To me, using the SMART goals framework for your personal goals is like attempting to have sex with a manual in hand...
... it completely kills the excitement, thrill and fun of it.
I'm not saying that the SMART Goals framework should be thrown into the dungeons of the past, never ever to be seen, heard of or used again.
It is still a pretty effective way to achieve goals.
... My beef with it is that for some reason, we've been made to believe that it is the opener to setting goals when in my humble opinion it is the most boring, clinical way to do so.
Say, for example, that you want to write a book.
Yes, the SMART framework will help you engineer how to write it. It has all the ingredients!
S is for Specific.
Great! You do need to be as clear as possible about what kind of book you want to write, how to outline it, etc, etc.
M is for Measurable.
Absolutely! Setting a timeline for when you will be writing this book, for how long, etc is definitely important.
A is for achievable. 100%! You may want to write a 150 page book instead of a 300 page book.
R is for Realistic.
For sure! You want to set a realistic timeline for when, for example, you want to write out the draft of the book, right?
T is for timely.
Yep! Maybe each day you will set certain milestones for what you want to accomplish.
Ok, so while this is all fine and dandy, I have a few questions to ask you:
Using this SMART goals framework:
1. Sincerely, do you feel like it will give you the desire to work on your goal every single day?
2. Do you, in any conceivable way, feel emotionally attached to this goal?
3. Does it make you want to say "man... I really can't afford to waste time like this. I have I set for myself and I really must get to it!"
This framework has a number of fatal flaws.
Firstly, like I mentioned before, from an emotional perspective, it does not give you a sense of purpose or passion.
It's a robotic response to solving a problem you have.
Secondly, it offers no incentive to keep you going when you face real challenges that you might end up being overwhelmed or stifled by.
I honestly believe we need a new way to look at goals if we are going to achieve them, and if you'd like to humour me, I do actually have a framework you could use when you start creating your personal goals.
So I created the S.H.A.R.P framework, which you can use to set your personal goals. I created this framework because I believe it's important to have a deep emotional connection to our goals.
We must attach them to what and who we love, because sometimes without that, we may just lose our way.
Now let's dive into the framework!
A sacred goal to me is defined by how deeply you decide to define it in your life.
- how meaningful is it to you?
- will this goal make a significant impact in your life and the lives of the ones you truly love?
- is it a goal that brings out passion in you, even when you talk about it?
- are you willing to pursue this goal, even if you know it may cause some friction in your life?
If your answer is a resounding YES to these question, then you have set a significant goal that you will actively seek and take action on.
Don't work on goals that have empty "soul" calories.
What does the term "soul calories" even mean?
Say this weekend you decide to stock up on your favourite ice-cream, cookies, chips and two bottles of wine, and your plan is to spend it binging on season 7 of Game Of Thrones.
(That's actually a very specific goal! So don't ever say you don't know how to set goals. )
But the problem with this goal is that there isn't much balance in it. It's just all about indulgence, which you will likely regret after your heavy binging spree.
Hence the empty soul calories, which putting too much energy on activities that will not nourish you emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually.
Look, I'm not the fun police.... Heaven knows I've wasted more weekends than I can count, but you do know what I mean.
If you are going to work on a goal everyday, then it must be emotionally, mentally and physically enriching for you.
Yes, have your fun, have your down time, but make sure it balances out with the activity you have set yourself to do that day towards your ultimate goal.
Remember, this is about YOU more than anything!
So here are some more questions I have for you regarding setting habitual goals:
- Is your personal goal one that you are willing to actively work on, on a daily basis? Why?
- Are you willing to develop the energy, stamina, consistency and passion to work on your goal every day? How do you plan on doing so?
- Will you sacrifice some time, and put effort into achieving one small milestone after another for your goal? How will you achieve this?
- Is this a goal which, when you do habitually, will be mentally and emotionally fulfilling to you and make you stronger? Why do you believe it is?
