I love goals but what I don’t love are S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound), even though they have long been a popular framework for goal-setting. I’ve created my own process that has helped me use my own intuition as a guide to creating goals that feel aligned.
And I know I am not the only one that finds the rigid structure of S.M.A.R.T. goals doesn’t always work for them, or that it can lead to a focus on short-term achievements rather than long-term growth. I wanted to share some alternatives to S.M.A.R.T. goals, so you could find the approach that works best for you!
Let’s talk about my process – it doesn’t have an acronym or anything but it’s a framework that combines the elements of intuition and strategy.
- Write a letter that is dated 1 year in advance and then write what you’ve accomplished during that year. It’s important to free write and not censor yourself in this process.
- Read through your letter and highlight or circle what can be identified as a goal – whether this is to start a business, create a coloring book, or even write a book or start hiking every weekend.
- Take a piece of paper and create 3 columns and title them Be, Do, and Have, and then write the appropriate goals in each column.
- Tune in with yourself to decide when you want to achieve these goals and give yourself a deadline and then create an action plan accordingly.
I’ve created a quick 5-part video series for you to check out here with some other resources.
But my process isn’t the only alternative to S.M.A.R.T. goals here are a few more ways that you could set goals for your life and business:
W.O.O.P. (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) is a goal-setting framework developed by psychologist Gabriele Oettingen. W.O.O.P. goals involve four steps:
- Wish: Identify a specific, challenging, and meaningful goal.
- Outcome: Visualize the positive outcome of achieving your goal.
- Obstacle: Identify the internal or external obstacles that could get in the way of achieving your goal.
- Plan: Create a plan to overcome the obstacles and achieve your goal.
W.O.O.P. goals can be particularly helpful for people who tend to get stuck on the dreaming or planning stages of goal-setting, as it encourages both visualization and practical problem-solving.
G.R.O.W. (Goal, Reality, Options, Way forward) is a coaching framework that can be applied to personal or professional goal-setting. The four stages of G.R.O.W. goals are:
- Goal: Identify a specific and meaningful goal.
- Reality: Evaluate your current situation and identify any obstacles or challenges.
- Options: Brainstorm potential solutions or strategies.
- Way forward: Develop a plan and commit to taking action.
G.R.O.W. goals can be particularly helpful for people who are looking to explore a variety of options and perspectives when it comes to achieving their goals.
I.D.E.A. (Imagine, Design, Execute, Assess) is a goal-setting framework that emphasizes creativity and experimentation. The four stages of I.D.E.A. goals are:
- Imagine: Use your imagination to envision a bold and exciting goal.
- Design: Create a plan that incorporates creativity and experimentation.
- Execute: Take action and implement your plan.
- Assess: Evaluate your progress and adjust your plan as needed.
I.D.E.A. goals can be particularly helpful for people who want to challenge themselves to think outside the box and take risks in pursuit of their goals.
Values-based goal-setting involves identifying your core values and using them as a guide for setting goals that align with your priorities and beliefs. This approach can involve a variety of different goal-setting frameworks, but the key is to focus on goals that are meaningful and purposeful for you personally.
Values-based goal-setting can be particularly helpful for people who want to ensure that their goals align with their overall sense of purpose and identity.
Overall, while S.M.A.R.T. goals can be a helpful framework for goal-setting, they’re not the only approach out there. By exploring alternative frameworks like W.O.O.P., G.R.O.W., I.D.E.A., and values-based goal-setting, you can find an approach that works best for your individual needs and preferences.
A free resource library is a collection of digital resources I’ve compiled together. These resources include ebooks, worksheets, checklists, and other helpful materials.