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Why SMART Goals Are A Bit Boring & How To Set Them Instead For Max Results

Written by: Maya Zack, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Maya Zack sharing her SMART goals

I’m sure you’ve heard of setting SMART goals to help you hit them. Now I don’t know about you – but even though this model makes complete sense and suggests some definitely useful criteria, I never found it exciting enough to actually use it to get me going. It can provide some clarity too, sure. But all that on its own doesn’t drive you, doesn’t light up that fire that’s gonna get you to take action. It’s just a bit…dry.

Happy women getting inspiration about SMART goals

So what’s more awesome than SMART goals? AWESOME goals

While this does share some factors with SMART goals, it offers a fuller and more exciting way to look at setting a goal, focusing on it & actually getting there.

A: Actionable & achievable

Have a strategy and know the steps you’re going to be taking to make it happen.

Habits lead to results. As you take action consistently, you naturally arrive at your destination. So while you absolutely need to know where you’re going, focus on the process; on the success habits that’ll get you there rather than the end result that can feel overwhelming and sometimes even out of reach.

So for example, if you’re a business owner, instead of focusing on ‘making X amount of money’ in the next 6 months, you could say ‘put in 2 hours a day connecting with potential clients’ or ‘work on my PR 3 hours a week’.

Plan your time! Get rid of that never-ending to-do list and schedule both your tasks as well as your new wanted habits in your planner at a set time. Then, stick to that commitment, whether a task is completed or not. This way, all these build and add up to completing all your tasks, instead of getting lost in one thing while other things being on hold, causing confusion and overwhelm again.

You can always schedule what’s not been completed for the next day or week. But make sure it’s planned in advance – so that as you sit down to work, there’s no need for ‘decision making’ – you simply & easily follow the plan.

W: Worthy

Your goal has to fit your values & purpose in order for you to bother. Not to fit in with others’ expectations, but what’s important to you!

So often I come across people starting or running a business who, when properly questioned, realise they’re going after stuff that would never be their own choice to put all that time, effort and energy into had they not felt some kind of pressure to live up to that.

This kind of decision making sets you up for failure – either by not achieving the goals because you’re too stressed or burnt out, or by achieving them but then not feeling the fulfilment you were hoping for.

So make sure your goals are yours. Question what’s driving you, and be brutally honest with yourself. This will help you commit to your goals.

Commitment is far more important than motivation. This is because motivation naturally goes up and down sometimes. This can be due to the kind of results you’ve been getting, your energy levels, world affairs, your personal life, how cold it is outside and whether you had a your perfect cup of coffee this morning…

So 100% consistent motivation is a myth. But when you’re fully committed, you can accept this fact, and you can then allow yourself to experience those down moments without going completely off track.

This lessened pressure while trusting & sticking to the process means there’s less resistance and you won’t be beating yourself up when not feeling up for it (which causes you to ‘punish’ yourself by doing even less). Allowing things to be, you’ll soon enough be experiencing another motivation kick and this kind of allowing of things to flow back and forth actually leads to more action.

E: Expansive

Your goals might feel uncomfortable and that’s OK. It’s because they’ll require your personal-growth to open up new & exciting possibilities.

This means willing to feel challenged, face fears and go outside and expand beyond what you’re used to. We often focus on the external outcomes, but the truth is that your goals will probably require some inner changes that’ll allow you to build those new habits, take new action or risks and become that person who’s achieved what you want.

So it’s essential you do the mindset work. Achieving goals is all about your mindset yet so many people just jump in without setting up those basics.

  • Make it one of your habit-goals to be more self-aware, become more in charge of your thinking & feeling. Identify any fears, blocks or inner obstacles. Work on any conflicting beliefs you might have and pay attention to your self-talk. Whether it’s meditation, self-hypnosis, visualisations & affirmation work or getting professional support, schedule some mindset work into your planned calendar on a regular basis, even if it’s just 5 mins a day – that'll keep you on track.

  • Another thing to do is, as best you can, is to let go of needing to achieve the goal. This might sound odd to you, because you obviously want it. But paradoxically, the more attachment to stuff you want, the more resistance it creates. This is because it sends your mind the message of ‘not having’, since you don’t want to get stuff you already have, right?

So consciously, you set up positive intentions while subconsciously you build a ‘negative charge’ of frustration or feeling of lack. Then you take action out of that negative mindset. Less attachment, means less pressure and more feeling of ‘already having’ – and this leads to less resistance to taking the needed action.

It’s somewhat of a fine art – but it’s about balancing your goal with acceptance of where you are now.

S: Specific

You’ve got to be super clear on what you want to create. You can’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going.

Although it’s good to focus on the success-habits or process, you still need to have a very clear big-picture end result. The more specific the better for the mind to both work towards it and be able to plan how you’re going to get there.

