3 Reasons Why SMART Goals Suck

AlexWork

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Hello all! I wanted to share with you all a blurb that I posted on my blog recently. It's about the limitations of SMART goals and what you can do to make your goals even stronger. Enjoy :)

By now I am sure you have heard all about SMART goals. The idea of SMART goals has been around for a while, and while no one can pin-point exactly where the acronym came from, it has seeped into the mainstream as the accepted method to set and achieve goals.

While some of the basics behind SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) do hold water, there is a lot that SMART goals does not talk about.

The problem is, goal setting – while relatively simple in theory – is not as simple in practise. We know this because of sheer experience – after all, how many times have you or someone you knew floundered on their goals? Probably at least a few times, right?

If it was as easy as just setting SMART goals the way that the SMART goals principles are explained, everyone would be accomplishing their goals easily and without much difficulty. You know, and I know, that this is by far the case.

Here is what SMART goal setting does not tell you about how to truly accomplish your goals.
1. SMART Goals Doesn't Talk About How You Actually Achieve the Goal.

Have you heard of the Law of Attraction? Boiled down it essentially says that if you think and dream of something enough that this will be enough to make your goals and dreams turn into reality. There is one glaring problem with this law: It completely disregards the course that you must follow to achieve your goal.

This disregard for the course of action is also a symptom of SMART goals. SMART goals tells you a lot about how to set a goal, but it doesn't tell you how you're actually going to achieve it.

Building a plan of action is your blueprint for the execution of your goals. Similar to a building, you have to have a blueprint or design to help you get from concept to reality. This is where your plan of action comes in.

Some characteristics of a strong plan include:
  • It Starts Today. No starting "someday" or next week, or even tomorrow. Your plan of action must begin with something that you can accomplish today. I cannot even overstate how crucial this is. By jumping right into picking up the action habit you are exponentially more likely to follow through with your goals.
  • Every step of the plan is broken down and laid out. So that once complete, you are literally putting your goals on a straight path to being achieved. Having that kind of laser-like focus and knowing precisely what you have to do and nothing else is incredibly powerful.
2. SMART Goals Neglects the Concept of Failure or Adversity.

Everyone likes to fantasize about being tough enough to brave any storm. We all imagine ourselves to be impenetrable to the setbacks of life... Until they actually happen. Then we begin to doubt ourselves and wonder if what we are doing is worth continuing at all. This is a massive hole in the concept of SMART goal setting.

How many times has this happened to you: Using the SMART goals principles you set a goal for yourself. You are full of enthusiasm and positivity. You act towards it for a few days/weeks/months. A failure or setback happens that you didn't see coming. Suddenly that enthusiasm is gone. Doubt creeps in. You begin to wonder if you deserve to achieve this goal at all. Goal shelved.

SMART goals ignores the fact that failures will happen along the way. It's just the way life is. Our plans are never perfect, there are simply too many things out of our control.
But what you can control – and SMART goals doesn't talk about this at all – is not your failures, but how you decide to react to them.
3. SMART Goals Forgets to Talk About Purpose.

Everybody talks about wanting to be rich. Or happy. Or skinny and fit. But for a second go beyond the obvious reasons for wanting to be any of these things. Is there a deeper purpose behind what you are doing? When you can find this deeper purpose, you tap into a whole other level of motivation that is powerful beyond measure.

For example, say you want to be wealthy. Who doesn't, right? Give yourself a couple reasons for why this goal will benefit the greater good.

Perhaps you want to be rich so that you can help finance a new basketball court for the local community park. Or maybe you want to start a scholarship fund for the youths in your area.

Make these goals specific, not just "I want to give back to the community."
Give yourself a clear and specific goal so that it is as real (and as important to you) in your mind as possible.

When you give yourself these "purpose" related motivations to achieving your goals, you are soaring past the people that use SMART goals that use self-centred goals that are shallow in motivation and purpose.
 

John Sharpe

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Thanks for sharing Alex. You are right that a lot of personal development skips over some of the specifics of how you are going to move from A to B.

Of course with the Law of Attraction the belief is that the universal source will bring what you desire in its own time and that trying to control the process is counter productive. I totally understand though if people don't share this belief and want a more concrete blueprint.

For myself I'm a little in between the two. I really like nuts and bolts productivity and time management techniques but I also do believe that some forces are beyond our comprehension.
 

AlexWork

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Well said, John. Everyone's self-development path is different. Most self-help advice that you see out there these days is designed to be consumed quickly, and as a result is frequently lacking in the nitty-gritty.

Look forward to reading more of your posts.
 

zararina

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I remember learning about that SMART goals in school and also in a seminar before.
And I do not think that their could be those lapses although I know that there are rare approaches that could give complete ideas and discussions on how to really achieve a goal.
The purpose of the goal is oftentimes neglected but it was important since those can or will drive a person to get such goal.
 
F

ftrnation

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Very interesting read, I feel you don't mean smart goals suck, but that they are incomplete.

Dan Jones
ftrnation.com
 

AmazingP

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2. SMART Goals Neglects the Concept of Failure or Adversity.

Everyone likes to fantasize about being tough enough to brave any storm. We all imagine ourselves to be impenetrable to the setbacks of life... Until they actually happen. Then we begin to doubt ourselves and wonder if what we are doing is worth continuing at all. This is a massive hole in the concept of SMART goal setting.

