Smart Goal Setting

If you’re a student of setting goals you’ve probably seen the phrase “smart goal setting” or the well used (and useful) acronym SMART.

    S – Specific.
    M – Measurable
    A – Attainable
    R – Realistic
    T – Time Sensitive

SMART is a useful tool to remember the key elements of a goal. You can real more about that and find examples of smart goals here.
But there is another aspect of smart goal setting that I think is important to consider, and that’s the idea of setting goals wisely. Smart goal setting should also include the 3 following considerations:

  1. Long term perspective
  2. Self-limiting beliefs
  3. Personal Values

Long term perspective

One of the key elements of successful people is the ability to have a long term perspective that guides their short term decision making. By keeping in mind where you want to be in 3 or 5 years, either financially, socially, physically or otherwise, you are likely to make day to day decisions that serve you better in the long run. Smart goal setting requires that we know where we are going, not just this week but well into the future.

Self-limiting beliefs

Many of the goals that would deliver the true happiness and satisfaction we desire, and deserve, aren’t even attempted if we have the belief that we are not capable, or worthy, of achieving them. Self-limiting beliefs are one of the greatest killers of proper goal setting, but the good news is that they are also one of the easiest restrictions to overcome. Just understanding, and “getting”, that many of our beliefs are not based in fact or reality but rather were misunderstood advice, incorrect assumptions of simply bad information passed from one person to another. Many times simply stopping and engaging in a little Q&A with ourselves can quickly let the wind out of the sails of a bad belief. Saying “there are no jobs out there” is clearly, factually wrong. Thousands of people get new jobs every day, even in a recession. Think Apple has put on a few people to help build, market, pack and ship iPhones?

Personal values

Setting a target for goals that are not in line with your personal values can hardly be considered smart goal setting. If service to others is your hot button, getting a back office job as an accountant because it pays twice as much would be foolish. If you safety is big on your list, plotting a path to become a policeman or firefighter because your father was one is not likely to lead to success. Be sure to consider your personal values and be sure that whatever goal you’ve set, whether career, financial, spiritual, fitness or other is included in your goal setting criteria. Smart goal setting requires it.