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Why Setting Goals Is Not Enough

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Why Setting Goals Is Not Enough

As a man of business, you have probably been told that being goal-oriented is crucial to success. If you are an employee in a company, you have no doubt been introduced to S.M.A.R.T goal criteria. S.M.A.R.T. goals are one of the latest fads to come from the management consultant industry. I do not throw that up as a tart or sarcastic comment. Establishing such criteria can be a useful way of navigating a successful path within the company you’re working for. The rubric of S.M.A.R.T breaks down as follows.

The goals you set must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

This is a perfectly clear and easily graspable design, and it will keep you on track to do well in an organizational setting. However, setting goals rarely speaks to the ambitions you hold about the kind of person you want to be. You should not allow the titles, tasks, and credentials of your profession define the whole of your ambition. You should desire to excel in your current job. But you should see getting a project management certification or any of the other qualifications that employees are told to obtain as a means to an ends, not an ends unto itself.

It is difficult to resist limiting yourself to what your profession demands of you. Setting goals can be a way of keeping yourself focused and on track to success. But it can also be a trap—a way of confining you to the boundaries and restrictions of your company or profession.

In addition to setting goals, you should spend time reflecting on who you want to be as a person of business. You should catalogue your talents and aspirations and begin sketch out a long term plan for using the former to achieve the latter. This is not goal-setting as much as it is envisioning. It is a way of taking charge of your future and coming to terms with all that is required for you to fulfill your highest ambitions.

By all means, take the time to set S.M.A.R.T goals. But don’t stop there. Think about what you really want your life to be in the next decade or two and begin the process of planning for it.

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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.


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