Episode 40: When SMART Goals Make You Feel Dumb

When SMART Goals Make You Feel Dumb

The gold standard of goals training is SMART goals. Everyone teaches it. Many people try to do it. But what if your smart goals make you feel dumb? What if there is a better way to have goals that are meaningful and bring you peace instead of stress? In Episode 40 of Just One Simple Thing, I’m sharing a new goal-setting acronym and I think you are going to love it.

I’m sure you’ve heard about SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound … or some slight variation. For sensitive, creative types, I’ve found that SMART goals can make you feel dumb. Because SMART goals are results-focused … all-or-nothing.

And if you don’t hit the target, you label yourself a failure for not being SMART enough. What if we took a different approach to goals? What if we focused more on the process than the results? If we valued making progress towards the goal as much as crossing the finish line? What if we set PEACE goals? I’m going to teach you a new goals acronym so you can replace SMART with PEACE. Ready?

P is for Purposeful – Your goals should align with your deepest purpose. They should resonate with the core of your being.

E is for Essential – Prioritize your goals so that you are moving forward in the most important ways in the most important areas. Conquer the essential tasks and behaviors that may impact your life in multiple areas.

A is for Adjustable – Rather than setting a single goal, think of “Good, Better, Best” versions of your goal.

  • Good –the minimum that would be “good enough” for you
  • Better –the target that would satisfy you and feel like an accomplishment
  • Best –a stretch level that would be better than you could imagine.

C is for Current –We should all have an eye on our long-range goals. They help us prepare for our future. But we also need goals that impact our present. We can break down our long range goals into the smaller steps we’ll take now to get there.

And the second E is for Enjoyable–How do you feel when you think about your goals? Are you motivated and encouraged? Or dreading the worthy work it will take to get there.

Pursuing PEACE goals will keep your actions in line with your principles and use your limited time and resources to make progress where you can. You’ll be actively engaged in the most important areas of your life and advancing the causes you care about. Now that’s what I call SMART.

Head over to my free Facebook group, Plan & Pray with Do A New Thing, and grab the worksheet to evaluate your PEACE goals. Snap a picture and share it on social media. I’d love to hear how these PEACE goals are different than the SMART goals you’ve set in the past.


Book Recommendation: Beginner’s Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now by Liz Bohannon.

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