Forget SMART Goals – They’re Not So Smart After All

I used to be all about SMART goals, but I’ve officially abandoned my fandom and I suggest anyone who will listen to forget SMART goals. The SMART goal-setting framework is endorsed by many renowned business leaders as an infallible method to achieve any goal and increase your productivity.

What Are SMART Goals?

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that provides five attributes of an effective goal:

The S in SMART stands for Specific ~ your goal must not be vague or ambiguous.
The M in SMART means Measurable ~ your goal must be stated in a way that lets you know the results have been achieved. It’s all about numbers and percentages!
The A in SMART stands for Attainable (or Achievable) ~ your goal must be within reach.
The R in SMART means Realistic (or Relevant) ~ your goal must be connected to and relative to other goals.
The T in SMART stands for Time-bound ~ your goal must have a deadline, a clear start and end date, and a fixed duration.

A SMART Goal may sound like this:

“I will have 100,000 in my savings account by 5:00 pm, September 30th, 2016”

I have set many SMART goals in my life, and while they sound really smart and writing them down is a great step toward achievement, I am no longer a fan.

Forget Smart Goals

I do believe that the gate to success is being clear about what you want and defining what success means to you, but I also believe we must engage more than our left brain to set our goals.

Most of us are conditioned to believe that right brain activities are less valuables, and we’re not encouraged to tap into our six mental faculties. The S.M.A.R.T. goal framework is very efficient, but without the proper perspective, it may stifle our creativity, stunt the pursuit of lofty goals, and prevent healthy risk-taking.

Based on my work with thousands of moms, my research, and study over the years, I’m proposing we set BOLD goals.

BOLD means “showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.” BOLD is translated as “audaz” in Spanish.

Set bold goals

Here’s what my B.O.L.D. acronym stands for:

B is for “beyond your circumstances” so you aim for high goals and tap into your potential.
O is for “outside of your comfort zone” so you set goals that stretch you to grow.
L is for “love-centered” so you set goals that reflect the life you would love to live.
D is for “designed for daily progress” so your goals can set you up for joy in the journey.

I pray that this concept excites you as much as it does me. Let’s dive into it!

BOLD Goals are Beyond Your Circumstances

Remember when you were five years old? Five-year-old-girls (and boys) rarely dream of choosing a promising career and getting a 9-5 job with a steady salary. Five-year-old children set seemingly foolish, unrealistic, and unattainable goals… and many of them achieve them. These little ones are clear about what they want and understand God’s purpose of prospering His children and giving them a future.

You must ask for and believe so you may indeed receive what God has in store for you, but when you choose it from what we know and from what is actually happening in your life right now, you may sabotage your destiny and settle. We end up living a mediocre life and performing at a lower level than we are capable of.

We weren’t put on Earth to be SMART and play small. To quote Steve Jobs, we’re here to put a dent in the universe!

We're here to put a dent in the universe ~ Steve Jobs

When you set your goal, describe what you would consider your dream life, your ideal life. Your goal must reflect YOUR vision.

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2

Remember that when God gives you a vision, He gives you permission to pursue it, and provision to make it a reality. Don’t settle for what’s attainable in your understanding, write your hopes, dreams, and wishes. Write a vision that is ambitious, positive, and powerful, fit for a queen, an heiress of a Powerful Creator.

BOLD Goals are Outside of your Comfort Zone

Jack Canfield, one of my mentors, says that everything you want is on the other side of fear. A BOLD goal causes you to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone and grow. And with growing comes pain. In order to grow, you must have the courage to face your fears, to move past your need to comply and conform, and the pressure from people you admire and love. And as we move up and go farther, we leave much and many people behind.

BOLD goals require faith in that we are “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

After much research on how the human brain works, scientists agree that our subconscious creative mind will figure out how to get what we want once we decide what we want and commit to go for it.

When I think about getting married, becoming a mom, starting my own business, writing my first book, public speaking, organizing an event, and everything I am proud of doing, I can look back and feel how frightening and uncomfortable it is, yet I have become better for it.

The true reward of achieving a goals is the person we become in the process of its pursuit.

As Motivational philosopher Jim Rohn put it: “Set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.

Set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming - Jim Rohn quote

Although much of it could be measurable, tangible, and quantifiable, life mastery and success are more about what you learn, what you experience, the healthy risks you are proud you took, and what you can do to bless others.

BOLD Goals are Love-centered

BOLD goals express the most meaningful desires of your heart. They are based on what is really important to YOU, and not chosen out of others’ expectations, “shoulds” or “supposed to’s.

If you dig deep and  think about what you absolutely love, you will find what I like to call “your sparkle” or what happens as a result of you shining your light to the world.

In order to add love to the mix, I propose you add these three questions to your goal setting:

  • What would you love?
  • Who do you love?
  • Why?

When your goals include love for yourself and service to others, you will be more motivated to achieve them.

Take your SMART goal and ask yourself: Why? So what? Why does that matter to me?

You must become like a three-year-old and ask WHY until you reach an answer that bypasses the head and resonates with your heart.

