Why setting SMART goals might NOT be the best way to set your goals

October 14, 2022

Written by

Olena Mytruk

Olena Mytruk is the life design coach and mentor, host of The Spark Your Life Podcast and founder of Breverie. Executive in tech, entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, mom and wife, Olena knows first hand what it takes to navigate life challenges every single day. And despite all of that (or maybe thanks to it!), Olena loves her busy life. She strongly believes that, when used right, our busyness can actually become our superpower. And that’s why she dedicated herself to helping other busy women design their lives in a way that allows them to achieve more in life, career and business – all while actually feeling good, without stress and overwhelm and without sacrificing their personal or family time.

There is a common belief that setting your goals in a SMART way automatically sets you up for success. But did you ever try it, and it didn’t work? Wondering why that happened and if there is a better way? I got the answer for you–keep on reading!

But first things first, what is a SMART goal?

The SMART way

SMART here stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

The concept of SMART goals was first created to help organizations set and achieve their business objectives. Since then, many people have applied this concept to setting their personal goals. In fact, you might have used it in the past too.

The concept of specific, measurable and achievable goals does seem to make a lot of sense, doesn’t it? So why would it NOT be the best?

Let’s look at the following example.

IF setting SMART goals was the best way to set and achieve goals, then the following goal would be the easiest to achieve:

“I want to lose 30 pounds in 6 months.”

Let’s analyze it.

It is definitely measurable (30 pounds can be easily measured). It is very specific and time-bound. It is technically achievable and, if you are trying to lose weight, relevant.

And still, how many times in the past did you set a similar goal? And how many times did you actually successfully achieve it?


So what is missing here? Why does this concept that works perfectly for the organizations, doesn’t work so well when it comes to our personal goals?

The answer is–it misses purpose and emotional connection.

WHY are you trying to work on this goal in the first place? WHAT will inspire and motivate you to keep working on it? HOW are you going to ensure you are enjoying and loving the process?

These are the essential questions to ask and to answer if you want to successfully achieve your goals.

And none of these questions get answered with SMART goals.

The Breverie way

So, instead of setting SMART goals, I recommend that you use the following formula. Set the goals that are:

  • Aspirational and inspiring
  • Enjoyable and motivating
  • Meaningful, valuable and impactful

Forget about realistic goals! Set the goals that seem UNrealistic! Let your goals be your North Star–let them guide you toward your best life.

But how do you even take action on such a goal, you ask?

This is where monthly milestones come into play. These are your specific, measurable and actionable steps.

If your goal is the star in the sky, then your next milestone is another flight of stairs toward that star.

Instead of setting your goal as “I want to lose 30 pounds in 6 months”, frame it as follows:

“I want to organize and RUN a charity half marathon. It will be the main event of the year in my city, and I will donate all profits to the organization that helps clean the oceans”.

Don’t know about you, but after writing this I am ready to go for a jog!

And your first milestone could look like this:

“This month, I will walk or run 10 miles. Each day, I will walk or run at least half mile.”

Remember–the key to success is NOT how specific your goal is. It is WHAT this goal truly means to YOU and how working on this goal makes you FEEL.

Alright, now is the time for you to go ahead and set (and start achieving!) the craziest goals of yours!

Did you find this blog post helpful? If so, I would very much appreciate if you shared it with your friends!

Wishing you all the best on your journey,
Olena Mytruk ❤️ 

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