The “SMART” Way to Navigate Life’s Transitions

Change in life is inevitable – and so too are the periods of transition which big changes can bring. Whether you’re buying a home, having a child (or grandchild!), getting married, getting divorced, changing careers, or saying goodbye to a loved one – it is truly an understatement to say life is full of moving parts. As planners, we strive each and every day to ensure our clients are set up for success, no matter what changes they face.  So it is our most important responsibility to come alongside them as they navigate all of life’s biggest transitions.

While helping our clients through countless transitions, we have learned a few things about what it takes to successfully navigate a big transition. First and foremost, we know it’s “SMART” to do at a little planning in advance of life’s big events.

The best planning includes time spent developing an action plan to address the critical decision points throughout the transition. When we work with any of our clients who are anticipating a big change or significant life event, we employ a similar approach:

How to be “SMART” about an Important Transition

S     –   Specific

The more granular you can get with an action, the easier it is to keep track of what you have done already, and what you need to do next. Target something specific that needs to be done, and add more and more specific steps to be taken from there.

M  –   Measurable

Quantify what success will ultimately look like for you.  In addition, define some indicators of progress along the way. These measures of success should be meaningful and motivating.

A   –   Attainable

How realistic is your goal or the things you want to achieve? By setting attainable goals for yourself, you prevent frustration and failure as you chart a course for change.

R   –   Results-oriented

Is the action you are taking getting you closer to your main goal? Is it worthwhile? Am I the right person to take this action or do I need help (if so, from whom)? While your journey is important, you will benefit tremendously by devoting time to the steps that are most important and meaningful for achieving your ultimate goal.

T   –   Time-bound

By establishing a timetable for your transition, you provide yourself a roadmap for when each step in a transition needs to get done. Unfortunately, a period of transition can quickly become life’s “new normal.” Set a target date for completion…a deadline to focus on or strive for; you will achieve your goals sooner and shorten any periods of potential stress.

As in all of life’s endeavors, success favors the prepared – and with the myriad decision points involved in navigating a major life event, it pays to be SMART.