I don’t like SMART goals. I don’t write them for my life or business. Do you? Have you tried? Or are you one of the many people I talk to that has given up on goals altogether?

For many people, SMART goals don’t work. And when they try to set them, and repeatedly fail, they may walk away from goal-setting.

Let me be clear, I’m okay with goals. I want you to set goals. We need to have dreams and aspirations. We benefit from knowing where we’re headed. I will even reluctantly admit that SMART goals work well for some, especially if you are part of a team. I just think that SMART goals, and the way society suggests we all think about goals, can set us up for failure. For the average person who is thinking about new year’s resolutions and for solopreneurs who are dreaming about what’s next in their business, I think they are more of a hindrance. Here’s why…

S = Specific: While I agree that we need to have some clarity around our goals, that’s different from being specific and I think this very first part of SMART goals can trip people up. What if your goal has several steps? What if it’s an endpoint or outcome that is months or years away? What if your goal is a feeling? Feelings are great goals, but not always specific. Goals are often dreams. Dreams are often big. And not everyone is able to take a dream and break it down into the first step.

M = Measurable: See ‘Specific’… Dreams are hard to measure. Feelings are hard to measure. Unless it comes to you naturally or you are given some training in how to take a step of your goal and attach a measure to it, this part is hard.

A = Achievable: I’m mostly good with this part. Your goals should be realistic. Your goal needs to be something you are capable of. My only concern, going back to being specific, is that sometimes it’s hard to know what will be achievable or to break the goal down into a smaller, more achievable part. Should we abandon the goal because we are unsure? No! Sometimes progress is enough.

R = Relevant: I’m all good with this part. Obviously you aren’t going to set an outdated, unnecessary goal.

T = Time Based: This is the one that puts me up on my soapbox. Many people have a weak sense of time, including me. I can’t accurately predict how long it will take me to write this email let alone how long it will take me to complete a goal. In the ADHD world we call this “time blindness” and it’s very real. You think things will take forever and it turns out it was a 15 minute task. You think something will take an hour to complete and you’re still working on it five hours later. How on earth can we set a realistic and achievable timeline for our goal if we struggle with time?

If you like SMART goals and they work for you, keep using them. They are great for some people! But please know that there is not a “correct” way to set goals. It’s not SMART goals or nothing!

We need goals. We can call them dreams, intentions, aspirations… but whatever you call it, we all need a destination. Otherwise we’ll be wandering around aimlessly and frustrated or bored with our circumstances. Goals are important. Just don’t get caught up trying to do it the “right way”.

Need some support to create goals that work for you? Reach out, I’d love to support you!