Why My 2016 Solo Law Practice Goals Won’t Be SMART

By Joleena Louis - December 2, 2015
Why My 2016 Solo Law Practice Goals Won’t Be SMART

In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, Joleena Louis shares why she won’t be using the SMART system to create 2016 goals for her solo law practice.  

As we get closer to the New Year, we will be inundated with articles and news stories about setting goals for 2016. And most of that advice will tell you to make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. While the SMART system is a good way to set concrete goals, it does not work for me.

While the SMART system is a good way to set concrete goals, it does not work for me. Click To Tweet

Sticking with the “attainable” isn’t “realistic” for me.

Keeping my solo law practice goals specific, measurable and timely makes sense to me, but my hesitation lies in “attainable” and “realistic.” I am an optimistic person by nature and it’s extremely difficult for me to place limits on myself.

Throughout my life, I have been told that many of my goals and dreams were unattainable or unrealistic, including being the first in my family to earn an advanced degree, moving from Ohio to New York where I did not know a single person, and even starting my own solo law practice. In high school, a trusted counselor– who also happened to teach an AP class where I was the top student– told me people like me didn’t go to law school and I needed to choose a more “realistic” career.  If I limited myself to things that were “attainable,” I wouldn’t be where I am today.

If I limited myself to things that were “attainable,” I wouldn’t be where I am today. Click To Tweet

One of my solo law practice goals in 2015, which will also be a 2016 goal, was to increase my profits by 50 percent. To some, this goal seemed very ambitious, but I still believe it’s quite attainable. This year I was distracted by some personal issues and didn’t put forth the full effort to reach this goal; however, I did increase profits by 35 percent and I am very proud of that.

I’d rather focus on being specific and measurable with a timeframe.

I agree that ensuring goals are specific, measurable and timely is very helpful to actually achieving those goals. A specific goal is more likely to be accomplished than a general one because the more specific you are, the easier it is to know when the goal is reached. If your goals are measurable and time-sensitive, then you will be more likely to keep yourself on track throughout the year. I also like to break my goals down into actionable steps, sort of like mini goals to achieve the big one.  I try to find small things I can do on a weekly basis to get me closer to my goals for the year.

In addition to increasing my solo law practice profits by 50 percent, my goals for 2016 include updating my blog and website and improving my writing, speaking and trial technique. Over the next few weeks, I will share my action plans for achieving these goals.
Organize for Success

About Joleena Louis

Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a firm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial firm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Financial District location. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew... explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law firm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur. Follow Joleena on Twitter.

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