Today, I will show you how to have success with SMART goal setting despite its setbacks. In a recent post, I wrote about why setting SMART goals does not work. If you haven’t read it yet check it out now!
Now it’s time to introduce the missing pieces which will allow you to set your goals the SMART+ way, reach them easily and have fun. Download our guide to effective SMART+ goal setting!
As I said in my post, SMART goal setting as such has proven to be effective in many cases, but there are caveats to avoid and there are a view missing pieces that will set you up for success when you add them to the mix.
Missing Piece #1: The WHY
Setting a goal and following through is always linked to personal effort. And sometimes things can get really tough. That’s when you will need a strong WHY to overcome the difficulties and continue no matter what.
To give you some examples:
You want to become a food blogger and your goal is to make a living out of this. You are blogging for 6 months and still find you have only 60 or so readers, your family included. That’s when you need a strong WHY. Perhaps you are doing it because you can’t stand people dying from not eating well. If you are sufficiently obsessed with this, you will make it and after another year you will reach your goal and have thousands of readers. Otherwise you will very probably give up and try the next thing, which might equally fail because you don’t have your strong WHY.
Or did you ever run a marathon? If yes, you know that you will need a strong WHY to take on a year of regular training, running 50 or 70 kilometres per week. It’s not on the sunny, but on the rainy days that you need a strong WHY to follow through no matter what and end up running your marathon.
So, ask yourself, WHY would I do this and then find a reason strong enough to make you want to overcome all the obstacles that the future will invariably throw at you.
Missing Piece #2: Action Steps
Pablo Picasso said: “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
Or to put it this way: Having a goal is great but without action nothing will happen.
Motivational trainers will often tell you to take massive action after you set your goal, like throw away all your clothes if you want to lose weight or buy the house that you cannot afford just to motivate you to earn enough money. I am not a big fan of this kind of advice. Today, we live in a world where reaching your goals is not a question of life or death but rather of getting to a better place. That did change a lot from the world where the Greek burned all their ships after landing to assault Troy. So why should we still take this kind of massive life-threatening action and burn our ships?
Therefore, what I found works best is to lean into reaching a new goal. And how do you do this? You set small action steps which will invariable lead you to your goal. And then, and this is very important, make a habit out of doing one action step each and every day.
Missing Piece #3: Ecology check
Has Christian gone crazy? What has the green party, climate change and all this stuff to do with goal setting?
Well, let me explain. It’s not the nature that this is about, but about the NLP definition of ecology. In fact, you have your own environment which is created by your beliefs, your values, your connections to the people that surround you, what is important to you and what is not and many other things. Checking your goal and your actions against all these topics, that is called ecology check. This is a great way to assure yourself that when reaching your goal or doing whatever it takes to reach it you do not find yourself in a place you never wanted to be. Or that your subconscious protects you from going there and you wonder why you do not reach that juicy goal.
To give you an example: You hear from people that driving a big SUV is a sign of economic success. So, you set the goal to earn enough money to do this. Now if you reach this goal with ease depends if driving a big SUV fits into your personal ecology. If you are concerned about climate change, driving a big SUV might not fit into your ecology and you will have trouble reaching your goal.
Same is true for reaching any goal. If you believe that to reach this goal you must do things that are simply unacceptable for you or if the goal itself is unacceptable, then you will have trouble reaching it, because you will start sabotaging yourself without even recognising it.
Now be careful. Your ecology is nothing which is set in stone, but it is evolving every day. You meet new people or make experiences that change your beliefs or the things you find acceptable or unacceptable.
Therefore, when you check the ecology of your goal and the action steps look carefully at the result. You might want to consider changing your ecology and not your goal if you find that both diverge.
Now its your turn!
Download our SMART+ guide and try it out. I would love to hear from you how it works. I do answer all the questions and remarks personally and I would be more than happy to help you to reach your goals.
Download our SMART+ guide (now in the updated version!) now and try it out! This workbook will help you to formulate your goal perfectly within 5 minutes.
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Please write your feedback it in the comments! As you already know, I answer all questions personally.