Are we being too SMART?

The Planning Fallacy
October 9, 2018

So you have taken the time to think through your goals. You have thought through all of life’s dimensions – financial, health, family, social, career, lifestyle. And importantly you have written them down, which then becomes a promise to yourself about at least setting down a path to achieve them.

Before you embark on that path, ask yourself if your Goals are SMART? This is a mnemonic acronym which stands for making sure your Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Coaches will tell us that our Goals should have structure & trackability to hold us to account to achieving them.

If your Goals are SMART… then throw them out. Your Goals should be audacious and bold, they should challenge you to the end. Challenges take the best we have to give because they take all we have to give. If you think they are all attainable then your limbic system will take over, and you will go into automatic mode. Your Goals need to stretch you, to create that tension within you for change. In momentum there is life, and in change there is power.

Sure our Goals do require structure, and provide a context for success. But they also have to excite us.  What would the project team at Apple have thought if Steve Job had said – we are going to build a new phone, but keep the plans realistic & achievable?

SMART goals are focused on behaviours and this can draw you away from the bigger picture, which is the visionary view you had for your goal in the first place.

Sometimes we need to set big, audacious goals.

The message? We believe goals are not just the things you SHOULD achieve but also the things you WANT to achieve, so you can feel good about your future. Keep an eye for the excitement factor in your Goal setting. Don’t over-think them – you don’t need to know how to achieve them, you just need the first step. And have lots – our Goals should reflect the many, many dimensions that we have to our life. Our Goals should make us feel good about our future.

Do you have goals that excite you?