How many times has this happened to you: Using the SMART goals principles you set a goal for yourself. You are full of enthusiasm and positivity. You act towards it for a few days/weeks/months. A failure or setback happens that you didn't see coming. Suddenly that enthusiasm is gone. Doubt creeps in. You begin to wonder if you deserve to achieve this goal at all. Goal shelved.

SMART goals ignores the fact that failures will happen along the way. It's just the way life is. Our plans are never perfect, there are simply too many things out of our control.
But what you can control – and SMART goals doesn't talk about this at all – is not your failures, but how you decide to react to them.
I think this is quite true. We all know that getting what we dream of is not as walking in the park and there will always be adversaries, challenges, obstacles and the chance for failures. We should add the fact that we should not just easily give up and to be strong in the face of bumps along the road. This is indeed one area which SMART is devoid of. Good thing you are expounding this thing here, I am learning something from you. :)
 

Jo Edwards

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I like to set goals I've already achieved before. That's where SMART goals work. Pick something you've done once or twice, something you'd like to happen again, and try and recreate it given what you have.

in this situation it fixes the three problems you have
1. You have a clear idea what happened arround the event (ie, where you were, what you were doing, the demographics of the people involved, and your effort) You should at least get close enough to start scientifically testing.
2. When you fail, you recieve feedback. You're looking for the things that are the same. If it doesn't work, you don't feel like a failure, because you've already achieved it. You just haven't gotten it exactly right. This doesn't feel bad because you know you're close. It's a sense of connection that creates purpose, and that purpose overcomes failure, because failure is a little bump. You can still reasonably see yourself achieving the goal because you've already achieved it when you hit a bump. When you hit a wall, you can't see the achievement.
3. You can create a visual, auditory, kinasthetic connection to a real event because you've already achieved it. You already put in the effort that randomly created something. If you focus on the things you'd like to happen in the future, which you've achieved in the past, in the present you feel like the goal is tangible, and you feel as though you already have success, but feel like acting in a way that makes it seem more real.

what's missing is how to fundamentally change your life
if you can only draw on things that have happened, then how do you make new amazing experiences?

a. you surround yourself with people who regularly do what you want
b. you surround yourself with analog examples of things you'd like to notice (such as the wealth you already have)
c. you transcend space and time and become one with the universe (a combination of a and b, but unique in that you must natrually do a and b spontaneously. C is highly unlikely).

These are what the Secret and Think and Grow rich are talking about. Furthermore, The silva mind control method goes into detail about programing your mind to notice things you want more of, but don't think you already have.

I hope it helps. I'm working on higher quality programs that talk about all of this stuff. Send me a message if you'd like updates and early access when it comes out.
 

namktqs

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With law of attraction, people need know exactly things they want and commitment and have discipline to do little things forward to their goal.
 

Jo Edwards

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A major reason people don't have commitment or discipline is they don't understand operant conditioning. If you want to do something new, a lot of people will start, but only about 5% remain after 4 years. They expect big rewards. Even those who do get big rewards at first don't last. Commitment and discipline is more about positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishments. According to my psych teacher, positive means adding, and negative means subtracting. So a positive punishment is adding punishment. Negative punishment is subtracting rewards. Positive reinforcement is adding rewards, and negative reinforcement is subtracting punishments or unpleasant things in the environment.

I saw this ted talk about a year ago about how some guy who was really sick had to take medicine everyday for it to work. He was the only one who completed the medication. What he did was he rewarded himself for taking the medicine. I also watched a video about quitting addiction. There are several programs out there. Let's take porn addiction, because over 90% of men watch porn and at least 10% have adverse side effects like psychological erectile disfunction. You can sign up for a service where you put in an amount of money, and if you relapse, it sends that money to your least favorite charity, like the KKK or Aryan nation. There are other programs to deal with porn addiction. One of them forces you to reset your computer if you want to watch porn. Another one will send e-mails and post status updates to all your friends to let them know when you're watching. If every time you watched porn, your computer sent an e-mail to your mom saying you were watching ex girlfriends and sorority hazing, you'd probably watch less porn according to operant conditioning. This even helped me until my sponsors started telling me that I should watch more porn.

The question that follows is, how can you afford to reward yourself? Doesn't splurging on that pretzel every month mean you might not be able to make rent when you're broke? I have long post on my blog about budgeting. In short, if you put 57% in savings, and you use 43% for R&D, Taxes (including utilities, insurance, bank and professional fees), sustenance (food and shelter, and whatever else makes you "You".), distribution (transportation, packaging), and marketing (you need to make sure people know you), about 10% your total income per month should go to personal development included in research and development.

It's costing you more not to learn than it is to sustain yourself. If you decide not to buy something 10% of your income each month and your friend does, your friend maybe doesn't get to go out and eat 1 or 2 nights a week, while you do for the first few months, but in 1 year, your friend has learn 12 new things at least. By learning 5 things about internet marketing, I've already started making money. I've increased my monthly earnings by about 10x. If you follow the R&D budget rule, you'll be able to go out those extra two nights per week, and you'll be able to treat. When you treat, your friends will thank you, and you'll be more likely to make more money, and it just keeps increasing.

For the actual percentages, and to see how you can grow from $10/ month in income to over $10 million, visit my blog http://livewealthblog.wordpress.com.com Search for Budget