. Additionally, for some vaccinations, you need to have a series of injections, and these need to be paced out. They need time to be absorbed and active to be useful.


there are so many options but do check some of the specials offered by individual agents. An example of this is when I booked an apartment through an agent but discovered I had to pay $25 a day extra for limited internet access and a lot more for a better internet package. Whereas, if I had booked with the airline or directly with the hotel, the internet was unlimited and included in the price. This meant that I not only paid more to have Internet access, I also couldn’t credit any points towards my airline frequent flyer membership. It pays to do your homework.


Are there days or times when costs are lower? Do you have time to take longer stop-overs, or change airlines, which can sometimes save money? Or is there a faster way to arrive at your destination? You may pay $100 or $150 more, but be able to spend more time at the destination. You can even save hundreds of dollars by travelling during off-peak times.


Are you looking at a limousine, or a bus transfer, can a friend pick you up from the airport? Again, this can result in savings in time or money, depending on your priority.

Daily Meal Budget

There might be breakfast packages included with the accommodation or included in the bus tour you take. Cruises may include all meals and even some snacks, depending on the cruise line, and the duration of the cruise. Do your research.

Excursions and sight-seeing

What are you looking at seeing and how long does it take to get there? For example, to visit the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, you can book with a tour, or you can catch the early morning bus from Waikiki and queue up when you arrive. You have to arrive very early because there are limits on how many can visit the memorial on a given day.

Please note, this list above does not include everything you need to consider. The main idea is that you need to do your research well. Ask various people who have been there. Find out if the travel agent has been to the location you are asking about. Look at government websites for information about vaccinations, visas, travel restrictions, and even currency and weather, as well as government tourism information sites.

It starts with an idea, but then we have to take action.

To help you to set a plan, I’ve added some planning sheets. You can download and print out the PDF document; there’s one for each goal. Try limiting your goals to ten and choose some short term and long term goals. That way, you can tick off some short term goals as you work towards longer-term goals, which can provide a sense of accomplishment.

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