Setting Your SMART Goals

inkcosmetics-anna castillo-motherhood-setting your smart goals-may-2013

I can be a bit of a worry wart.  At night I have a terrible time getting to sleep.  I stay up thinking about the things I did during the day, and let me tell you, everyday is never the same at work.  Sometimes I am prepping for a Subject (criminal suspect) interview and that alone causes restless nights.  I worry I may not ask the right question.  I worry maybe I won’t get them past rights advisement (all subjects are advised of their legal rights before questioning) or that they may not relate to me.  I treat them all the same…equals, no matter the crime!  I worry after an interview specifically whether or not I asked all the questions I needed to.  Did I get all the facts from them?  How could I have done better, etc.  This is just a portion of my worries.  I also think about my time as a mother.  Did I pay enough attention to Livi today?  Is our relationship growing for the better?  Will she continue to be open about her thoughts, feelings and daily activities?  Did I show her enough love?  Blah, blah, blah!

I am taking leave soon (word used for military vacation) in the local area just to spend time with Mom for Mother’s day weekend and I worry about work.  Did I do enough in my investigations? Provide enough investigative efficiency?  Again, blah, blah, and more blah.  Well, on my way back to the office with Livi to finish up some daily loose ends, one of my co-workers (who will remain nameless) stopped me and had a heart to heart about working in our agency.  Telling me I need to ensure I take care of myself and family.  That the work will always be there.  That there is not enough time in the day for all the things we need to get done, etc.  I completely understood where they were coming from but expectations are high.  I chose this job and I LOVE IT!  Specifically interviewing and interacting with all the people involved in the cases I am assigned.  Another is training.  I LOVE IT!  I am a firm believer that no man will be left.  If I see a new (rookie) agent needs assistance and asks for help, then I stop and make sure I assist where possible.  Now, doing this sometimes pushes me further behind but; One Team One Fight right?

Anyway, this conversation opened my eyes to resetting my career goals and I remember learning SMART.  What is this you ask?  Well, here is the breakdown:


Be clear about what you want to specifically achieve.  Ask yourself, why am I doing this?  What is the advantage?  Does the help our mission?  Try to complete the task in the specific time allotted or suspense date.


So true:  “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”   Measuring your progress will will help you stay focused and on track.


“YOU” should set your goals.  Don’t let your chain of command (if controllable) set them for you.  You should have a sense of ownership and pride in your projects, reports and/or goals.  This will assist in the overall success of achieving your suspense.


In order for you to be willing to work toward your goal they must be realistic.  Setting a goal with unrealistic expectations will lower your motivation and in turn cause a domino effect to occur.  A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labour of love.


This is where the suspense come into play.  Unless you work in an agency like mine, you cannot be expected to be on a task forever.   Set a time frame for them to be completed.  Practicing good time management will aid in a less stressful experience.

If you are unhappy or unsatisfied with your career set some or all of the goals below:

inkcosmetics-anna castillo-motherhood-setting your smart goals-may-2013Goal #1:  Sit with your boss and discuss their expectations for you during the course of the year (military calls this performance feedbacks).   Ensure you ask how you will be measured.  What results are they requesting?  How will it be tracked?  Be sure to inform them of your expectations for them as well.

Goal #2: Organizations like some kind of growth.  Try to identify & execute one thing you can do that exceeds #1 performance expectations.

Goal #3:  Sometimes you will need to count on your co-workers for assistance in achieving your goal.  I recommend you identify one person with whom to improve your working relationship.  Someone you can trust to take your projects while you are off enjoying some much-needed time.  Be sure to reciprocate the favor!

Goal #4:  Get more training.  Some organizations may be on a budget and cannot pay to outsource training.  Look for places that offer items for free.  Learning new skill sets can increase $$$$$.

Goal #5:  Communicate!  Communication is key for mission success!  Update your chain of command or leadership on what you are doing or what goals you completed.  This is key if you have areas where you might need their backup.

Start this by trying some of these tips this week and do it weekly.  A few repetitions and this will become a comfortable habit.

We wish you all the success in the world!

XOXO Besos,

Anna Castillo

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