A Different Definition
It’s probably unsurprising that, as financial planners, we believe in the importance of goal setting. We shared a piece on the topic of goal setting titled Identify, Implement, and Achieve where we offered the SMART goal methodology as one way to help you define your goals. As a reminder, SMART goals are traditionally defined as being: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Goals drafted under this methodology often inspire great clarity and focus. But for some, this theory stifles creativity and motivation – limiting the vision for your unique Live Big® life. Why does this happen? Carol Anderson, founder and Vice President of Money Quotient, believes that the traditional SMART goals methodology makes, “Goals become a list of ‘shoulds’ that require [one] to be disciplined and methodical in order to reach their objectives.”1 In other words, they lack emotion, meaning, and connection.
As an alternative, Carol offers a “more inspiring framework”1 for goal setting in her article titled “When SMART Goals Are Not Always Wise”. Instead of setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely, Carol suggests setting goals that are:
- Significant: “Goals that resonate with what is most important to you will keep you motivated and bring joy to your journey as you move toward your objectives.”
- Meaningful: “Oftentimes individuals set goals based on what others—parents, employers, teachers, society—view as important. However, to be truly inspiring and satisfying, your goals must align with your own values and priorities. Only then will your goals be “full of meaning” for you!”
- Attracting: “When your goals are both significant and meaningful to you, they will create a positive image that will draw you toward that which you want to experience and achieve. You won’t have to rely on pure grit and determination to achieve your goals, but rather the clear vision of what you want in your life will focus your intention and guide your decisions on a day to day basis.”
- Rewarding: “Sometimes we don’t make progress toward our goals because, consciously or subconsciously, we are still weighing the costs and benefits of making this commitment. An honest appraisal of this inner conflict can bring clarity to the goal setting process. We are more likely to move toward goals that bring us a clear sense of reward along the journey as well as in reaching the destination.”
- Timely: “Do you have the time required to commit to a specific goal? In embarking on this journey, is the timing right for you? In considering these questions, it is important to realize that some goals should have specific target dates and others should not.”
Like many aspects of financial planning, goal setting is a uniquely personal experience. Whether it’s the traditional SMART methodology, this emotions-focused alternative, or something else, we’d love to engage with you in a goal setting exercise to help you achieve your Live Big life. Please don’t hesitate to connect with us!
- Anderson, Carol. When SMART Goals Are Not Always Wise. Money Quotient. September 26, 2018. https://www.moneyquotient.com/blog/when-smart-goals-are-not-always-wise/