Why SMART goals can fail.

It’s that time of the year when we are bombarded with media posts about New Year’s resolutions, weight loss programmes, setting goals, etc.

These are all well and good, but how are they sustained? Do we actually set ourselves up for success? 

Creating and setting goals is not just about what you want. There are often external factors that impact the sustainability of your intention that need to be taken into account. 

Author of Atomic Habits, James Clear states

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

Let me place this into context for you. Perhaps you have an intention to create more reflection and creation time into your week. You set a specific, measurable, attainable (as in yes I can do this), relevant and time-bound goal. Woohoo, you’re on your way!

Things are going along well. You have carved-out two hours in your week for reflection and creation time. You are turning some long-awaited thoughts into kick-ass realities.

Then along comes Week 5. 

Someone is away from work unexpectedly and you need to pick up their workload. You are the only person who knows how to do their particular job, so the buck stops with you.

Even paring it back to the bare essentials, you are going like the clappers to keep up. The sacrosanct space you created for reflection and creation gets smaller and smaller as you wade through your to-do list.

Finally the person returns and you are in catch-up mode with your own work that’s been placed on the back-burner. Reflection and creation time goes out the window.

As James Clear states, you will fall to the level of your systems. If reflection and creation time is important to you (which I would personally state is vital for any leader), then you also need to look beyond yourself to the external systems that impact your goal.

  • How will they support or compromise you achieving this goal?
  • Who might you need to call-in to support a system revision?
  • Where are chinks in the system that hinder you (and others) attaining your/their goal?

So as you plan for 2020, I encourage you to widen your lens and look at the systems that will support or hinder you achieving your intentions. 

1:1 Coaching for Leaders

Are you in a leader looking to level up you skills to enhance yourself and your team?

I’ve got 3 and 12 month 1:1 coaching sessions available. Want to know more… check out the Coaching for Leaders page or book a Discovery Call here to talk about how we can work together to empower your leadership skills.

MA :)

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