I once heard someone say, “ditch S.M.A.R.T. goals.” And if that wasn’t the most rebellious thing I heard, I don’t frickin’ know what is. I wish I could remember who it was I heard that line from because I want to give her/ him/ them a virtual medal + a like, share, and hug. Sometimes, S.M.A.R.T. goals don’t work because you are not a computer who needs a specific algorithm to run the program that is your life. You are an awesome human being with awesome capabilities to decide for yourself what works and doesn’t work for you.
That said, I think there are two ways to look at goals: long term and short term.
Now, in the long term, yes, S.M.A.R.T. goals definitely make sense. But in the short term, in the daily micro tasks of your life’s work, S.M.A.R.T. goals probably aren’t as smart. Bear in mind, we are modern creative multi-passionates. If Barbara Sher were to speak about it, she’d say…
But Scanners can’t choose one direction. It’s like telling a parent to choose one child to feed. It’s just not possible. A parent knows she has to feed all her children. And a Scanner must find a way to follow every path that interests her.—Barbara Sher, Refuse to Choose
And we would all agree to the T. Thanks, Barbara.
Instead, I would like to offer two options for short-term (aka daily) goal setting:
1 | Set goals with freedom
What do I mean by this? How the heck does one set goals with freedom?
By stopping yourself in your tracks when you feel like you’re overcommitting to your calendar or task list. Because you probably are.
The thing is, I am mostly Type B (in contrast to Type A personalities). Even though I think I’ve made a lot of content online (on my blog, vlog, podcast, and social media) I still honestly feel less stressed overall.
My little secret is, when I know I did the best I could in that particular time, I just stop caring about the data. Release the overthinking and over-analyzing. Let go of the need and thirst for validation. This is probably NOT the healthiest thing to do for business and for people who love looking at data every second of the day. But it works for me to alleviate cortisol levels and overall tense vibes, you know. I am also a mom to a toddler, so I pick my own battles…. a lot of the time. (So much so that it has become a skill. Lol.)
My second secret is to make sure to stop when I feel the need to retreat from work. Let me telling you something: Creative breaks are the best! They help make sure your mind is on point and aligned with your heart and intuition… which equals doing work with intention.
2 | Set goals with flexibility
How flexible should a flexible goal be? I just love these questions that I ask myself, you know?
Now that we know to let go of work that’s just lifeless, we could also consider choosing which goals we want to be working on for a particular day.
The keyword here being “WANT” because when it means a lot to you, you thoroughly desire to do it, and when you desire to do it, you find ways to do it regardless.
I can only say this because I’ve experienced this multiple times in my life. Often subconsciously, I accomplish my goals simply because I decidedly wanted to act on them in the moment.
Now when it comes to results-driven goals, I usually visualize the kind of person I want to be and I try to align my actions by doing activities that that kind of ideal person would be doing.
I like to act “as if” just to make things a little bit interesting. For example, Morticia Addams from Addams Family fame is my spirit animal (if she were an animal, you know). Sometimes, I would try to act as if I am her whenever I need to feel chill and/ or calm and summon all the high vibes of the Universe.
For you, it might look different. Envision yourself as the kind of person you want to be. The kind of person who undoubtedly excites you. The highest version of you, so to speak.
Imagine being that person right now. What would she be doing? Who would she be connecting with? How would she deal with daily irks and challenges? How would it feel to be like her? You are her, waiting to be manifested.
I went on a slight tangent there, as we do around here. So then let’s get back to business…
To recapitulate what we’ve covered so far here, the goal (of the goals) is to
- Set your goals with the intention of freedom in mind by releasing the outcome and retreating when you are called to rest or to take a step back from work; and
- Set your goals with flexibility by knowing and choosing what you want to be doing. A good way to know what you want to be doing is to envision and feel yourself as if your were already the ideal person you want to be.
A little back story here. In 2019, I was able to publish on my blog at least twice a month for 12 months. I was able to produce content for my podcast and vlog that was worth at least 3 months. I also finished 25 days of vlogmas in December. All this on top of having a one-year-old by my side 24/7. I am not saying this to brag. I’m saying this because I want to show you that accomplishing BIG [different] goals little by little is possible for you, too!
Setting goals doesn’t have to look the same way others set their goals or do their tasks. You are the most valid resource for knowing how you can best set and accomplish your goals. When you work with your strengths, you start collecting positive affirmations about what you’re capable of. The purpose of goal setting for micro or daily tasks isn’t to overwhelm but to set your day with intention and self-compassion. It’s not simply a cycle of “Set goal, act on goal, rinse and repeat.” It is more of: Set goal, act on goal, or not act on goal, mess up, learn from experience, set another tweaked goal, have fun along the way, rinse and repeat as desired. They keyword being “have fun.” 😉