The End of Goal Setting: Beyond SMART Goals (Part 1)SearchHound

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Goal setting. While it is particularly prevalent around the turn of the year (do you even remember your New Year’s Resolutions? If you do, are they the same as the year before?), goal setting is something that is thrown around all too often. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” “If you want to have a better life, set goals!” “Are your goals SMART?” These statements and the way most people go about goal setting in general, is extremely flawed. Instead of focusing on goal setting, focus on goal accomplishing!

The Problem with SMART Goals

SMART goals are as follows:

S- Specific

M- Measurable

A- Achievable

R- Realistic

T- Time-Bound

An example of a SMART goal is as follows:

“I’m going to lose 10 pounds in 2 months, by exercising 4 times a week and eliminating sugar 6 days a week”


(For this example, let’s ignore the fact that eliminating sugar 6 days a week is not only silly (there is sugar, at the very least traces, in everything!), but has no effect on weight loss. For more info check out the likes of Eric Helms, Dr. Layne Norton, Alan Aragon, and Dr. Mike Israetel)

Everything about this goal holds true to the SMART standards. It’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. But here’s the problem. Is it motivating? Does this SMART goal drive your every action and every thought? Is it holding you back? Is there anything in this goal about how to actually accomplish things? Are there any drawbacks of not accomplishing your goal? Is there anything in this goal about what happens if you accomplish this goal? If you exercised 4 times a week and eliminated sugar 6 days a week, will that equate to losing 10 pounds in 2 months?

How are you Motivated (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic)

Before we delve into how to set goals and, more importantly, how to accomplish goals, let’s talk about motivation.  Motivation is “the force or influence that causes someone to do something.” Identifying how you are motivated is extremely advantageous in the goal accomplishing process. Once you know how you are motivated, you can use that information to be motivated on-demand, causing you to act with a purpose! There are three main senses that drive our motivation: Visual (sight), Auditory (sound), and Kinesthetic (physical touch).  To find out what motivates you the most, run a little experiment. Listen to a speech and record how motivated you are to produce action. Watch a video of something or someone doing things you aspire to achieve.  Get moving and begin to physically create something that will guide you in your process for improvement. Of the three, which one motivated you the most? Chances are you are motivated by a combination of V,A,K.  Once you determine your main motivator, use that as a tool to motivate yourself. For example, if you find yourself to be motivated the most through visual stimuli, make it a habit of watching a quick video that will rev up your productivity engines before you begin working on whatever you choose!

Goal Setting (WHY??)

In order to accomplish your goals, you need to have and know your “why”. Goal accomplishing has an innate implication of action. This is what sets it apart from goal setting. That being said, the first stage of goal accomplishing, is in fact, having a goal. When racking your brain for prospective goals, identify your “why” next to the goal. Your “why” should be personal, strong, and deep-rooted in your thoughts. Your goal should be strong enough, and important enough to you that it drives your every action. Constantly ask yourself with everything you do, “Does this get me closer or farther away from my goal?” This is the crucial thought in making major action towards your goal. Think back to our original SMART goal. Is “losing 10 pounds in 2 months, by exercising 4 times a week and eliminating sugar 6 days a week” a goal that will drive you to act? It’s a simple enough goal to determine whether an act is helpful or hurtful (an act that would be helpful is going to the gym...hurtful would be eating sugar), at least based on the parameters set in the goal, but it lacks depth. Take any figure that has had great success in achieving goals. Some examples include athletes such as Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, pioneer figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Beethoven, John Lennon, Vincent Van Gogh and other influential figures such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, Anne Frank… The list goes on and on. All of these figures have one thing in common. They had deep desires (goals) that drove their every move, and they continuously acted upon those desires with a conscious choice to achieve their desire (goal). No matter what! Through struggles and strife, the aforementioned inspirational figures had a strong enough “why” to keep them pursuing and acting upon their dreams. Fortunately, most of your goals (e.g. health and fitness or work related) aren’t as daunting, nor complex of a task, as say, freeing the slaves, a la Lincoln, or composing an immortal masterpiece while deaf, a la Beethoven. In order for you to accomplish your goals, you need to have a strong “why”.

Concluding Part 1

In this post we covered some issues with traditional goal setting concepts and their appliction. We also discussed how you can discover your source for motivation and finding your "why". Most importantly, let's adjust our terminology from goal setting, to goal accomplishing, which implies action and success! Stay tuned to find out what will be included in Part 2!

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