Why I'm not using SMART Goals anymore

We all know about SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time-based, and we've all tried to use them at one time or another, for one project or another.

Did it work?

Did you achieve the goal you were aiming for?

Did it put enough pressure on you to make you strive for it.

Or did it push too much pressure on you and leave you feeling worthless when you couldn't achieve it?

I'm rubbish with SMART goals!

For me, personally, I couldn't make them work. I couldn't set goals and achieve them, because they don't take into account problems and changes that might happen, by their nature, the goals are finite, and if you haven't achieved them by X date, you failed.

Yes, you can change the date, but even that feels like cheating, even if there was nothing you could do to prevent the necessity of that change.

Say you wanted to be able to run a 5k in 6-months. That's a pretty specific goal, it's measurable because you try to run a bit further every week, it's achievable because you're already an avid runner, it's realistic because your pace is already quite good, and it's time-based because you've set an end.

Then you break your leg in the second month.

That goal needs to be deleted because there's nothing you can do towards it for the time being, and you end up feeling worse about the goal than you do about your leg!

So, what goals do I have at the moment?

For me, I have a few goals on to go at the moment, some are small and some are big. Some are daily and some will take a few months to achieve.

As you might already be aware, I work a 3 on/3 off shift, which works out to a 6-week rota. Therefore, weekly targets or goals, the same as monthly ones, just don't work with my schedule, so it's pointless, and when using traditional goal setting, it feels like putting a square peg into a round hole - totally incompatible.

My goals are for the 6-days, but overarch everything. Basically, I have mega long term goals, that I want to work on every day, but not every day has the activity for the goal.

That doesn't make sense. Hang on, let me try again!

I have a goal for BodyPump 104. I want to be able to do all the reps in all of the tracks, except the squats and lunges, because that's a future goal, and if I focussed on that right now, I'd give up because I'm rubbish at them! I do BodyPump on days 1 and 4 of my 6-day schedule, so although this is a daily goal, I only work towards it on 2 out of 6 days.

Same for BodyBalance, my first goal is to incorporate it into my 6-day routine. Currently I have BodyBalance schedule for days 2 and 5, but I've yet to commit to this regularly as it's a very new goal.

Day 3 is Sh'BAM, the only goal for this is to give it my best, and as I'm a Sh'BAM girl, this is relatively easy and I don't have to think about it!

Day 6 is also Sh'BAM but the goal for this is to do Sh'BAM 33 followed by Sh'BAM 34. Because Day 6 is an off-day, I can double up on my workouts because I don't have to be ready to go to work at 0730.

I also have another BodyBalance goal for day 4, of adding some kind of BodyBalance release AFTER BodyPump, whether that's a short, stretch, flexibility, strength or full 55-minute class, it doesn't matter, but I want to 'double-up' workouts on day 4.

At some point, I want to 'double-up' on day 5, so do more than 1 BodyBalance class. Although I'm a way off that because this goal is quite new.

Now, all these goals don't really fit into the SMART framework, except maybe days 1 and 4, because that has a finite end - when I can do all the reps. Achieving this goal would then lead onto the goal of being able to do all the reps + all the squats. Because the squat track is track 2, doing all of them would likely impact on my ability to do the following 8 tracks and might mean that although I achieved the original goal, it wouldn't be sustainable when I started adding the squats in. Likewise, when I'd achieved both of those consistently, when I add the lunges on, which is track 7, that's going to impact on my ability to 100% tracks 8-10.

But, it's also going to impact on my ability for day 2 and 5, because if I get DOMS, that could well stop me from being able to do BodyBalance to any degree of success the following days.

SMART targets are finite, there's no adjusting them, they're there and that's it and if you don't make them, you'll be reminded of that.

SMART targets are also fiddly, they're taxing to set and mega specific, I know they're supposed to be, but sometimes they can seem too restrictive.

How many times have we set goals, not been able to reach them, then feel bad because we've shared them around (to be accountable to others and ourselves) because we're told that's a good thing, or we've made all these pretty pictures for them, only to not reach them and feel terrible because we put all that effort into setting them up, rather than doing them?

So I employed my Google-Fu and looked for alternatives to SMART goals, to see what else was around that might fit my needs and life better.

That's when I discovered Anne-Laure's page Ness Labs.

The page that comes up in a Google search for alternatives to SMART is SMART goals are not so smart: make a PACT instead, so I thought I'd check it out and oh boy, this is a game changer! Of course, I signed up for her newsletter, and got some cool freebies for doing so, one of which is the extra/add on for PACT, the PARI which is uh-maz-ing for taking PACT further.