Not achieving your SMART goals? Here’s what’s missing.

Posted on Apr 5, 2020

Goals provide a clear target in the direction of an inspiring vision. In doing so, they simplify decision-making. They help you take action towards what matters, and just as importantly, they help you say No to everything that matters less.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say No to almost everything.”

Warren Buffett, investor, speaker, philanthropist, multibillionaire

If you want to find true joy and fulfillment in your work, well-designed goals will get you closer, faster. 

And SMART goals aren’t enough, if they’re missing this key element.

What your SMART goals are missing

There are 2 terms you need to know if you want to write powerful, action-driving goals.

An outcome goal is the result you’d like to achieve. It clearly connects with your bigger vision, making it a great motivator. However, it doesn’t clearly describe the day-to-day actions needed to attain the goal, and it often represents a result that is only partially within your own control.

A process goal describes how you’ll achieve that result. It effectively guides your daily actions. It also makes the journey more enjoyable, as you’ll have wins to celebrate well before achieving your outcome goal.

An outcome goal describes what. A process goal describes how. Use both.

Use both outcome and process goals whenever it makes sense.

An example of better goals

When I first start working with an entrepreneur, for example, and ask about her business goals, they often look something like this:

Get 2 new clients this quarter.

Earn $5,000/month by the end of this quarter.

Not a bad place to start! 

However, I’ll point out that she doesn’t have full control over these goals and ask, what will you do every week, every day, towards these goals?

This is where the magic happens.

Process goals are where the magic happens.

We’ll work towards something that looks more like this:

Attend 2 networking events each week, having genuine conversation with 3 individuals at each event.

Now this is something much more fully within her control. At the end of each week, she can score herself, celebrating every success along the way. And at the end of 3 months, she can compare her revenue with the actions she took to learn something about what worked and what didn’t. Without this process goal, she’d have much less clarity, as there would be no tactical plan to adjust.

How to create an effective plan

Ready to craft goals that will help you find true joy and fulfillment in your work? The place to start is actually before the goals you just read about.

Get my free introduction to Love Monday: An Agile Framework for Career Dev and learn the most effective way to plan. Get it now.