Written by Russell Johnson
Most people recognize the importance of goals within a career strategy. Properly used, they will accelerate progress towards achieving your vision of your career. Yet the process of setting these goals is often unduly complicated. And this is dangerous.
A Common But Unnecessarily Complex Formula
The acronym SMART is often recommended as a framework for goal setting. It’s time, however, to re-evaluate whether it is indeed smart.
The letters of the acronym stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based or Time-bound. But why do we need to be reminded to make our goals attainable? If we didn’t see them as attainable, we wouldn’t set them in the first place, would we?
Similarly, the word realistic is unhelpful since it retraces the same ground as ‘attainable’. What’s worse, it potentially dampens the enthusiasm that goals should engender.
Just as importantly, our goals do need to be Specific, but how is that significantly different from being Measurable? Why not just use Measurable instead?
A Simpler Approach
It’s better to avoid over-complicating what is already going to be a challenging process. Instead, keep it simple; a three-letter acronym is all that’s needed.
Yes, your goals need to be realistically attainable, but they also need to be challenging and worthwhile enough to ENERGIZE you. All that matters in the words ‘attainable’ and ‘realistic’ is encompassed in the one word, ‘energize’. Importantly, it also holds the element of requiring that our goals be stimulating.
And ultimately, we want our goals to be met. So why not use the simple acronym MET – standing for Measurable, Energizing and Time-bound? The word MET is not overwhelming. It provides an easy-to-remember and applicable acronym, without irrelevant overlap.
Goal setting is an excellent key to faster progress. Keep it simple, and you’ll do better.