Dave Ramsey once said that written goals are the breakfast of champions. Then, during another conference I heard Michael Hyatt teach to set goals that are completely out of my comfort zone. Makes sense. To champion anything, you have to step out of your comfort zone and do what you haven’t done before. But how do you set a goal for something like that? It is possible to calculate the already accomplished, it is impossible however to exactly plan for unchartered territory. When you Google ‘goal setting’ you quickly stumble across the SMART goal-setting approach. I bet you’ve heard of it before!
After all, when setting goals, you have to make sure your goals are:
Specific – What is the exact outcome you are wanting to achieve? ‘Lose weight’ is not specific. Lose 20 pounds, is.
Measurable – How will you measure your weight loss? Inches or pounds? How many per week?
Achievable – Is your 20 pound loss goal achievable? Unless you only weigh 80, sounds to me like it might be.
Realistic – Are you realistic in your approach of how you will lose those 20 pounds? Do you plan to lose those 20 pounds by tomorrow? Or by not eating anything until they’ve finally melted off?
Timely – When do you want to lose those 20 pounds by? Next year? Next month? All makes sense right? Totally does!
But what about those bigger goals we sometimes have, that might not fit any mould?
What about those World Changers whom we’ve all read about and are inspired by, who have conquered unchartered territories and whose inventions and contributions to society truly have changed the world, although at the time were VERY unrealistic or even ‘impossible’?
We can’t classify them as just DREAMERS, because they actually did achieve those dreams which became their life-long goals.
How do you set SMART goals for that world-changing dream, that stirs within your heart? I don’t think you can.
Let me qualify that. What is THE GOAL for your goals? I believe that anytime you set a goal for essentially your own benefit, it can and should be a SMART goal. You lose weight for your own benefit. Figure out how much you need to lose, by when, and how! And then don’t concentrate on what you want to lose but focus on what you want to GAIN by losing the 20 pounds!
You might want to make a certain purchase, so strategize a realistic goal for saving a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time. Your focus should be on the benefit you are working towards!
BUT….. When dreaming dreams and setting goals for the benefit and service of others, I don’t believe that those goals can be SMART in the sense of being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or timely.
Mother Teresa never set out with the goal to gain status and riches by helping a specific amount of people within a specific amount of time and break a record doing so. Nor were her efforts realistic in the general public’s eye. She did however impact millions, because her goal was to serve and add value to others.
Think about Thomas Jefferson and his principle contribution to the Declaration of Independence in the USA! I doubt that his goals were anything but Freedom, Independence, Equality and Prosperity for America. How do you measure that? You can’t.
Or how about Thomas Edison, the man who penned the remarkable quote:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Nothing timely or realistic about that. And yet, Apple sure wouldn’t be what it is today without the genius work of Edison. So what is THE GOAL behind your goal setting efforts? If you are working on achieving something specific for yourself, set SMART goals all the way.
But if you are living to impact and serve others, don’t give up when things turn out differently than planned. Don’t give up when everyone says that it can’t be done! Don’t give up when you can’t measure the results just yet. Don’t give up when it takes longer than you thought it would. Don’t give up when you fail. Get back up and keep DREAMING BIG!
I believe you can!