NOTE: The SMART series of posts is best read from the first post. Start with Get SMART - Look yourself in the i - and read from there.


This seems like the most obvious of the S.M.A.R.T.s so far - you mean that if I set a goal it has to be one that I can actually do? - DUH! On second thinking however this is a factor that deserves closer attention since very often, like beauty, attainment is in the eye (and more importantly the "i", see below) of the beholder - reminding me of what Henry Ford once famously said

"Whether you think you can or you can't - you're right"

Research, and (eventually for some people) experience tells us that the ‘best' kind of goals are those that are "challenging but achievable" - what industry and the corporate world describe as "stretch" goals, and pop psychologists or self help gurus often describe using motivational rhyming phrases

"If you can believe it, you can achieve it" ... "if you can sustain it, you can attain it" ... "if you can see it, you can be it" ... "if the glove don't fit you must acquit" - well ok maybe not the last one - but you get what I mean, right?

These phrases and others like them support the idea of something very simplistic like "you can achieve anything you set your mind to" - another popular declaration much loved by parents and anyone that wants to be President of the United States. When hearing this statement, even the most positive asset-based person (like me!) is likely to reply .... Anything???? "You can achieve anything your set your mind to?" That can't be right surely? As I think about Attainment and these kind of phrases, what comes up for me very powerfully is the importance of the ‘i' part of SMART - something I wrote about in the very first post of this series. Seeing things in your mind's "i" brings up 2 essential, but often underestimated ways of thinking about goal setting and goal attainment

  1. Clarity - What does this goal look like to you?
  2. Importance - What is important to you about this goal?

So for example

You want to lose weight? Ok, what does losing weight look like to you? What is important to you about losing weight?

You want to be more active? What does being more active look like to you? What is important to you about being more active?

You want to reduce the stress in your life? What does a stress-free life look like to you? What is important to you about being stress-free?

You want to .... etc etc

"Any goal you set your mind to", now becomes "Any goal you set with these two questions in mind" (i.e. in your mind's ‘i'). This "new thinking" brings up a whole new world of attainment possibilities - with an important qualifier - which turns out to be the next acronymic word (Relevant)!

So as you think about what you want to attain - what does this goal look like to you? What is important to you about this goal?

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