SMART goals were my bread and butter for a long time, and generally I achieved the results I aimed for. But (and this is a BIG but), I was finding absolutely no joy in achieving them. I was so zeroed in on my desired result, and I put so much pressure on myself that by the time I reached the finish line, I was totally wiped out and almost resentful of all the hard work I put in. Instead of wanting to celebrate, I wanted a nap.
Sound familiar? What’s going on here?
SMART goals – they’re not as smart as you thought.
SMART goals are a staple of the corporate world and even the personal development space. (In case you’ve somehow missed it, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.)
In many cases, such structure can be very helpful. It creates parameters and makes the desired result clear in your mind so you can take decisive action toward accomplishing it. Sounds great in theory, right?
Well, even the smartest of SMART goals can get derailed due to lack of planning, lack of resources, or lack of giving enough of a $#*% about the goal in the first place. But plenty of us (myself included) have set goals that we are really excited about and fully equipped to accomplish, yet getting to the finish line becomes a slog.
Why does this happen?
When you only focus on the result, you miss out on the journey.
It’s like that saying: while you’re searching all day for the perfect seashell, you’re missing all the other cool stuff on the beach.
This doesn’t mean every person will approach SMART goals this way; some people (or some types of goals) might really benefit from a laser focus. It’s like wearing horse blinders. If you want to run as fast as you can in one direction, they are super helpful – hammering through a big project, for instance. But the blinders also make it tough to see anything else, and so for big goals that take a year or two to reach, that might not be what we really want.
Luckily, there is another way to approach it.
Instead of setting a goal, write a dream statement.
Where SMART goals are structured and specific, dream statements are open. I’ll give you an example. Instead of setting a specific financial goal for myself this year – “I will make X dollars by X date” – I wrote a dream statement: financial freedom.
I have a clear image in my mind of what that looks like for my life and my business, but I’m choosing not to make it about numbers or deadlines. This way I can approach my goal in the spirit of abundance and creativity. I am widening my focus to allow all possibilities to come through, and in doing so, I am bringing in a completely different energy. Instead of grit and will power, I can tap into my authentic power.
“What does that look like, Kerri? How do I do that?!”
When you harness your authentic power, you are in a state of flow. Perhaps you’ve experienced this before when working on a project you are truly excited about. You are in alignment with your purpose and heart’s calling, and things feel smooth, natural, and FUN. It will take a bit of exploration and practice to get there, but it is within your grasp. Start with writing a dream statement, something that really resonates and excites you! Then give it room to grow.
Give your dreams permission, energy, and space.
First, your dream requires permission. Know that you deserve to take hold of it. Are there limiting beliefs you are holding onto that prevent you from seeing yourself accomplishing your goal, believing that it is possible for you? Let them go. You don’t need them anymore.
Do you have fears associated with this dream? Don’t let them hold you in place. Acknowledge your fears and bring them along for the ride. We live in an abundant universe, and you have permission to receive everything that is meant to be yours.
Your dream also requires energy. Think about what that means for you – what do you need to be successful? Tap into your network. Create a routine. Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you. Gather energy from anywhere you can and use it to fuel your dream. Ultimately, you need to know thyself! Decide what you need and go get it.
Finally, your dream needs space in which to manifest. Unfortunately, we tend to fill up our empty spaces. I don’t have to tell you that a full schedule does not make a full life, and you already know that goal setting in the traditional sense can sometimes be too restrictive. Instead of ambitious, all-or-nothing approaches and fighting with yourself to get the results you want, focus instead on creating space and trusting that what is meant to be yours will pour into that space. Make room for joy, discovery, surprise, and fun!
So, what will your dream statement be?
I’d love to know what your dream is! Drop it in the comments below or send me a note.