I always grew up with the idea of setting SMART goals… I’m sure most of you have also grown up with this goal setting mentality and whilst some would argue it’s the best foundation to use when setting goals, I am going to tell you why I think making goals using the SMART method is a waste of your time and is killing your dreams.
Before I get started on that though, if you haven’t heard of a SMART goal before, you’ll want to know what one is and looks like.
The principles of SMART goals are as followed:
Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely
Specific: The idea that you have a greater chance of accomplishing something when it is specific as opposed to being general. This is often split into the 6 “W” questions.
*Who: Who’s involved?
*What: What is the goal?
*Where: Is there a location involved?
*When: How long are you giving yourself?
*Which: Are there any constraints or requirements?
*Why: We’ve spoken about your “Why” on another post. See Do you know your WHY? for detailed information, but basically, what is your reasons, the purpose or accomplishments to achieving your goal?
We’ll use the example of this would be a general goal: “Lose weight”
A specific goal would look like “Join a local gym, workout 2 days a week and lose this much weight per week”
Measurable – Set concrete criteria so you can measure your progress to achieving your goals.
By measuring your progress, you ensure you stay on track & this helps you stay accountable and reach your target dates, gives you loads of good emotional feelings and keeps you driven to reach the goal.
Attainable – You’ll start to find ways your goals can come true the minute you find out what you WHY is. For more information, follow this link
When you work out what is important to you, you’ll naturally figure out ways to make it all work. Everything changes from your mindset & attitude, you develop skills and the capabilities to reach them. Previous obstacles are now opportunities that can help you hit your targets and reach your goals.
When you plan your steps carefully and establish your time frame, you can attain any goal you desire. Goals that have seemed unreachable are now becoming more and more attainable for you. It’s not your goals shredding down but you growing and developing into the person you need to be to reach them. Your self-image changes and you start to see yourself as worthy to reach the goals. You develop traits and a personality to follow that helps you on your path.
Realistic– I don’t like this whole “Set realistic goals or you’ll never achieve them”
If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.
I’m not saying you should be competing with other people for setting goals…. But if you set your goals low enough that you know you can do them without a risk of failing, do you really need or want it that badly?
I guess (and this is only my interpretation of it) setting a realistic goal means a goal you are willing and able to work towards & it needs to make sense to you. There’s no point in saying you want to end world hunger if you really deep down want a huge mansion and 10 Mustangs outside with a helicopter waiting in the garden. You are the only one who can decide how high your goal should be, break it down into smaller goals (See time) and break it up bit by bit.
Again, a high goal is actually so much easier to reach than a low goal… You might be thinking I’m crazy here. A low goal exerts literally no or very little motivational force. Look back at what you’ve achieved & I bet some of the hardest things you’ve conquered have actually been the easiest because you knew where the journey was taking you.
High goals = Motivation = Emotional Success
Timely – Set your time frame. Massively important!!! If there’s no time frame, there’s no urgency. How many times have you told yourself, “I’ll do something tomorrow”. That was like last year right? How about the “I’ll get around to it someday” How many more garden projects are you going to start? It doesn’t work.
If your life gets busy & you can’t do it at the time, it’s different, but tell yourself that you are taking a break from it, and set it in your diary a week before you are due to start again, then every day before with reminders and cue points to get you back on where you left it. This will trigger your unconsciousness to bring all the memories back so you can start back with the same emotion.