Are your goals SMART? Are they really?

goals

“I’m ready to bust through my self-limiting beliefs on this!” said my client with so much enthusiasm that I almost didn’t have the heart to challenge his thinking.

Almost.

Because that’s my job after all – to challenge thinking. To question what seems like “right answers.” To hold up the mirror of truth so that people can see their reflection more clearly.

So I did.

“Oh you mean the self-limiting belief that you have a weakness in this area, and that you’re not really good at… ?”

“Yes, yes! I’m tired of believing that I can’t be great at this thing. I can, and I will!”

<deep breath… remembering what my job is… and knowing that what I’m about to say is not going to be met with joy… >

“Ok, at what cost?”

“Huh? What do you mean at what cost??” – he was starting to get a little angry.

<time for humor>

“I mean what if I told you that I was sick and tired of my self-limiting belief that I can’t do my own business taxes and need to hire an accountant. Dammit, I’m smart enough to study up on tax law and figure things out. I probably won’t even need to shut down my business to become a tax expert. I can do it in my spare time. Nights and weekends – I’ll take courses, read books, and get really good at this. So what if I don’t see my family… don’t exercise… don’t read and write… don’t have any time other than to work, sleep, eat and become a competent accountant. I can do this! I don’t have to let my self-limiting beliefs hold me back!!”

He laughed. He got it.

“Ok, so maybe some limiting beliefs and weaknesses are fine. So maybe I don’t have to become good at everything.”

“That’s right. You don’t. You shouldn’t.”

 

We shouldn’t fix all of our weaknesses. We shouldn’t chase every goal.

Because there’s a cost to every single goal we pursue, isn’t there? And while some of those goals and those costs are so worth it, others are not.

Our time is not in infinite supply. Our efforts are not in infinite supply.

So it’s important to be really smart about the goals we choose for ourselves.

 

A different model

Unlike the typical explanation of the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound), I’ve made up this one:

S – Spellbinding. Does it capture your heart/soul/mind? Does it fascinate you?

M – Matter. Does it matter that you’re the one who does this, or can it be done by someone else?

A – Action-driven. Can you take daily action on this goal to move it forward?

R – Responsible. Can you pursue this goal while being responsible to all the values and people you hold dear?

T – Triumphant. Will you feel triumphant when you accomplish it? Will you have achieved or created something that really matters to you?

 

Using those filters, let’s take a look at four potential goals I might have –

  1. Becoming a tax law expert
  2. Running a marathon
  3. Writing a book
  4. Creating a conference specifically for executive couples

The first one clearly fails along most of the categories. It doesn’t fascinate me at all. It doesn’t matter whether I do it or my CPA does it (actually it does matter – she’s much more qualified/capable/interested/willing). Yes, I could take daily actions, but not in a manner that would feel responsible to the values and people I hold dear, and certainly not something that I would feel triumphant about.

But 2, 3 and 4? Well, they all have elements of SMART in them. Maybe not this year, since I’m pursuing other goals, but I can certainly apply my SMART framework to them and see how I might want to make them happen in the future.

Goals are a very personal thing. What feels spellbinding to some, will bore others. What matters that it be done by us (vs. outsourced or delegated) will vary from situation to situation. Responsible and consistent actions will vary from life to life. And triumph can only be felt/described on a uniquely personal level.

 

Limits and weaknesses

So back to the concept of self-limiting beliefs or weaknesses… I say, bring them on! And only invest in fixing them if they’re truly hindering your ability to be the person/partner/parent/leader/contributor you’re striving to become.

What have you come to realize that you’re not so good at? And how important is it to invest time and effort in improving it (vs. outsourcing, delegating or letting it go)?
We’re all works-in-progress, but let’s be SMART about the work that we undertake.

 

Featured On

featured on tv

Testimonials

Irina has a gift that few have – the ability to truly listen. She has an innate ability to respond to a client’s needs almost imperceptibly. She could tell immediately what kind of mood I was in, where my mind was and what I wanted and needed to focus on.
C.S., Writer
I had no idea how much I would benefit from coaching with Irina. Not only has my business improved, but I am a better husband, father and happier man, as a result of our work together. Her wisdom, support and consistent pushing in the right direction gave me exactly what I needed to reach my goals and create more balance, confidence and success. This is one of the best investments I have ever made. The ROI far exceeded my expectations!
R.F., Management Consultant
Irina is a soul-stirrer. She uses her coaching talents to motivate, inspire and support. She is genuine and generous – pure love. Cannot thank her enough…
A.W., Television News Anchor
Irina has truly helped me change my perspective and my approach to work and life. I have come to fully embrace the reality that I am the captain of my own ship and am now confidently charting a positive course forward. I really appreciated Irina’s warm, supportive, yet honest and assertive approach. I felt I was in very good hands throughout my time with her, and was able to quickly establish a deep level of trust with her. I highly recommend her as a coach!
T.D., Administration Director
Irina completely changed my life. She sets such high expectations for her clients that you won’t want to let her – or yourself – down. She opened me up to new perspectives, challenged me, and held me accountable until I started to take steps to live more intentionally. Thanks to Irina, I have gained such momentum that I will never stop!
J.L., Administrator
Irina’s upbeat personality is contagious. She’s smart and creative with her coaching, and expertly moves from playful to serious, with great results.
L.W., Pharmaceutical Sales Director
I’m finally understanding what I want and going after it! I feel empowered and productive in a way that I haven’t for a really long time. Thank you!!!
K.G., Healthcare executive
The skills I learned with Irina will be invaluable in nearly all aspects of my life, and I wish I had thought to engage in the process before things got out of control. Bottom line: no matter where you are or what’s going on, working with Irina will help you be more deliberate and empower you with the skills of resiliency, compassion and honesty you’ll need when life throws you for a loop.
I.M., Director & VP, Higher Education
More balance, more confidence, more financial success and better relationships… I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you!
J.T., VP of Financial Services Firm