We’ve all heard of SMART goals. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think they’re not so smart.

In fact, when it comes to your career, they’re a total waste. Hear me out.

In the video above, I explain why SMART goals are the absolute worst for developing meaning in your career. Each element of the goal-setting process can be problematic, but time-bound is particularly hindering to success.

When we set goals, they often rely on other people’s input, assistance or expertise. So, right away, the bit about time-boundedness is out of our hands. And yet, we feel like we’ve failed when we don’t achieve results within the strict structure of a SMART goal.


Do this instead of setting goals

Instead, consider setting intentions. How much freer does it feel to say, “I intend to…” rather than, “I am going to…”?

Intentions allow you the space and flexibility to determine the real values and meaning behind your big-picture dreams. You’ll achieve at a higher rate because the pressure is no longer trapping you into a tight box.

Unlike SMART goals, an intention is something personal. You have complete control over what you intend to do. They’re more aligned with your deepest desires and values, rather than what society says you should be doing by when.

And, if an intention doesn’t pan out right away, there are no feelings attached to a set timeline.


What do you think about setting SMART goals?

Are you a goal setter, or an intention maker? I encourage you to keep discovering and learning. Take the measurements away, and tap into your larger ideals when it comes to your career.

An intention could be wanting to change jobs in the next year, learning more about a specific industry, or setting up informational interviews with people you look up to, who have jobs you admire. It’s not rocket science, but it can be life-changing.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in a comment where you stand in the goals vs. intentions debate.


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