Don’t Set SMART Goals, Set Big Ones
Productivity experts often say that people fail to reach their goals because they haven't made them practical enough. This advice always rounds at the beginning of the year during resolution time. You may have heard the acronym SMART in relation to goal-setting — this means they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
I completely disagree.
One of the main reasons people don't reach their goals isn't because they're not realistic enough — it's because the reward isn't big enough.
The Right Goals
We need to rekindle our ability to dream. Forget losing a few pounds or reading a certain number of pages a day — set a goal that inspires you. Get outside your comfort zone. Think about what you truly desire and go after it. There's nothing wrong with taking small steps, but you are capable of so much more than small goals.
Maybe your dream goal feels completely unrealistic. That's OK! You don't immediately need to know how to achieve it. When we're excited by our goals, not only do we feel more alive, but life will support us as we take steps toward them.
By choosing a goal that's bigger than yourself, you're acknowledging that you don't have all the answers. You're acknowledging that you need serendipity and the help of other people, and that takes some of the burden off of you. It's not just about the things you already know, it's also about what you'll learn along the way.
Look at this as a chance to grow into your future self. Whenever you're not sure what to do next, ask yourself how you can grow into the kind of person who would achieve your goal. From that perspective, you'll find the way.
Lean Into the Unknown
One of the best methods of befriending uncertainty is to stand with a project you dream about and get that to be your teacher.
You'll learn that the unknown doesn't have to be scary; instead, it can be exhilarating.
So the next time you're asked to set a small, realistic goal, try thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool if…?" Whatever fills in the blank for you is worth chasing. Don't worry about whether it's specific or measurable or achievable — worry about whether it truly lights a fire within you.
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