Beyond SMART Goals

(6.ii) In-Depth Goals Checklist

SMART Goals was the first checklist I used to set goals.

Brain research in the last ten years or so has provided us with exciting new information about how our brains function.

I have taken the knowledge from this research and applied it to goal setting techniques.


The result is my expanded SMART Goals checklist which I jokingly call "SMARTER" goal setting. (By the way this is not an acronym LOL)

SMART is an acronym for the following:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable/Acceptable
R = Realistic
T = Timely/Time Frame

Follow the Self Help Workshop links, on the top navigation bar. This free information has been strategically placed in a specific order for your benefit; to help you achieve quick results. The Self Help Workshop starts here!

Where do you begin?

We will take your list of needs and wants and run it through my expanded version of the SMART Goals checklist. This will help refine your goals to be sure they are compatible with both yourself and your other goals.

We will also make sure each goal is worded properly to effectively influence your subconscious brain.

Before we begin this process, take some time and ponder these questions:

  • Why are you here, right now, in this lifetime?
  • What are you here to learn and experience?
  • What you do well and enjoy doing?
  • If given the opportunity to do anything, without limitations, what would it be?
Take a few deep breaths and relax your body. The answers are already within your subconscious.

You may already have a good idea what you were destined to do. Write down what you “feel”.

After these questions are answered intuitively, you will have a better understanding of which goals are important to you. Then you can choose goals which harmonize with your true desires.

Keep the answers to those questions in the forefront of your mind as we take each item on your list and refine it with my expanded SMART Goals checklist below.

1. Specific - Have you included every detail?

This is the first check on the SMART Goals list. I agree entirely – your goals need to include every detail and be stated clearly.

When a goal states exactly what it is you want to be, have or do, it then becomes easy to communicate precise details of your desire to the subconscious. (And Universal Intelligence)

Think of it like building a house. The architect plans the layout and design, then prepares the blueprints. That's like you making a list and then preparing your goals - designing your life.

Then the builder takes the blueprints and can easily build exactly what the architect planned because they have a detailed design. That's like the subconscious mind building your life from the goals you created.

Now, if the architect was lazy and the plans were not detailed, the builder would have great difficulty understanding exactly what they were supposed to build.

Setting goals is the same - you need to be precise. Are you starting to get an idea why these are called SMART Goals?

Many try to write their goals like this: “I choose to manifest a brand new BMW 330 CI, medium blue exterior, tan interior, sunroof, AM/FM CD player, air conditioning, aluminum wheels, sun roof, cruise control, heated seats, etc., etc., etc".

Maybe the car you want is not available exactly as you described. In this case it would be difficult to manifest.

As an added touch to the SMART Goals, I find it more effective to list each detail of your goal on a separate line.

You can still get exactly what you want, except for a few options which could easily be added later; such as the aluminum wheels or the CD player.

2. Measurable.

How will you know when the goal is achieved? You need specific criteria to measure your progress.

Using the car example above, obviously you will know when you have it. Tangibles (or asset goals) are easy to measure – either you have it or you don’t.

Intangibles can be a little more difficult to gauge.

Some of the SMART Goals systems recommend you set only goals which can give you evidence of completion.

My opinion differs in that I believe personal development is an ongoing, life long process – in other words it is never complete.

However, just because you will never experience the finality of completion, you can still see and measure changes, greatly improving every aspect of life.

Each day you perform as you have envisioned, more success will occur and you will be inspired to continue focusing on your goals.

3. Acceptable - Is this your goal?

The meaning of each letter in SMART Goals is open to interpretation and varies amongst individuals. Some use the word "acceptable" and others use the word “attainable”.

Attainable relates to realistic which is number 4 in this list. I prefer to use "acceptable" for the "A" in SMART Goals.

Ask yourself, is this goal acceptable - something you want to be, have or do?

There are actually two points of interest to consider when deciding if this goal is yours.

i) No one else can or should choose your goals.

A good example is when parents push you to follow a specific career path which is not your choice.

When someone else chooses for you, the end result is usually disastrous. If it is not your choice or desire to follow a particular career, it is difficult to remain motivated and passionate.

You may end up dissatisfied, stressed, angry or very unhappy with your career.

I’m sure you will be much happier when you follow your heart and go for your dream. When you are happy, you automatically spread happiness to others.

Therefore, make sure any goal is “your” goal and not something you are doing to please others.

ii) You cannot set goals for others.

They are on their own path and free to make their own decisions. You have wisely chosen to improve your life; however others may choose to remain as they are.

It can be very frustrating when you decide to make changes and those around choose to stay the same. Realize you cannot force change on anyone.

For instance, you cannot set a goal for your spouse such as “My mate is loving, caring and affectionate”.

In the end, you get stuck trying to convince your mate to change and see little to no results. I re-emphasize your goal must be your own.

Often, when someone begins to improve their own life, others close to you see the positive changes. They then become interested and influenced by observation.

By all means if they ask for your help, give it. Otherwise, trying to help another who chooses not to change is like trying to force feed a baby that’s not hungry.

4. Realistic - Is your goal meaningful?

Do you really, really want this goal or does it just sound good?

Is it possible for another human to achieve it?

Do you wake up every morning inspired to take action on your goal?

If you really don’t care about achieving this goal, you will not be motivated to move toward its manifestation.

