“without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with on destination.”

-Fitzhugh Dodson.


There are numerous goal-setting strategies used today by folks who want to improve their personal and professional lives. This section will describe and evaluate those that currently enjoy the greatest popularity.

#1. S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

You may already be familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. system. Let’s cover the basics to ensure we’re on the same page.

          S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that emphasizes the system’s five core tenets:

·       S = Specific

·       M = Measurable

·       A = Attainable

·       R = Relevant

·       T = Time-Specific

“Specific” means that a goal should have a distinct outcome. For example, it’s not enough to aspire to “lose weight.” It’s better to aspire to “lose 20 pounds.” This specificity creates accountability and defines success versus failure.

“Measurable” means that your goal should allow you to monitor your progress. In the example above (“lose 20 pounds”), you can easily track how much weight you’ve lost by stepping onto a scale once a week and writing down your results.

“Attainable” means that a goal should be realistic. For example, “lose 20 pounds in six months” is feasible for most people. “Lose 20 pounds by next week” is not.

“Relevant” means that a goal should align with your long-term plans and aspirations.

“Time-Specific” means that a goal should be accompanied by a deadline. An example is to “lose 20 pounds by the first day of summer.” Having is deadline hones our focus and execution.

Failure is thus unacceptable. But in reality, failure may simply constitute feedback that a particular goal is no longer important to you. The S.M.A.R.T. system offers little room for self-analysis to that end.

#2. S.M.A.R.T.E.R. GOALS

The S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal-setting system is an extension of the S.M.A.R.T. system. Two additional tenets are appended to provide a more comprehensive approach. Following is the entire acronym spelled out along with each letter’s feature.

·       S = Specific

·       M = Measureable

·       A = Attainable

·       R = Relevant

·       T = Time-Specific

·       E = Evaluate

·       R = Revise

You’re already acquainted with the first five principles. The latter two provide greater depth that overcomes some of the shortcomings inherent in the original S.M.A.R.T. method.

          “Evaluate” means that a goal needs to be monitored to promote consistent progress. This principle broadens the scope of “Measurable.” It’s not enough that a goal provides a way to monitor progress (via specificity). There much also be a way to gauge whether changing circumstances affect its achievability.

          “Revise” means that a goal should always be open to reassessment. Ambitions and aspirations change with time. Goals must be allowed to change with them. This principle introduces adaption, an indispensable facet, into the goal-setting process. It recognizes that goals can become misaligned with one’s long-term plans due to environmental change, personal obstacles, and other challenges. When this occurs, it allows the individual to realign them.

          For example, suppose you set a  goal to lose 20 pounds by the first day of summer. You’re inspired to look good when you visit the beach or lie poolside to soak up the sun’s rays. But let’s say you’re injured in an auto accident, and your injury prevents you from exercising. Under these circumstance, it may be necessary to revise your goal to accommodate this obstacle.

While I like the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting system, I feel the S.M.A.R.T.E.R approach is an improvement on the formula. The “Evaluate” step encourage the individual to track his or her progress in a way that’s overlooked by the “Measurable” step.

          The “Revise” step is an even more important addition. We should continuously ask ourselves whether our goals complement our larger aspirations. Moreover, we should always be receptive to adjusting – or abandoning altogether – goals that fail to meet this standard.


The Objectives and Key Results method is simpler than the S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T.E.R methods.

          First, set an objective you’d like to achieve. Then, identify the metric that best indicate your progress. Finally, keep your eyes on that metric until you’ve accomplished your goal.

OKRs are typically used on an organizational level. For example, a manager might encourage his or her employees to set objectives and identify and track key results to ensure his or her department’s goals are achieved. It’s an effective way to communicate goals to a large group of people, and align everyone’s efforts across the existing hierarchy.

          But this approach isn’t exclusive to organizations. Many people adopt OKRs in their personal lives, as well. The problem is, on its own, the OKRs method is deeply flawed. Its simplicity is its Achilles’ heel.

  First, it neglects setting deadlines for objective (recall the “T” in the S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T.E.R methods). Without deadlines, there’s no sense of urgency prompting action.

  Second, it prioritizes the “how” and avoids “why.” That is, the focus is placed on the activities and efforts required to achieve established objectives. No attention is given to whether those objectives should be pursued. They may initially seem important, btu as we discussed in the previous section, circumstances change.


The upside of the Big, Small, and Quick approach is that it encourages us to adopt goals that force us outside our comfort zones. But it’s not just an exercise in wish fulfillment. The BSQ method prompts us to create an action plan via milestones. And it spurs us to take action via a deadline.

          It promotes both specificity and practicality while offering a way to achieve and gain momentum along the way.

The core Principles of Goals:

1.   A goal is better than no goal

2.   A specific goal is better than a broad goal

3.   A hard and specific goal is better than an easy goal


This goal-setting system is advocated by the creators of the web-based goalBuddy program.

The system incorporates seven steps.

The first step is to reflect on past goals you’ve successfully achieved. This is intended to give you the confidence you need to accomplish your current and future ambitions.

Second, you’re encouraged to imagine how you’d like your life to be in the future, assuming you possessed the necessary resource to make it happen. This is the brainstorming phase.

Third, you’re supposed to decide on what you want to accomplish. This step, referred to as a “manifesto” by the GoalBuddy  creators, is designed to clarify the output of step two.

Fourth, you’re to create an action plan for each goal you highlighted in step three. This step also encourage you to investigate your limiting beliefs, as well as your motivations for each goal.

Fifth, you’re to incorporate your action plan into a 90-day timeframe. this steps sets a deadline.

The first five steps focus on setting goals. Steps six and seven focus on achieving them.

The Sixth step is to find a goal buddy. This person serves as an accountability partner.

The seventh and final step is to regularly meet with your goal buddy -weekly, quarterly, and annually – to review your progress. These meetings extend beyond mere accountability. They’re also an opportunity to reassess your goals and resources, and make adjustments as needed.

          The problem is, this is an arbitrary timeline. What if the user decides after two weeks that a particular goal is pointless? Should he or she be compelled to continue devoting resources toward accomplishing it long after it should arguably be abandoned?

          Another issue: while I believe it’s useful to have an accountability partner, I also feel it’s a noncritical step. If the individual is unable to find such a partner, or find a good one, it can derail the entire GoalBuddy process.

This is taken From The P.R.I.M.E.R. Goal SettingMethod.

Written By Arshad. A

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