Today is January 8, 2010…one business week into the new year. Tired of talking about goals yet? A little? It has become apparent to me that the single-biggest reason people don’t “achieve” their stated goals is kinda simple. Their goals just aren’t very smart.  Pretty judg-y for a Life Coach, aren’t I? Well here’s what I mean.

You may well know already that SMART is a mnemonic (man, I should find a way to use that word more often) used for goal-setting:

  • Specific – is the goal clear?
  • Measurable – will you know if progress is being made and when the goal is achieved?
  • Attainable – is it within reach?
  • Realistic – are you willing and able to do it?
  • Timely – what’s the deadline?

This is all very good and sound and makes perfect sense. Of course. AND it kinda sorta makes me yawn involuntarily.

There have been many variations on the theme (I’ve seen “significant”, “stretching”, “simple”, “meaningful”, “manageable”, “actionable”, “appropriate”, “achievable”, “relevant”, “trackable”, and “tangible” to name a few) but by FAR my favourite riffs come from the good folks at CTI. Instead of “realistic” (which, let’s face it, is the same as attainable) they’ve taught us coaches to play with “RESONANT” and instead of “timely”, we get “THRILLING”!!!! Fwoosh-kapow-ZING!!!

  • Resonant – Think authentic. This isn’t something you read in a magazine and thought…“I guess if it worked for Jennifer Aniston, well then”. If it’s resonant, you’ll not hear the watch words “should”, “ought to” or “have to”…instead you’ll hear: “Yeah Baby!” Deep in your being, you just know it’s right for you. It honours your values and it is going to be fun. Mmm-hmm.
  • Thrilling – Do a gut check. Does it make your tummy tumble? Scare the bejesus out of you? No? Then it’s likely not thrilling for you. And remember to check your judgment at the door here…this is YOUR goal. Writing a book on time management would be the complete antithesis of thrilling for me, and it may well set the butterflies fluttering in your rib cage. Luckily, it’s YOUR goal, not mine. So, go for it.

Smart goals will make you sweat…they will challenge you and stretch you. They may be unpleasant at times and you may well want to throw in the towel, but the overall resonance and thrill of the goal will keep it alive and well. And better yet…achieved.