  • Once you know exactly where your destination is, break it down to small, tangible & specific short-term steps & outcomes, and remember to mostly focus on habits & action goals. The clearer and more detailed the better and these prevent overwhelm.

  • An often overlooked factor that’s actually hugely important is to focus on becoming that ‘future you’ who’s already achieved your goals. So you also need to be very specific about the kind of person you’re going to be as someone who’s already overcome the challenges, and about how you’ll be thinking and feeling and what kind of beliefs you’ll have having gotten to where you wanted.

Doing this, you’ll create the inner resources & strength you need. You’ll be bringing to life the internal conditions that make things possible and achieve the external results.

O: Open

While being clear & specific on your goals is necessary, you also need to be open and allow flexibility.

Being stubborn about exactly when & how results will show up can create unnecessary pressure & resistance, as well as feelings of failure when things don’t progress according to plan.

Focusing on the process with the vision in mind is the way to go.

  • When: sure, it’s good to have some sort of time-frame, but as you focus on the success habits that’ll gradually make things happen, drop your attachment to when exactly it’s all going to manifest. And be patient – allow things to take time, because they will. Be open to things unfolding naturally – while of course continuing to do what it takes. Appreciate even your smallest progress and tiniest steps you’ve taken to move forward

  • How: keep yourself open as you can to different options, possibilities and opportunities – these might come up as you keep focused on your habits, and might offer you unexpected routes to getting to where you want or surprising shapes and forms of it. Be willing to change paths.

Sometimes our goals are there not to necessarily achieve them, but to set us off in the right direction for us.

M: Motivating

Remind yourself of the stuff that sets you on fire, of your Worthy factor, to keep you committed & in action while also seeking out inspiration from others.

  • Whether by listening to podcasts or interviews, reading about or engaging with other people who are killing it or you look up to – make time for that, regularly. Just make sure you’re not comparing yourself to others in a way that makes you feel like you’ll never achieve what they have. This can obviously cause you to lose motivation. So only make ‘positive’ comparisons – those that inspire you and show you what’s possible for you!

  • Accept moments of low motivation while keeping to your commitment. Paradoxically this leads to more rather than less motivation.

And when you do find yourself feeling resistance, it can help to focus on just this moment. Sometimes thinking of the bigger picture of having to continue a success-habit ‘forever’ is too much to handle. So focus only on this one time. Take the action, just today, just for now.

E: Evocative

The stronger the positive feelings your goal brings up, the more motivating it is AND the more you already begin embodying the inner change that’ll be needed to achieve what you want.

Everything you’re after (as well as everything you’re afraid of and want to avoid) is actually a feeling, not an object or even an experience. This is because ultimately, your overall experience & perspective of life is what’s happening in your inner world, how you feel about stuff, not a situation.

  • So ask yourself – what exactly would achieving your goal do for you? What about it makes you want it? Is it a feeling of security? Worthiness? Freedom? Excitement? Love? Peace & calm? That’s the ultimate goal. So focus on that feeling – the more you can create it already now while in the process, the more easily you’ll experience this ‘end result’ AND the more likely you are to keep up your commitment.

  • Other than the end ‘reward’, again, it’s also important to focus on becoming the future you who’s taking the action. Clarify & concentrate on the feelings that future version of you is experiencing as they’re in the process. Is it feeling confident? Bold? Focused or clear?

Bringing these up along with your external goal, you’ll be creating more of these feelings already now, that’ll get the external outcome you want.

Success happens from the inside out!

And you’ve got goals around setting up your own business or you’re struggling to move forward from your early stages, you can use this Mindset Tracking Guide that’ll break down the 11 business mindset areas you need to be aware of to make your goals happen and to identify exactly where you’re at with each, what blocks you might currently be facing and clarify exactly where to aim for next.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Maya!

Contributor Maya Zack sharing her SMART goals

Maya Zack, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Maya Zack is an award-winning personal development & mindset coach, peak performance specialist and hypnotherapist.

Based in the UK, she works internationally, mainly with women entrepreneurs as well as with businesses to create high-performance teams that aim to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

She helps business owners, leaders and teams free themselves from mental & emotional habits or blocks that prevent them from experiencing more success or slow it down. She has developed her unique signature 8-week step-by-step mindset makeover programs for aspiring as well as already established entrepreneurs that change thinking & feeling patterns on the deepest, subconscious level, reprogramming their minds for success so that new habits & behaviours quickly become automatic and effortless.

She believes it’s so important to our lives, joy and fulfilment to be doing what we love and daring to go for it regardless of the outcome. So many are held back by fear and she wants to change that. She believes success happens from the inside out alongside mindset mastery, and that as humans with imagination, we have the incredible capacity to become free, powerful creators of ourselves and our lives.



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