You know, I used to be a big fan of SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

SMART goals made sense to me, they gave me structure, forced me to take a deep, hard look at the tasks ahead and find ways to stay accountable, AND, most of all, they fit my lifestyle.

Things are different now.


Uncertainty vs Goal-setting 

Though I am grateful for all the flexibility and freedom I have as a Freelancer, there is an element of uncertainty that makes my life incompatible with that specific approach to goal-setting.

How can you plan a detailed course of action, when you have little to no control over what's happening around you? And what happens to your carefully laid out plans when things change and something more urgent requires your full and immediate attention?

It's something I've had to come to terms with on multiple occasions, even more so since the COVID-19 outbreak.


Is it just me?

The truth is that it's easier to stick to SMART goals when you are in a consistent, emotionally stable and economically-secure environment. When these conditions are not present, there is no guarantee that you will be able to stick to it. 

Even with the best intentions and the right attitude, you still run the risk of having to put your plans on hold, and that can really have a serious emotional impact.

On top of feeling disappointed and frustrated, you might start to believe that you are not cut out for certain things or, in the worst cases, that there must be something wrong with you that makes you unable to fully commit and finish what you've started.

"Running is not really for me" "Do diets even work?" "I'm an introvert, Networking is not my thing" - Have you ever said anything like this. I know I have.


So should we just give up on goal-setting altogether?!

We could, but what's the alternative? Going aimlessly through life hoping things will magically work out?

I'd like to suggest a different approach to goal-setting. Just hear me out.

What if, instead of aiming for a very narrow and specific target, we focused less on "precision" and more on just being consistent? On working towards something day after day until we can reap the benefits.


So, these are the qualities I want from my goals:


MEANINGFUL

I think it's really important to ask ourselves "What do I care about? What's missing? Which direction/change is going to get me closer to the life I want?"

After all, if something is not meaningful to us, then why even bother?!


BROAD & FLEXIBLE

Don't they say that the species that survive are the ones that can quickly adapt to the changes in their environment? Why should goals be any different?!

I think the best goals are the ones that can be interpreted and achieved in different ways, depending on the time and conditions you find yourself in. Bonus points if you can break them into small manageable pieces and find little ways to move forward even when everything seems to be working against you.

After all, to write a book, you kind of have to begin with a single page. And maybe after that one page, you'll find yourself writing a second, and a third... But maybe not today, and that's ok too. You'll still be one page closer to your goal.


CYCLICAL & OPEN for REVIEW

Gone are the times when people only ever worked for ONE company or in one role for their whole career. Goals, like everything else, are meant to be questioned, to be updated, upgraded or discarded when they no longer align with our lives and our values. And it's nice to plan regular moments of reflection instead of waiting for New Year's Eve to realize there is something missing.


SHARED

No man is an island. Often enough, our goals affect the lives of others around us. Why not get them involved?! Share your plans and your aspirations, allow other people to help you or take this journey with you... or at least notify those that will inevitably get caught up in the madness.


What could this look like?

Imagine you wanted to Network more and decided to challenge yourself to write a LinkedIn post every day for a month. That's great and you could do that, OR you might decide that what really matters to you is connecting with new people in your field, joining interesting conversations and sharing your ideas, and that can take many different forms depending on the type of day you're having and the opportunities that come your way.

On a completely different note, imagine you feel drawn to Minimalism and decide you'll get rid of one thing every day for 100 days. You could do that OR you could decide to make more physical and mental space for the people and things you truly care about, instead.


What would that look like? What type of impact could it have on the choices you make?