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I have quite a few friends that SWEAR by SMART goals.  I don’t know that I was ever a SMART goal disciple.  But, I have definitely encouraged people to use them in my videos, webinars, my group coaching and 1-on-1.

While many of the elements of SMART goals make sense and work, there are some elements that have always caused me pause.  When I came down the the word “Relevant” or “Realistic”, the question “to WHO?” always lurked in the back of my mind.  Who is to say that my goal is realistic or not?  And if someone else DOES get to say, WHY do THEY get to say it and not me?  Then, if everything that everyone did was realistic, would we ever attempt to challenge ourselves or do anything different?  That’s the thing about dreams and dreamers….they are rarely “realistic.”

As I asked these questions, I began to create some answers based on the areas that did not work for me.  I incorporated thoughts based on my own barriers to achievement and came up with a different list of goal achieving elements.  I went from SMART goals to START goals.

S – Specific
It has to be clean, clear and immediately understandable by ANYONE who sees it or hears it. [Ex. I will make 50 calls everyday this month with the intention of acquiring 5 new clients by the 31st] Some people don’t like to lock themselves in this way. That’s fine. This is for me. But, I’ll let you borrow it if you really want to.

T – Trackable
I like to say that you should put a number to it. How many times? By when? How frequently? You need to know whether or not you have reached the goal. If you haven’t reached it, then you should know pretty easily and quickly, how much further you have to go.

(Here’s where I start to get a little different)

A – Actionable
Some people set goals that are dependent upon external factors. “My goal is to get 10 new clients this year”. That’s a fine goal….except for the fact that the potential client also has to make the decision to work with you. You have absolutely no control over that. You can only control things like the number of times you call, the follow-up systems that you can create and the way that you communicate. So, your goal should be actionable. YOU should be able to be executing the action. YOU should be able to DO this thing without external input.

R – Responsible
You are responsible. You and only you should be able to take responsibility for this goal and the actions associated. It is not up to anyone else. It doesn’t depend on the economy. It doesn’t depend on whether or not the stars line up. It doesn’t depend on what the Nielsen ratings are. It doesn’t matter how many people RSVP. You are responsible.

I’ll be honest. This was one of my biggest pitfalls. I set goals in the future. I planned to begin working out on the 1st and today was the 16th. If you have a goal, there MUST be something that you can do toward the goal TODAY. Create SOMETHING that will push you closer to the goal TODAY and get in action on it TODAY!! Create the mental pathway by performing and ACHIEVING progress TODAY! I don’t know the statistics, but I can tell you that many of the best intentions never get started because the goal and the start date are both set in the future and nothing is done towards the goal. Other things get in the way and the goal fizzles. Get moving on it TODAY. Immediate ACTION creates IMMEDIATE progress.


What works for you?  How do you think about and accomplish your goals?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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