Goal Setting for 2017: The Problem With S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Do you set your goals using the S.M.A.R.T. strategy?

If you’ve ever tried it, then you might have also experienced falling short of the S.M.A.R.T. goals you set – either you lost steam, got sidetracked, or lost interest.

If so, don’t worry about it – it happens to LOTS of goal-setters.

But why does such a popular goal-setting strategy like S.M.A.R.T. fail so often? This article will explain why, and what you should do instead, to keep tirelessly marching towards your goals in life.

The Pros and Cons of S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting strategy was coined in 1981, and it stands for:

  • S – Specific. Goals must be clear – the what, where, how, when, why, and with whom’s should be in place.
  • M – Measurable. Goals must have measurable metrics – not just “lose weight,” but “lose 10 pounds.”
  • A – Attainable. Goals must be set within your available skills and resources.
  • R – Relevant. Goals should serve a bigger purpose, and not be set for their own sake.
  • T – Time-Bound. Goals should be set with deadlines and/or time frames for completion.

On the surface, setting goals the S.M.A.R.T. way seems like a good idea. It helps to have clear, easy-to-achieve goals.

Unfortunately, it also has a serious drawback – the “Attainable” part. When you try to set only goals that are attainable, then you tend to scale your goals down, down, down to “realistic” levels.

So most of the time, you end up with goals that:

  • Don’t inspire you
  • Don’t push you to grow
  • Soon feels robotic and impersonal
  • Easily get changed when challenges or failure gets in the way

THAT’S the reason why so most people who set their life goals the S.M.A.R.T. way often end up failing. Their goals lack that all-important personal, emotional component that makes the grind worth it.

So here’s my advice: Relegate the S.M.A.R.T. strategy to your minor goals – those smaller “milestones” that lead to your major goals – that NEED to be attainable.

For your major goals themselves, though, you’ll want to use a different strategy – a goal-setting method I call, aptly enough, D.U.M.B.

D.U.M.B. is the New S.M.A.R.T.

D.U.M.B. stands for Dangerously Unattainable, Monstrously Big goals. D.U.M.B. goals virtually guarantee failure when you try to pursue them at your current state of knowledge, resources, motivation.

Here’s how it works: You set your D.U.M.B. goals anyway. Think of how even the professional sports teams with the worst win-loss record the previous season start the new season with one goal: To win a championship. Their opponents will think they’re crazy. Even their FRIENDS will think they’re crazy.

But that’s the beauty of D.U.M.B. goals – no one else can see them and feel them but you. They make you feel such a powerful, undeniable, red-hot desire to do whatever it takes to achieve them.

THAT’S the kind of fire your major goals should kindle in you. And your goals won’t get you fired up if they’re S.M.A.R.T.

They must be D.U.M.B. There’s no other way!

D.U.M.B. goals will force you to sit down and think: What do I lack right now that’s keeping me from achieving this big goal?

  • Do I lack the belief that I can achieve it?
  • Do I lack the resources?
  • Do I lack the motivation?

And that’s when you find out the areas in your life that need to grow. Those will be your goal’s milestones, which you will then achieve using the S.M.A.R.T. method.

See how it works?

Your major goals should be D.U.M.B… and your milestones/minor goals should be S.M.A.R.T. That’s how you get things done!

An Example

Let’s say your D.U.M.B. goal is to earn $1 million in passive income a month… when you’re a single-income corporate employee who doesn’t like management.

Your S.M.A.R.T. milestones might be:

  • To start believing I can earn $1 million in passive income a month, and get rid of any toxic beliefs I might have about being wealthy and moneyed.
  • To cut my expenses down to the bare minimum I need to be happy
  • To find a non-management job that pays better than my current job
  • To build capital to invest in real estate, the stock market, and other business models that don’t require much management
  • To slowly start building passive income through those venues

Noticed how those milestones can easily be broken down, hashed out, and prioritized using the S.M.A.R.T. method?

That’s how it works – your D.U.M.B. goal provides the direction and the fire, while your S.M.A.R.T. milestones provides the A-Z’s. The system’s in place – all you need to do is get started.

Try this strategy now to set your goals for 2017. Set an unattainable goal, then attain it!

Eric Bailey is a business coach, author, and motivational speaker. His goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals through personalized coaching, accountability, and motivation. To reach him for corporate speaking engagements, please contact bookings@ericbaileyglobal.com.au.