“Don't let anything stop you from reaching your goal.” - Henry David Thoreau
Each New Year we look at what we have accomplished over the past year and set goals to accomplish over the upcoming year. Many of us quickly set New Year's resolutions and work on them for two or three weeks and give up until Jan 1 of next year. So how do we set goals and accomplish those goals? It all starts with a plan. One method that has proved to be highly effective is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. This method of setting and achieving goals can be used in all areas of your life.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
Specific – An example of setting a goal to help your parents move to a retirement community, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home where they will be safe and secure, you will set a goal to move your parents to the right community by June of 2023. Being specific about the goal will inspire you to put in the effort and will produce better results. In this example, you will need to break this goal down to smaller tasks and set S.M.A.R.T. goals for each task. For example:
Find the community – You want to get ahead of any event that may happen suddenly by visiting communities when you are not in a panic to find a place immediately. See our “Assisted living Checklist” blog post for details on what to look for in assisted living.
Downsize - Go through your parent’s stuff and decide what to keep, declutter, and dispose of. See our “The 3-Ds of Downsizing” blog post for more tips on how to declutter your home.
Put the house on the market. If you do not have an agent, you will find an agent that works in your community by doing online research, talking to the Chamber of Commerce, and looking at signs posted in the neighborhood. If it is possible to move without selling the house first, it is much easier to move before your house is sold. This allows you to determine if the items you have decided to take will fit in the new place the way you envisioned. If not, you will be able to take those items back to the house to sell.
Have an estate sale – There are companies specifically designed to assist with estate sales. These companies have followers who are invited when a sale is scheduled. Many times, there will be an early private showing for the followers of the estate sale company, giving them first choice of the items for sale. These individuals are accustomed to paying a fair price without haggling. If you do not have enough items for a sale, the company will combine your items with others to attract more people and increase the profits for everyone involved. The money that is brought in by the followers and advertising done by the estate sale company will many times pay for the fee that they charge.
Measurable – You will set a goal that can measure your success as you are achieving your goal. These small successes give you motivation to continue your work to reach your goal.
Research and visit 1 retirement community, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home per week
Declutter 1 room per week
Find 1 real estate agent for your list per week
Research 1 Estate Sale company per week
Achievable – As you set these specific goals, be mindful to set goals you can achieve. For example, if your parents do not live locally, you may not be able to accomplish these items weekly. You would adjust to make the goals achievable.
Visit 3 retirement communities, assisted livings, memory cares, or nursing homes per month
Declutter 3 rooms in your parents' home per month
Research and interview 3 real estate agents per month
Research and interview 3 estate sale companies per month
Realistic – Similar to achievable, you will want your goals to be realistic. Just because it is possible to achieve the goal, does not mean that it is realistic. For example, is it realistic that you will be at your parent’s home once per month? Just because you can, does not mean that it is realistic that you will. You might adjust your goals to be:
Visit 3 retirement communities, assisted livings, memory cares, or nursing homes on the next visit to your parents' home
Declutter 3 rooms in your parents' home on your second visit
Research and interview 3 real estate agents on your third visit
Research and interview 3 estate sale companies on your fourth visit
Timely – your goals should have a specific timeline.
Research 1 community online per week, setting appointments to tour on your next visit.
Declutter 3 rooms during the second visit, giving your parents homework to declutter between visits.
Research 1 real estate agent per week – online, setting an appointment to interview on your third visit.
Research 1 estate sale company per week – online, setting appointments to interview on your fourth visit.
Sun Ridge Retirement Community is here to help.
For decades, we have helped seniors and their families make important decisions. We want to use our experience and knowledge to help you make choices that are best for you and your family. Periodically we develop helpful tools like those listed here. Sign up for our email list and we will send you these tools and future tools as they are developed.