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SMART Goals Aren't Good Enough

~ By Stacey Barr

Blackboard reading: Should goal or good goal

When a tool is inspired by a clever acronym, you've got to wonder how robust it actually is. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Sounds great, but that's actually not enough.

Is it a good goal, or a 'should' goal?

Lots of business goals end up in business plans because of 'should'. People think, everyone else is focused on customer satisfaction, so I should too. Or they see their peers setting goals like becoming a million dollar business, or having a hundred opportunities in the pipeline, and 'should' sign them up to these goals too.

How many of your goals came out of feeling that you should? One goal you truly want is more valuable to your business than a dozen you feel ho-hum about.

If a goal doesn't compel you, then it will burden you.

If you want to change something, which is what having a goal presumes, you have to feel a white heat of desire, as Napoleon Hill describes in 'Think And Grow Rich'. Setting goals means you're changing something. And change, quite frankly, is very difficult to initiate and even harder to sustain.

Without the raw energy of desire, you simply won't have enough emotional fuel to sustain the focus and stick-to-it-ness to pursue your goals. Without desire, your goals will fall off your radar, they'll elude you and punish you with feelings of guilt, failure and despondency.

To evoke that white heat of desire, you need more than a bland and clinical goal statement.

How inspiring is this: Increase new leads to 25 per week by December 2009?

Yaaawwwwn. Sure, it's specific and measurable and achievable and relevant and time-bound. But do you feel any emotion stirring in you as you read it? Do those words excite you? Do they compel you to act in pursuit of the goal? Do they paint a vivid picture of how your business will be so much better when the goal is reached?

Well, what about these words: By December 2009, each week at least 25 enthusiastic and curious customers-to-be give us the opportunity to knock their socks off with our free email tips that rock their world?

To evoke that white heat of desire, write your goals with vivid, sensory-rich words.

You'll use more ink, and your business plan might go an extra page longer. But filled with sensory-rich and compelling goal statements, it won't be sitting on the shelf gathering dust. It will be a daily reminder and inspiration of the awesome future you're creating. And it will do what it should: keep you focused on creating and sustaining the change you really want.

Take Action

Take another look at your business goals, particularly the ones you're not making any progress toward, and give them a sensory make over to evoke your desire.

Stacey Barr is a specialist in performance measurement, helping micro and small business owners to move their business results from where they are, to where they want them to be, using powerful, transformational measures. Learn more by visiting


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