Most experts agree that the expression of a goal or objective in clear, concise terms enhances the potential to achieve it. In goal setting the acronym SMART is perhaps the most well used process for structuring goals. It represents Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time related. The principle behind its use is that our conscious and particularly subconscious minds respond best to precise targets and instructions. This differentiates a definite goal from a vague wish or dream.

If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there.

In business or our personal lives, without a clear idea of success we are unable to monitor performance; neither can we measure improvement without knowing the starting point or objective. Imagine trying to lose weight without using scales, knowing how heavy you are to begin with or having an ideal figure to aim for. Or trying to improve a business indicator such as market share without a clear method of measuring progress.

In many years of studying and teaching goal setting and achievement however, there have been questions raised about the SMART acronym which has led to the development and use of a refined version within the Goals Workshop program which combines specially designed software, audio and a step by step guide book to maximise goal achievement.

Consider the following:

1. If goals must always be Realistic how is major progress ever made? Was going to the moon realistic at the time? Was the invention of the Internet realistic? Is it realistic to go from major debt to a millionaire in less than a year? The answers are probably no, yet they have all been goals which have been set and achieved. By stretching ourselves beyond what we think is possible we can often access undiscovered elements of our creativity and potential, or meet and utilise the talents and resources of others.

2. It has also been argued that Achievable and Realistic can mean the same thing. If a target is not achievable then it could be also described as unrealistic. By whose measure are we classifying Achievable? One of the purposes of setting and pursuing goals is to grow into the person we wish to become. Just because a goal seems unachievable in our current state of awareness and abilities, doesn’t mean it will always be so. However we must be able to believe that the goal is possible or it may have a demotivating effect. Therefore if we set huge goals on the edge of what we currently believe is possible then we should break the goal down into smaller steps which, when achieved, will create confidence and momentum.

3. Powerful goals should always be inspirational. Once we set a goal it is almost inevitable that challenges will appear in our path. Inspirational goals will provide the power and tenacity to overcome these obstacles. Consider the difference between a goal to lose 20lbs to drop a clothes size with losing the weight in preparation for a dream vacation, wedding or impending high school reunion!

4. To maintain balance in our lives it is advisable to set goals in each of the major areas, health, finances, relationships and so on. This is also true in business where the single minded pursuit of profit at the expense of customer service or product development may negatively impact the future of the organisation. Often however we can inadvertently set goals which are in conflict with each other. This conflict can lead to confusion in the mind and acts as a barrier to goal achievement. Consider a goal to increase salary from a promotion at work and how this may conflict with a goal to spend more time with the family. Not all goals are compatible yet to be effective, the ecology of each one, i.e. how it affects the bigger picture should be considered.

These important additional elements of Inspiration and Ecology lead us to form a new acronym for effective goal setting – SAMITE.

The Specific, Attainable and Measurable are maintained to provide clarity, focus and a means of measuring progress and success. We choose to believe that anything is attainable and that goals should not be limited by current ‘reality’.

Goals should also be Inspirational to engage the faculties of the subconscious and super conscious mind, through passion and enthusiasm. Goals should also have a Time element, whether these are end dates or check points for regular review and course adjustment. The final E represents Ecology and reminds us that we should examine our goals collectively for potential conflicts and consider the impact they have on ourselves and others.

When you apply the Goals Workshop SAMITE formula to goal setting you will discover the smarter way to achieve your goals.

Author's Bio: 

Daniel Britton is an author, youth coach and international speaker.
The Goals Workshop - represents a new approach to Goal Achievement, through the combination of specially designed software, audio and step by step guide book.