Answer these questions and you have a goal that you are willing to work on every single day.
It is imperative for you to make your goal an embodiment of who you are.
Think It, Everyday
Speak It, Everyday
Work It, Everyday
Your ultimate personal goal is like taking a bath... you need to do it every day for the best results!
So whatever it is that you want to make sacred and habitual in your life, my biggest suggestion is
1. you write it down.
2. then type it out and print it
3. get it laminated
4. put it in front of you every day and recite it like a national anthem.
Talk about it to anyone who will listen... make it a part and parcel of who you are because of just how much you want to achieve it
....then you know you have a deeply meaningful goal in your hands.
Here is one unwavering truth in modern society.
We want to see results in our lives... preferably positive ones!
We feel encouraged by progress. It is a natural gauge of whether we are moving forward, backward or whether we are in total limbo.
You're not going to be doing all this work without wanting to see each week, each month, each year, that you have moved the needle that much closer to your vision.
It's a deeply rooted desire we all have.
The reason why most of us are anxious, frustrated, depressed and eventually complacent is mainly because we are not seeing the kind of results we want.
We just know that there was someone we wanted toor who we wanted to be by a certain time in our lives, and we have not achieved it.
Measure Your Goal with Positive & Negative Consequences if you do, or do not take daily action.
So let's work on another exercise:
1. What will the positive consequences be when consistently take action on your goal on a daily basis?
- Emotionally: how will it make you feel stronger, more competent, confident in yourself and your abilities
-Mentally: how much more focus, skills and knowledge will you acquire and build as you religiously follow your goals?
-Physically: how much more energy and stamina will you have? How much more momentum will you develop as you keep working on your goal day by day?
- Influence: how much influence do you believe you can have on the ones you love when they see the results of the work you are consistently putting in?
How much power will that have on your loved one's futures as they reflect on their own lives?
2. What will the negative consequences be when you choose not to take any action on your goals, and even refuse to try?
- Are you prepared to deal with the constant frustration of doing the same things over and over again but never seeing the results you want?
- Do you want to let yet another day, week, month, year go by without having made the kind of real progress you have envisioned for yourself?
- Are you prepared to deal with constant disappointment, not only from the people you have made promises to but most importantly, the promises you made to yourself?
Seriously consider these questions, take them to heart and write down how they make you feel. The more you emotionally and mentally incorporate these questions into your life, the more you will have the desire to work on yourself and your vision.
An unfortunate incident happened to family members and myself back in June.
5 armed men invaded our home and robbed us of valuables that they could throw in backpacks and run off with.
The terrifying experience left me in deep fear, anger and confusion.
I was in the middle of a 90 day blogging challenge, and I had posted 26 articles by the time the encounter took place.
So why am I sharing this with you?
Because on your own journey, shit is going to happen.
There will be totally unexpected circumstances that will punch you in the mouth, then your gut, take the air out of you and finally kick you while you are down.
But do not allow these setbacks to define your journey, because if you do, you will bring your journey to a complete halt
(...then you will get out of your car, pour gasoline on it, light a match and let it burn to ashes as you walk away...)
It doesn't have to be that way.
Promise yourself that no matter what happens, no matter the setback, that you will pick yourself up and keep going.
I won't lie... it has taken months for me to get my form back.
I had good momentum but the incident knocked me down, so much so that I wanted to throw away the brand I had created...
My doubts and worries came back harder than ever, and I allowed them to paralyze any form of progress I wanted to make.
But here I am, writing to you...
Try another exercise with me:
Write down a mantra, that you can look at and read, that this journey is about the process. It is about your evolution and growth, not about the rewards and accolades.
I had to get back to the work, even if I had to force myself, because the work is all I have control of... I have no control over its outcome.
The process is more about who you are becoming, not what you are achieving!
I think you will agree that this has been a lot more engaging than the SMART goals framework... if you'd like to share your thoughts on this article, go ahead and write your thoughts in the comment section below!