Beyond SMART Goals

Beyond SMART Goals Kristine Carey

Setting a SMART goal is one of the first things we usually do when trying to accomplish something. As a quick review, it’s an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. This criteria helps define what you’re after, why you want it, and by when you’ll have it. But what happens when having the criteria alone doesn’t cut it? What about those days when you don’t feel like doing the work, everything you’ve tried feels like it’s not producing the results you want, and just generally you’ve got a black cloud over your head?

Here are some suggestions for going beyond SMART goals when you’re just not feeling it:


R stands for Relevant.

Remember why this goal is important to you. Often times goals are set with a nod toward relevancy, but take a look at what’s deeper. On that “I’m solving world peace” kind of level, why do you want this goal? Simon Sinek has a great TED talk where he elaborates on this concept – connecting with and remembering the _why_ you are doing something is one of the main ways to keep going on those black cloud days.

Your goal is a journey as much as a destination.

It’s easy to get focused on the final outcome and put your blinders on to what’s happening between now and then, to simply take action and keep going. Would it be alright with you to breath and realize that the journey was the point, just as much as the destination? It seems kinda crazy to push on through something that you could be enjoying – kinda like driving through beautiful scenery, but going 100 mph so that you never get to experience what’s around you. Try this mantra: “I’m journey happy as well as destination happy.


Decide and Believe.

Double check your internal radar – have you really decided that you can have this goal, and do you believe that you’ll really reach it? If you haven’t decided and don’t believe then the likelihood of you achieving your goal goes down significantly. Declaring a goal is one thing; really embracing it on the decide and believe level is a whole ‘nother way to set yourself up for success.


Finish unfinished business.

You may wonder what unfinished business has to do with achieving goals, but the impact can be huge. Anything that feels incomplete – a debt you owe, a conversation you need to clean up with someone, a library book you need to return, a pile of clutter on the counter – these things take your focus away from pursuing your goal. The more attention, energy and focus you have to put toward your goal the better, and clearing up any unfinished business will give you more access to that energy you need.

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