Kick-Off the Year by Shedding SMART Goals

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It’s that time of year again when many try to set personal and professional goals.

The problem is that generally, we set a New Year’s resolution only to have about 10% of people stick with them for more than a few months. This is reality, and I believe it’s because we tackle goals from the side of improving on what we failed to do the previous year.

“I must be better at…”

  • Not procrastinating
  • Losing weight
  • Getting organized
  • Communicating better
  • Creating better courses

What these statements all have in common is the negative filter we see them through. Wouldn’t it be better to put a more positive spin on goals? Perhaps treating them as “positive and purposeful intentions”?

We can do this in several ways:

  • Write them as positive statements. Instead of, “I must lose weight,” why not “Spend 5 minutes a day stretching.” This is doable. We’re taking a large, negatively filtered goal, and chucking it down to more positive action.
  • Instead of “get organized,” try “I can keep the area around my keyboard tidy.” Again, doable. We tend to beat ourselves up when we fail to do something. However, the goal becomes more digestible when looking through a positive filter and starting small.

It’s the difference between setting ourselves up for failure and creating positive and purposeful intentions.

Consider SMART goals, a format that businesses commonly accept as best practice. But SMART goals don’t bring about results. In a large-scale study published in December of last year, participants who were taught how to use SMART goals reported less success with their New Year’s Resolutions than a comparison group.

But it’s really not that surprising – let’s take SMART goals and analyze just two criteria “Achievable and Realistic.” Those two pieces are redundant, which is why many people have changed “Realistic” to “Relatable or Relevant.” But it still doesn’t make sense – 1) Because if something is to be achievable, it stands to reason that the goal should be realistic/relatable/relevant. And 2) It fails because “Achievable and Realistic” are not enablers of strong action and, dare I say, actually encourage the status quo.

So let’s gather and rethink how we are going to tackle the year. Together let’s build something actionable and positive that stands a chance of success.


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Jan 06 2023

11:00 am CST - 12:00 pm CST

Kick-Off the Year by Shedding SMART Goals

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