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2 Ways of Setting Goals Without Being SMART

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How to set goals

When you are looking to set your very first life goals and start to do some research, chances are, you’ll discover a method called the “SMART” goal setting strategy very early on. Sure, this is a great method that you can use in order to ensure each of the goals that you set can be achieved, but the SMART method can also be a little complicated for those who are not used to the entire process.

Furthermore, a lot of people are just looking for a way they can set up a few goals in the simplest way possible and then strive toward reaching them. The good news is that there is more than just one way to go about setting goals.

While the SMART method is certainly one of the more popular options that you can opt for, you can also go with any of the other options that people have developed and still be able to reach the goals you wish to achieve in life effectively.

Plus, if you’re used to the SMART method, introducing a few alternative methods often stimulates different thinking patterns, which in turn may expand your thinking or scope of goals!

Here are 2 Alternative Goal-Setting Strategies To the SMART Method:

1. Simple Goal Setting Strategy

First up is the easiest option that you can opt for if you wish to set goals without having to go through a time-consuming process – a simple goal setting strategy. This primarily involves setting your goal in a specific timeframe, and then determining what needs to be done for you to be able to achieve that particular goal.

With a simple goal setting strategy, you start by defining the goal you want to achieve as specifically as possible. Try to avoid goals that are too vague like “I want to save some money.” Be specific, like “I want to save $5000 for a new car” or “I want to save $2000 to install new kitchen cupboards.” When you are specific, you know exactly what you are striving towards. This also makes it easier to know exactly what needs to be done and keeps you focused.

Afterwards, you need to determine an appropriate time frame. Specify when you are going to start implementing actions to help you reach the goal and also when you wish to achieve the goal.

Be realistic when it comes to setting a timeframe – if you need to save up $2000, but you can only spare $200 per month, don’t expect your goal to be reached within just a three-month period, for example. Unless you’re going to drastically change habits or start a side hustle for extra income.

Finally, determine what you need to do, what actions you need to take, and what should happen between the start and finish date of your goal. Action planning is often overlooked when setting goals, however it is proven to be one of the most valuable behaviors that contribute towards success in meeting goals.

Write down every step of the process in order to make things as simple as possible for yourself. This way, you’ll be able to check back on the list at any time in order to see what you currently need to do, and what actions to do next if you wish to achieve the goal you have set.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

2. CLEAR Goal Setting Strategy

The CLEAR Goal Setting Strategy is similar to the SMART one. It has also been growing in popularity with many people moving toward this method. There are various reasons for this, but the flexibility offered by the CLEAR method is one of the main reasons people are starting to convert their SMART goal worksheet into a CLEAR goal worksheet.

CLEAR stands for:

  • Collaborative – Who else do I need involved? Who is my core team? Who am I serving? Why do these connections matter?
  • Limited – What is the scope? How can I keep focused? When do I start? And when do I need results by?
  • Emotional – Does it serve my larger purpose? Does it meet my needs? Does it stimulate me?
  • Appreciable – What are the small actions? How to make this more actionable? What are my stepping stones?
  • Refinable – What do I see changing? What paths or options do I have, and when? Can the goals change as I change, or my circumstances change?

It’s important to note at this point that the CLEAR strategy was mainly invented to assist businesses where teams need to work together to achieve a specific goal. This, however, does not mean that the CLEAR method cannot be used in your own life to set personal goals for yourself.

When you set a goal with this method in mind, the ultimate goal or the big picture that you are aiming for should have a few qualities:

  • Both duration and scope of the goal should be limited – in other words, you should be able to limit the amount of time it would take you to reach the goal, and the goal should be specific enough for you to understand what you are aiming for truly.
  • The goal should have an emotional connection for you. Something that has meaning for you as a person. If your goal is to lose weight, then the emotional connection will likely be related to your own health, how you feel about yourself, and how other people view you.
  • The goal should be specific, but, at the same time, be flexible. Life is unpredictable – so if anything changes in the period of time that you are striving to achieve a specific goal, then the goal you have set should be adjustable. You need to be able to make modifications to the goal in order to accommodate the specific changes that have occurred in your life.

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” – Brian Tracy

Even though the SMART goal setting method is very popular, it’s not the only option out there for people who are looking to set their first life goals. If you are not too keen on the SMART method, then look at the alternatives listed. They are all very powerful and will be just as effective in helping you achieve the goals.

How do you go about setting your goals? Share your processes with us below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Greg Dorban is a Marketer, Educator, Investor and Coach. Having grown from an intern to business owner, he now leads strategy at a multi-national, award winning marketing agency. Greg also helps other millennials achieve more success, wealth and happiness in life. You can check out his Career Accelerator Program here.

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