When SMART Goals are not Smart Goals

You will be familiar with the principles of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) and I am a great believer in using them as a great tool to get focus and clarity when trying to achieve something in your life. They are also useful as a feed in to an action plan to get things moving, with a focus on getting results.

This morning I went along to a women’s networking event run by Everywoman and NatWest Bank in Basingstoke and listened to Liz Jackson MBE from Great Guns Marketing, a telesales company from Basingstoke founded by Liz.

Liz is a very inspiring and motivational speaker, while remaining very down to earth. One comment she made that made me reconsider my current views on goal setting was her irreverent view on the SMART acronym.

We all have different views on risk, and I know my attitude to risk can be moderate at best. If you prefer to play it safe, like me, taking minimal risks, then you are likely to shy away from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. However it is by pushing yourself forward that you stand to make mistakes, learn and grow. This is where life can be more exciting, even if dangerous and frightening.

Liz obviously has learned to enjoy pushing herself and taking risks more than many. This can be seen in the success she has made of her life, overcoming many obstacles, some of those many of us would have found insurmountable.

When asked who used SMART goals of course I was one of those that spoke up. Liz then jokingly dismissed them – if you stick to SMART goals you will never take risks and grow. If the goal is realistic and achievable it is unlikely to stretch you. Yes, your failure rate may be higher when you just dive in without putting your cozy acronym structure around it, but the ride is so much more fun.

In conclusion? SMART goals are great if you are floundering and lost, if you have no direction. If you want to stretch yourself and grow, consider letting go completely and taking that risk. Who knows you may just achieve more than you realistically dreamed!

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