Goal setting and prioritisation are critical skills for anyone, but especially for business women when you have competing demands on your time and energy. Most of you will have heard of SMART goals, you might have even set some for yourself. But did you know there are other goal setting frameworks that could work better? Today I am going to share with you some powerful alternatives to goal setting.
If you’re struggling with time management, staying focused, feeling overwhelmed, and not hitting your goals, you’re not alone. That is because SMART goals are for everybody.
Honestly, some days I feel like I am running my business in a goldfish bowl, and I am the goldfish! Swimming around and around in circles thinking “What was I doing?” and “Haven’t I been here before?”. This aimlessness has a profound draining effect. I need the safety of a structured routine – with a little bit of wiggle room for creativity.
You Could Start with SMART Goals:
- Set SMART goals: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Setting goals that meet these criteria can help you focus on what you want to achieve and make progress towards it.
- Prioritise your goals: Not all goals are created equal, and some are more important than others. Prioritising your goals can help you focus your energy and attention on the ones that matter most.
- Break down big goals into smaller, manageable steps: When you have a big goal, it can be overwhelming to think about all the work you need to do to achieve it. Breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps can make it feel less daunting and more achievable.
- Schedule time for your goals: It’s not enough to just set goals; you need to make time for them too. Schedule time on your calendar for the tasks that will help you achieve your goals.
- Focus on what you can control: There are some things you can’t control, but focusing on the things you can control can help you feel more empowered and motivated.
- Celebrate your progress: Celebrating small wins along the way can help you stay motivated and feel good about your progress, even if you haven’t yet achieved your ultimate goal.
Personally, I don’t like SMART goals. I haven’t had any success in setting and achieving them. And that makes me feel pretty disappointed. But if there is one thing I know, there is ALWAYS more than one way to do things. So I went in search of other ways to set goals. I figure I couldn’t be the only person on the planet that couldn’t hit the mark with SMART goals.
I was delighted to find that there are other ways to set goals. Other goal setting frameworks to try that could be more meaningful and impactful in the quest for business success.
Alternative Goal Setting Frameworks to SMART Goals:
- OKRs (Objectives and Key Results): This framework, popularised by Google, focuses on setting ambitious objectives and measurable key results that help you track progress towards achieving your goals. The key results should be specific, measurable, and time-bound, but the objectives themselves can be more aspirational and qualitative.
- WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan): This framework, developed by psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, helps you set goals by focusing on your wishes, the outcomes you hope to achieve, the obstacles that might stand in your way, and the plans you can make to overcome those obstacles. It combines both positive thinking and realistic planning.
- BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals): This framework, developed by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, focuses on setting big, ambitious goals that inspire and motivate you. BHAGs should be specific, measurable, and time-bound, but they don’t necessarily need to be achievable in the short-term. They are more about long-term vision and direction.
- Agile Goal Setting: This framework involves breaking down your goals into smaller, achievable tasks and constantly reassessing and adjusting your goals based on feedback and progress. It’s a more flexible and iterative approach to goal-setting, often used in software development and project management.
It is worth experimenting with different frameworks instead of sticking with SMART goals when they don’t work for you. Don’t forget to reach out for help as this will greatly improve your chances of success.
Prioritising tasks in both your business and personal life can be challenging, especially when you it seems like everything that needs doing is at DEFCON 1.
There have been many times when my clients feel really torn and stuck because they just don’t know where to start and what the REAL priorities are. When you have people and pressures coming at you from all directions it is hard to know where to start. They don’t have to be SMART goals, but having goals is pivotal for keeping your focused on your business vision.
- Create a daily schedule: Start by creating a schedule for each day that includes specific times for work, household chores, and spending time with your kids. Be sure to build in time for breaks and relaxation as well.
- Identify your most important tasks: Make a list of your most important tasks for the day or week, and prioritise them based on urgency and importance. Focus on completing these tasks first, and then move on to less important tasks as time allows.
- Set boundaries: Communicate with your kids and others in your household about your work schedule and when you need uninterrupted time to focus. Consider setting up specific times of the day when you’re available to help them with their needs.
- Delegate and outsource: Consider delegating or outsourcing some household tasks, such as cleaning or laundry, to free up more time for your business or personal priorities.
- Be flexible and adaptable: Recognize that unexpected things will happen and be prepared to adjust your schedule and priorities as needed. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t accomplish everything on your list.
- Practice self-care: Make time for self-care activities that help you recharge and manage stress. This can include exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
My final thoughts on SMART goals
Remember, finding the right balance between work, family, and personal priorities is an ongoing process. Be patient with yourself, celebrate your successes, and seek support when you need it. Trying a differect goal setting framework could be the change you need to feel inspired again. SMART goals are an excellent framework, if your brain is driven neurotypically and these SMART statements work for you.
It’s never too late to start setting goals and working towards them. By following these tips, you can set goals that you’re excited to work on and achieve, and turn your feelings of failure into feelings of success.
Ultimately, the goal setting framework that works best for you depends on your personal preferences, values, and goals. You may need to experiment with different frameworks until you find one that feels right for you. It doesn’t have to be SMART goals.