Taking S.M.A.R.T. Goals One Step Further

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You’re probably familiar with the concept of S.M.A.R.T. Goals – you may even have tried them and discovered that they worked well … or maybe you struggled to formulate your S.M.A.R.T. Goals properly and gave up.

A S.M.A.R.T. Goal is:

  • Specific – clearly stated in precise terms
  • Measurable – you can tell if you have achieved it or not
  • Achievable – it is possible
  • Realistic – not only is it possible, it is possible for you given your circumstances
  • Timely – there is a date attached to it

When you’re setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals you don’t want to try to set too many at a time because your unconscious mind will get confused [Unconscious Mind] – and also you will probably get lazy in your goal setting process.  It’s much better to create 2-3 well-formed goals than 8-10 sloppy ones, but sometimes we get carried away by our desire to create change in several areas of our lives all at once.

One thing that often gets people confused when they’re setting goals is that they mistake a state or value for a goal.  Happiness, for example, is not a goal – it’s a state.  It could be part of a well-formed goal if you thought about it like this:-

I want to be happy …

I would be happy if my relationship with my spouse/partner involved more conversation …

I will plan to have 2 hours together talking about important things or doing projects with the TV turned off every Tuesday and Thursday …

After 2 months we should be communicating much more deeply about things that matter.

You do have to think about the specific change that equate to realising your goal, and the steps you will take to get there.

Active Visualisation Makes S.M.A.R.T. Goal-Setting Truly Powerful

The thing that really makes S.M.A.R.T. Goals dynamite is actively visualising the outcome using as many senses as possible.  Feel the satisfaction, hear the roar of approval, smell that new car smell …  The more clearly you can experience the emotion that is linked to your success, the more likely you are to achieve the goal.  If it doesn’t seem real to you, the chances are you won’t achieve it.

Posting pictures of your desired outcomes in plain view will really help keep you motivated and on-target.  So find pictures of the holiday you want, your dream home, the relationships you want to enjoy, the people you want to help and put them on your walls, your computer, or in a notebook that you keep nearby and you’ll be amazed at how many wonderful things happen in your life.

Your Amazing Magical Mind

Studies in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) show that when we send very clear messages to our unconscious mind about what we want, it helps us get where we are trying to go.  Your brain is a very powerful and amazingly complex structure and it influences your behaviour at many, many levels.  Science has hardly begun to tap the power of your mind to direct your life but there is no denying its almost magical powers.  The thing we really need to do is set up the conditions and then get out of the way.

Evidence Procedure for S.M.A.R.T. Goals

So, you’ve set a goal, and thoroughly visualised your successful accomplishment by harnessing all your 5 senses.  Now you need to to set out your evidence procedure.

How will you know you’ve reached the goal? – Make this as specific and concrete as possible.  Whether it’s an action like booking your ticket for Hawaii, or boarding the plane, or information like a specific sum of money in your bank account, or even a signed contract.  Be sure you can say, “When this particular thing happens, my goal has been reached.”

Then set 3 intermediate milestones which will tell you that you are on target.  Make them just as specific as your final goal because they will be your progress markers along the way.  Use pictures for these as well.

  1. What is my goal?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  2. What is my 1st Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  3. What is my 2nd Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?
  4. What is my 3rd Milestone?
    How will I know that I’ve reached it?

If you follow this process thoroughly and focus on 2-3 goals at a time, you can’t help seeing dramatic changes unfold in  your life.  Start with just a single goal – something you really, really want and see what happens.


Meta Description:  S.M.A.R.T. Goals are a great way of giving your unconscious mind directions, but making them truly visceral adds a whole new dimension to their achievability.

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