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SMART, SMARTER, or SMARTEST: What Kind of Goals Would You Like to Achieve?

When it comes to setting goals, chances are you’ve heard about the importance of setting goals that are SMART, that is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. If you’re able to answer each of the following questions in the affirmative, you’ll know you’ve set a goal that’s SMART: 

Specific – Does your goal use action words to state what you want to achieve and how you intend to achieve it?

Measurable – Does your goal use metrics to specify how you will track your progress and how you will know that you’ve achieved your goal?

Achievable – Is your goal within your span of control and possible for you to accomplish?

Relevant – Does your goal make sense to you and your unique set of circumstances, including your priorities?

Time-bound – Does your goal specify a date by which, or timeframe within which, you expect to accomplish it?

While setting SMART goals is great, setting SMARTER goals is even greater! So, in addition to setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, why not set goals that are also Energizing and Rewarding?

Energizing – Is your goal something that you genuinely want for yourself? In other words, does your goal align with your life’s vision, mission (also known as your life purpose), and values (please see my article, entitled How to Live an Integrated Life, for more on this topic)?

Rewarding – Does your goal involve the receipt of something that is of value to you, e.g., a cash prize for superior performance?

While setting SMARTER goals is even greater than setting SMART goals, setting the SMARTEST goals of all is greater still! So, in addition to setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, and Energizing, why not set goals that are also Self-reinforcing (rather than simply Rewarding) and Transformative?

Self-reinforcing – Does your goal involve the generation of positive emotions, e.g., the sense of pleasure experienced while engaging in a particular activity, the feeling of pride that accompanies a job well done, or the “helper’s high” (stemming from a rush of endorphins) that results from offering others assistance?

Transformative – Does accomplishing your goal offer the potential to realize a meaningful and lasting change in you and/or your life circumstances?

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