S.M.A.R.T. Goals are hailed to be the best way to set goals. However, recent studies show that SMART goals are not that really smart. Here’s how you can set the right goals instead!
A lot of people praise the SMART method of setting a goal. Why not? It does really help you achieve your objectives in life.
However, let me tell you the truth:
Smart Goals are not enough.
Sometimes, they can be stupid!
Yes, they can help you attain your goals, but there’s a problem with SMART Goals that no one is talking about.
Let me tell you more in just a bit.
Hello there, dear readers!
I’m Joshua Infantado. I’m the author of Books for Greatness website.
I’m here to talk about why SMART goals are not enough and what you should do instead.
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Importance of having a goal
“A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”
That’s what Thomas Carlyle once said.
I believe there’s a lot of truth in that statement.
If you want to succeed in life, you need a goal.
This is common knowledge, but not commonly applied.
Goals are crucial in life as it gives you direction.
It tells you what to do and gives you a sense of accomplishment you finally achieve it.
In short, goals give you a purpose in life.
Perhaps, you are one of the millions of people who realized that you need a goal.
But the question is, “How can I set a goal?”
Comes the SMART goal
If you take the first letter of these words, you will have SMART.
Perhaps, you have heard about the SMART method of setting goals.
It was first conceived by General Electric (GE), one of the most successful and largest companies in the world.
If you have been taught of SMART goal, you know how it can easily give clarity in your goal.
Let me give you an example:
If you are planning to improve your health, your goal could be:
“I will run 5 miles every day.”
So, you try to apply the SMART approach.
- Is it specific? Yes, I will run 5 miles.
- It is measurable? Yes, it is measured by the distance I run.
- Is it attainable? In my current condition, yes.
- Is it realistic? Considering my schedule, yes, I can do it.
- Is it time-bound? Yes, I will be running every day.
Simply put, that’s how SMART Goals work.
It helps you evaluate your goals and ensure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
If your goal does not meet these criteria, then you need to revisit it until you get it right.
Now, what’s wrong with this approach?
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The problem with SMART Goal
However, there’s one problem with setting a SMART goal.
SMART GOALS tend to promote stagnation in growth and may lead to counter productivity.
Here, let me explain.
While SMART goals are useful, they can sometimes cause people to focus on the easiest tasks.
After all, SMART goals make sure that your goals are attainable.
Worse of all, SMART goals make people tend to become more consumed with crossing things off their to-do list instead of asking how to innovate and go for the next level of productivity.
Instead of searching for ways to improve, SMART goals can promote mediocrity.
What You Should do instead
Here’s what sets apart successful people to super successful people:
They have Stretch Goals.
I can almost hear you say, “What’s that?”
Let me show you what it is.
Stretch Goal means stretching your goals to the point that it brings you to a greater level of result.
Stretch Goals forces people to commit to ambitious and seemingly out-of-reach objectives.
Think about the most successful people in the world today.
They are innovators.
They are trailblazers.
They have done things that no one has ever imagined possible.
Because they don’t just settle with SMART goals, but they have Stretch goals.
Stretch goals lead to new thinking and disrupt complacency.
Let me give you an example.
The Shinkansen Bullet Train is perhaps one of the most amazing engineering marvels in modern history.
The train can run as fast as 320 km/h (200 mph).
A trip that is supposed to last 4 hours is cut down in half.
The efficient railroad system of Japan helped the country to become a prosperous nation today.
Even after the devastation of World War II to its economy, Japan was able to rise again because of their innovative thinking.
But do you know that the Shinkansen trains were originally designed to only run 75 miles per hour?
They had SMART goals, but it was the STRETCH GOALS that led them to achieve the unimaginable!
When it was first proposed to increase the speed of the train, the engineers complained.
No technology available at that time nor knowledge can even lead them to building the world’s fastest train.
Yet, look at Japan today.
What was thought to be impossible has now become possible.
They are now enjoying the fruits of stretch goals.
That’s just one example.
There are a lot of innovations that were made because of Stretch Goals.
We have the lightbulb, cars, airplanes, televisions, computers, and smartphones. These are just other examples of how Stretch Goals can lead to impressive inventions.
Applying stretch goals in your life
Stretch Goals are not just even applicable to businesses, careers, or technologies.
You can also apply stretch goals in your life.
If you believe you can run seven miles per day, then stretch it to ten miles per day.
If you believe you can save $1,000 per month, then stretch it to $1,500 per month.
If you believe you can finish a project in just one week, then why not stretch it to only 5 days?
Here’s the trick.
I know that having a stretch goal can also be overwhelming.
If you set a goal that you know is impossible, it could discourage you.
Sometimes, it can simply just become an unrealized dream.
Here’s the key.
You need to combine Stretch Goals with SMART Goals.
Identify a stretch goal that you can breakdown into realistic short-term aims.
In short, create a SMART goal, but this time, you need to aim higher.
You see, great inventions in history were not achieved simply by wishful thinking.
Inventors were able to find a way to create a system that they can break their goals into concrete plans.
Now, let’s go back to you.
Today, I want to tell you that you are limiting yourself if you only settle with SMART goals.
If you always keep it safe and just happy achieving small goals (AKA SMART goals), you will never achieve anything bigger than yourself.
Be audacious enough to stretch your goals.
Set goals that will bring you to a higher level of success.
Let me leave you with a quote from Michelangelo:
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
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I can’t possibly cover all aspects of them in this book.
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