Goal setting – How to be smarter than SMART to achieve what you want.

know which direction to take

Learn a goal setting method that enables you to set goals that are thorough, compelling and will motivate you to achieve them.

Do you have things you want to achieve in your job, your career or in your life and yet you never seem to get there? Perhaps you don’t even manage to get started.

This might be because you don’t really understand what exactly you want, you don’t have a clear goal.

As the Cheshire Cat said in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Whether in our business or personal lives, without goals, we don’t know what path to take on our journey and may not even get started.

Why smarter than SMART?

The concept of SMART goals was introduced in the 1980’s and is attributed to George T. Doran who developed it in order to help managers write effective objectives.

Back in my banking days, I remember being encouraged to set SMART goals in my business plans and for performance objectives.

Setting SMART goals is certainly a step in the right direction and businesses love them because they make logical sense and can be measured.

Since studying NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which, in essence is about the study of excellence, I have discovered another dimension to goal setting which is more thorough and makes goals more compelling.

What do you want?

However, you set goals, the first step is to decide what you want.

When I decided that I wanted to leave banking as a career, I knew that I didn’t want to continue being a bank manager, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do instead. If I had set an objective to leave banking, I could have achieved the objective easily by finding just any job. But that is not what I wanted.

Instead, I spent about a year exploring what I did want until I decided that I wanted to help people realise their potential by becoming a trainer and a coach.

SMART goals

Outcome Thinking

NLP brings us a model of best practice that builds on the concept of SMART goals and:

  • Adds sensory-specific information which helps motivate you and modify your behaviour in line with your goal
  • Uncovers your true motives for achieving the goal
  • Weighs up the pros and cons of success versus failure

There are 7 components for creating a well-formed outcome, or goal:

  1. State your goal in the positive – what do you want or what would you rather have?
  2. Goal is self-initiated and within your control – are you doing this for yourself or because someone else wants you to do it? Does the outcome rely solely on you?
  3. Is the context of your goal clearly defined? – where, when and with whom do you expect to achieve your goal?
  4. What is the evidence that you have achieved it? – how will you know? What will you see, hear and feel when you have?
  5. What resources do you need? – these include personal attributes, qualities, skills and mindset.
  6. Is your goal ecological? – does your goal fit with all aspects of your life? What is your real reason for wanting this? What will you lose or gain?
  7. What is the first step?

This goal setting process takes longer to work through than setting a SMART goal, but you will find that it is much more thorough, compelling and that you are more likely to take the steps to achieve it.

It will help you to find the best road towards achieving what you want.

2 thoughts on “Goal setting – How to be smarter than SMART to achieve what you want.

  1. Becky Mills Reply

    I enjoyed reading this, thank you.
    I am personally drawn to the idea of using a more “outcome thinking” approach, and specifically like the fact it uncovers your true motives for achieving the goal.

    • Jacqueline Post authorReply

      Thanks Becky. This is a useful process to follow and I hope you find it useful.

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