If you set goals, you know about the SMART model. If you have not heard of this model before, it is a simple structure to help you create them.
The SMART Model:
The most common version of this model, and indeed the one that I was taught, is.
- Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous
- Measurable: With particular criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal
- Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve
- Realistic: Within reach
- Timely: A clearly defined timeline includes starting and target dates. The purpose is to create urgency.
This model makes setting your goals so much easier by having a simple structure to follow, but there is more to a goal than just putting them on a piece of paper.
Goal Setting strategies should make you think about your goals and explore their reasons. It should not just be a writing exercise; it should be thought-provoking. You need to identify the real reasons behind the goal and what could stop you from getting the desired results; it’s like peeling back an onion.
I want to suggest a slight tweak to this process to improve how you assess and process them.
Realistic vs Relevant
The words we use can be compelling both positively and negatively. Before focusing on mindset and performance coaching, I started my journey in supporting others by training in hypnotherapy, NLP, and EFT (Emotional freedom techniques). I was fascinated by how words could have a powerful effect on my recovery from a debilitating illness or how it motivated me or stalled my progress.
This is why I think you should replace realistic with relevant. The definition of realistic is “representing things in a way that is accurate and true to life”, which is very important to do, especially when setting goals.
The problem with this is that your reality determines the beliefs you are creating at that moment in time which may not necessarily be accurate.
What I mean by that is that your self-esteem and self-confidence will develop filters that will have a massive reflection on your realistic goals.
- You could have received some negative feedback.
- Recently lost a client that shook your confidence.
- Or are you having issues with a significant relationship?
These altered beliefs may cause you to lower your expectations and change your goals due to them adjusting your realistic filter.
However, a few months ago, you probably would have set very different goals when all was great and running smoothly.
This means that your goals become distorted, and so will your motivation to achieve them. By replacing realistic with relevant to the framework, you no longer focus on your abilities but instead assess your goals from an ecological point of view.
- Are you setting this goal because you want to or your partner thinks you should?
- Why does setting this goal feels right to you?
- Is this truly a goal you want to achieve?
- Does this goal fit your lifestyle?
You can create more valuable goals by exploring the relevance than whether it is realistic, but that is just one element of achieving your goals. You may have to work on other areas of your life as well, but that’s for another day.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How will this goal make my life better?
- Is this goal going to affect critical relationships, and how?
- Why have I chosen this goal?
- Can I commit time to this goal?
- Can I balance the time with my family/partner to achieve this goal?
The questions above will get you started in exploring the relevance of how the goal will fit in your current life. If you would like any assistance with planning and goal achieving support, please reach out.