For example, you may say your goal is to make money. Your SMART goal will tell you how much money and by when. Your BOLD goal will tell you what you’re really yearning for: security, freedom, peace, legacy for your posterity…

In those qualities lies your God-given purpose, because when you discover what you are truly seeking, you will be closer to creating it in your life. You will also be fired up to overcome any obstacle in your way and have the inner fuel to take any necessary step to achieve your dream. Love casts away all fear!

BOLD Goals are Designed For Daily Progress 

How do you eat a watermelon? One bite at a time.

Many people don’t set goals or share their goals because there’s a lot of built-in shame in goal-setting. “Measurable” becomes something you measure your worth against and suddenly you feel like a failure, like you didn’t try hard enough, or you aren’t good enough.

I always say that Progress Is Success because I see each day as a mini-lifetime.

A design is the “purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object.” and I believe we are so blessed to be able to make up and reinvent, and transform our lives with our choices… any day, in any given moment.

Sometimes you don’t make much progress, but we forget that slow progress is still progress. 

Sometimes we make lots of steady progress, but get a different result than we were hoping for.

Sometimes we achieve a goal and get what we wanted but feel empty and unfulfilled, like “Seriously? is this it?”

When we are focused on the destination and not on the journey, SMART goals can make us very miserable. Instead, when we focus on progress, we feel a sense of purpose and can find joy in the journey. Instead of feeling guilt, regret, and overwhelm, we can celebrate as we arrive at the different mile posts along the way.

Each day, you can ask yourself “What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?” And the answers can guide you to take BOLD actions toward the life you love, which will make you happy, regardless of the long-term outcome.

The pursuit of our goals becomes more enjoyable when we focus on the process of reaching the outcome. To that effect, according to the associate director of Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center, Heidi Grant Halvorson, it is better to rewrite our goals using words like improve, progress, develop, become and grow. For example, “I want to learn how to become great at motherhood” rather than “I want to be a great mom.” 

So what do you think about my goal-setting method? I am excited to see many moms rethink their goal setting strategy and make them BOLD and empowering rather than SMART and small. Share what you think about S.M.A.R.T. goals and B.O.L.D. goals below!

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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PS: The Passion Test is the world’s #1 tool for finding your passions and life purpose. I’d love to take you through The Passion Test so you can discover your Top 5 Passions and priorities in life!

34 thoughts on “Forget SMART Goals – They’re Not So Smart After All

  1. I really like your BOLD goals! I think we should all strive for them. For me, I use SMART goals on a daily basis but I also use something similar to BOLD goals (I just didn’t have a name for them.). My BOLD goals come first. And I allow those to change. I use SMART goals as short-term goals (really objectives) as the steps I need to take in order to reach my BOLD goals. By doing both steps, it allows me to plan the things that are more within my control (I will take and pass this class by this date) and then recognize the parts that are in God’s hands (I will meet this person).

  2. Steve Jobs was right, we were put on this earth to leave our mark. You don’t have to create Apple computers or the iPhone, but you can find set goals that let you be bold and smart.

  3. Ohhh MY GOODNESS I love Love Love This Post.

    Shall Is Share it as a Podcast Referencing your post by all means or do you wish to be interviewed and you share these BOLD Goals Elayna? Let me know via FB.

    Absolutely amazing. Every Child Should be encouraged to embrace these Types of goals. We would have more achievers than frustrated 9-5ers!

  4. This is great. Very insightful. I never really think about it but i LOVE being bold and getting out there and having bold goals!

  5. That makes a lot of sense, making smart goals will always be an easier choice because you know you can achieve it. But if you make a bold goal instead, you’re taking a risk and that’s what’s awesome about it, because it’s a learning experience as well as a space for growth!

  6. I like how you have everything down in steps. I love how you put BOLD goals too. I think it’s important for everyone to have some goals in life.

  7. I like the idea of reaching outside of your comfort zone. It’s important to do that to be able to reach more.

  8. I love it! I have always used smart goals as a way to set up my day. As for my long-term goals I don’t have a term for what I do, but I was once told to “dream big”. In my long-term goals I dream big and then use the smart goals to reach my big dream.

  9. Love your insight on this!!! BOLD seems less intimidating and more doable. I need to lead my goals this way – I’d like to accomplish them!

  10. I’m all about setting realistic goals that lead to the giant goal. That way I feel motivated to keep going because I accomplished something silly on the way to my giant goal! I must say it does work too. I completed all but one thing off of my vision board/ goals list I made in Jan by June 14th!

  11. I find the thought of BOLD goals very interesting indeed. It is so important we do set our goals realistically but I do like the fact of striving above what we think we can achieve. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on changing the goal setting from smart to bold.

  12. I definitely needed to read this as I have been thinking on setting smart goals, when in reality the reason for that thinking comes from the fact that I said yes to projects that took the time I need to move my personal goals forward. I’ve seen the results of the progress I’ve made and I stopped seeing results, when I stopped making progress daily. A good reminder for a hard-headed student. ¡Gracias!

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