I bet you’ve been told at least at some point in your life, that if you want to achieve success, you need to have specific goals. The more specific the better right?
Well… not always.
In this blog I want to throw a spanner in the works when it comes to goal setting and the traditional “SMART” goal setting ways. I will show you why setting a forward-looking “range goal” is a smarter alternative to the traditional SMART goals. We will look at what a “range goal” is, how range goals are better for your mindset and motivation, why they are more likely to help you on your road to success plus how you can adopt ‘range goals’ professionally and personally. And don’t worry, I will share some practical tips and tools to help set them and implement them.
SMART Goals Don’t Work
When it comes to setting goals, we all get taught the traditional way of using the SMART model. The first-known use of the term SMART occurs in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. However, SMART criteria are more commonly associated with Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept. SMART is all about setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The principal advantage of SMART objectives is that they are easier to understand and to know when they have been achieved.
However, you’ll know from my “Why SMART goals are stupid” blog that I don’t think SMART goals are the most useful way to set goals in this life-by-design age. We might get told all the time to set SMART goals, but they do simply do not work. After all, if they did then we would all be setting SMART goals and smashing every single one of them!
One of my bug bears with SMART is that they are difficult to implement and often you don’t feel you have achieved them. This is especially true if you’re like me and are a bit of a perfectionist or a very all-or-nothing sort of person. The problem with having a specific goal is that when you don’t reach your target you will beat yourself up, even if you have done a good job.
For example, let’s say you’ve set yourself a target of saving £100 a month for year, but you fall shy of reaching the full target and you end up saving £1100 in a 12-months time. I’d say that this is still extremely good and you are only a smidgen away off your target. However, that a ‘all or nothing’ perfectionist mindset can make you think that you have failed because you didn’t hit your specific target of £1,200. This is why you need to set ‘Range Goals’.
Range goals are something I have developed and something that I have incorporated into all my personal life and business objectives.
Range goals still require you to set a goal but instead of setting a specific target, you decide what your target is within a range. So back to our saving examples, you intend to save £1,200 a year but your range goal might be to save between £1,000 and £1,500 this year.
The first advantage of setting range goals is that you will not beat yourself up or be too hard on yourself if you just miss your target. The second advantage of range goals is that setting range goals also allows us to exceed our expectations. After all, if you achieve your goal early with SMART goals people normally stop. However, when you set range goals, when you reach your target you know that that they were not specific, and it will encourage to review your goals and you can just keep going if you want to.
Range goals can be applied in every aspect of your life including health, finance, business, and other projects.
Tip 1. Set Your Range Goals
You need to set your range goals with your full attention and intention behind it. Take into account your current position and also your expected future circumstances. Decide what your goals are and how long it will take to achieve them. Then calculate what range your target will be within.
The best question to ask is: What do I have to do to…? This is an incredibly powerful question because it opens up your mind to the possibility of achieving your goal. The way this question is phrased means you are only considering ways to achieve, not ways you cannot achieve.
Tip 2. Write Your Goals Down
Studies have shown that when you write your goals down you are 40% more likely to achieve your targets. We Humans are visual creatures and we respond and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than visual text and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is actually visual.
Writing down your goals activates your reticular activating system in your brain (aka RAS). We’re bombarded with information all day, every day so your Reticular Activating System (RAS) is the brains way to filter out unnecessary information so that you just received the important stuff. We have to almost ‘switch on’ the RAS and tell it what to look for, so writing down your goals will help by visually showing the brain what it is you’re after.
As Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ and the author of Hiring For Attitude writes in his fascinating Forbes business web site article, Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them, “Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success, and people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t.”
Tip 3: Regularly Review Your Goals
Don’t just write your goals down and file them on the shelf. You need to review your goals daily. You can make reviewing your goals a continuous process by putting them in an obvious spot, such as on your refrigerator or setting them as a screen saver on your computer or mobile phone.
When you review your range goal, you need to decide whether you have achieved it yet or look to see if you are still on course to achieve it. However, remember you have set a range goal and so you might have hit your upper target but that is not a reason to not to extend the goal if you have already achieved it.
Also, don’t be afraid to change or tweak the goal if it is no longer relevant in light of new circumstances. So much can happen and change in a short space of time and we cannot predict the future. Has anything changed? Are you in a new relationship? Have you changed your job? Do you still feel the same about your goal? It’s normal for our desires to change over time and our personal goals need to reflect this.
Remember, reflection is a useful tool in realigning your goal to any changes and it’s important to keep on the right trajectory towards it. Writing and referencing your goals on a daily basis is a habit that will focus your energy and set you on a path to get what you really want out of life.
Bonus Tip : Create a Vision Board and use Visualisation
Creating a vision board will help you to achieve your range goals. As I explain in my blog article, Vision Board — A Powerful Tool to Achieve Your Goals, Vision boards are also a useful visual tool for reviewing goals and continuing to reinforce the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Visualisation is also a powerful technique that can help you manifest and attract what you want by programming the Reticular Activating System (RAS). My blog Harnessing the Power of Visualisation to Create Success explains the concept of visualisation and also how you can use visualisation as a powerful technique to create success.
Now you understand the idea of ‘Range Goals’, it is time to sit down, grab a pen and some paper and write down your goals! Don’t forget to set some time aside to review your goals at least once a day. I have incorporated my daily goal review in to my miracle morning routine.
If this has resonated with you, I would love to hear from you! Get in touch to share your aha moments or what you have answered in the reflection exercises.
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Let’s Work Together
If you are serious about wanting to make life-long changes and positively transform your life, then I would love to hear from you to see how I can support you.
I have helped a range of people on a huge variety of goals – from suffering with confidence loss, to publishing a book, to enabling a change of direction in life, to small business owners struggling with staff – but my main focus is to support the busy professional who is trying to juggle it all.
Below are links to other blog articles that you might be interested to read.
The Pomodoro technique divides the working day into easy to manage segments – think of these as elephant bit-sizing chunks. All tasks, big and small, are broken down into small manageable activities that can be tackled one-step at a time. Find out why it will help you be more productive especially if you are working from home.
Thought is the most powerful force in the universe. As Einstein’s relativity revolution revealed, everything is made of energy. Our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives. Find out how you can use visualisation as a powerful technique to create success.
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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.
For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com.
Copyright 2020 Alice Dartnell Limited
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