Some of the SMART Goals literature states if a goal is too difficult you are setting yourself up for failure (being unrealistic) – I don’t agree 100% with this philosophy.

I have often been told it is more realistic to have smaller, attainable goals to avoid subconscious resistance.

Many believe with smaller goals your mind is more able to accept the goal as a possibility.

However, my belief is whether your goal is small or big, we are programmed to resist.

Assuming you have been with me since the Home Page, you now know how your brain functions, how to eliminate the resistance and how to re-program your subconscious brain to be in harmony with your goals.

It takes the same amount of effort to go for a large goal as a small one – so why not go big?

The bigger the goal, the more enthusiasm and excitement it generates. The more you challenge yourself, the greater your achievements.

Don’t settle for less than what you are truly capable of accomplishing. Remember, if you can think it, you already have it within you to achieve it.

If you are already familiar with SMART Goals and have been limiting yourself to less challenging goals, do yourself a favor and add goals that will challenge you to excel.

5. Timely/Time Frame

This is the last letter in the SMART Goals system. A few coaches teach you to set time frames or blocks of time when you plan to work on your goals.

For example, plan one hour of exercise in the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:00 PM and you have set aside a specific time frame to work on your fitness goal.

More often than not, you will read the Time aspect of SMART Goals is to set a specific date for accomplishment. According to the scientific brain research explained in Step One this is incorrect.

When you set your goals (especially self-improvement goals) and focus on each one as already accomplished, your subconscious then works 24/7 to help you live into your vision.

First of all, why would anyone want to put off completing any goal at some specific time in the future; especially if there is the possibility to achieve it faster?

Secondly, I don’t believe the subconscious understands the concept of time.

Lastly, do you really want to put yourself in a constant state of waiting for your goals to manifest – or would you prefer to start living them right now?

That concludes my version of the SMART Goals checklist - but read on, I have more to tell you.

6. Beyond SMART Goals

Below I have included additional checklist items which go beyond the SMART Goals information I have presented above.

When setting goals, please keep in mind you may not get your goals perfect the first time. That's okay.

You can always tweak or update goals when you are presented with new information you consider valid.

Speaking of valid, realize whether you use SMART Goals, my extended version or some other goal setting technique, all information is first conceived in the mind, written by man (woman) and embraced by others.

Everything is open to interpretation. Use what "feels" right.

Ready? Let's do some fine tuning!

6. How or what will you benefit from achieving  this goal?

Get specific and detailed about the benefits you can expect from achieving your vision. For example, becoming a non-smoker:

  • Your lungs are clean and healthy.
  • Your overall health and longevity are greatly improved.
  • Your physical stamina increases tremendously.
  • Your home, car and clothes are clean and fresh scented.
  • You now have extra cash to save or spend differently.
  • You are more self-confident with the "smoking" monkey off your back.

I am sure if being a non-smoker was your goal, there are many other benefits you could list.

Detailed lists of benefits provide motivation to accomplish your goals. It helps when you have one of those days where you’re not functioning at 100% and need a little reminder to keep you moving towards your goal.

In fairness, there are some SMART Goals instructors who include this in the first check - being "Specific".

7. What's the goal behind this goal?

What is the real reason you have chosen this goal?

For example, if your goal is $50,000.00 - why do you want this money? Is it a down payment on a house, a new car, education for your children?

If you wanted to buy a new car, then make the car your goal and not the cash.

Now, let’s look even deeper. Why do you want a new car?

Perhaps for the feelings associated with driving a brand new automobile or how you think others will perceive you.

Look even deeper and you will discover they all serve the same purpose – to be happy and loved.

Please include these when you set your goals. Make it a personal goal to give everyone all the love and happiness you can find inside yourself.

You will never give away so much love and happiness that you run out. In fact, the more you give out, the more you will get back.

8. Does this goal contradict any other goal?

All your goals must co-operate with each other.

A goal to own a million dollar mansion is not in harmony with a $50,000 yearly income goal.

Even if someone gave you the mansion, your income still wouldn’t cover the yearly taxes, maintenance and upkeep of the property.

9. Is this goal flexible?

Persistence is often associated with success. Unfortunately, there are times when continuing down a path puts you further away from your goals and it is wise to let go.

Goals need to have some degree of flexibility. Sometimes the Universe provides us with alternatives which turn out better than we planned.

10. Are your goals well balanced?

This is an extremely important aspect of goal setting and yet I have never seen it in any SMART Goals checklist.

A common problem with goal setting is to exclusively set financial or money goals; thinking wealth is the source of happiness.

If you are currently miserable and poor and wealth is your only goal, you will only end up rich and unhappy.

Many get lost in the pursuit of wealth. They think the goal is the prize, but it’s not!

The real prize is who you become. Surprisingly, the more you change and grow, the more wealth flows to you.

Think about this, have you ever purchased a new car or perhaps new furniture. Often within days you begin losing interest and turn your attention onto something else you want.

Goals are tools successful people use to constantly improve every aspect of life. Goals inspire and motivate us to learn, grow and change. They give us a reason to play the game.

To achieve a balance, be sure to include goals which cover all areas of life.

Here are the six areas to consider:

  1. Love and relationships
  2. Health and fitness
  3. Religion/spirituality
  4. Personal development – education, mental health, etc.
  5. Career
  6. Financial

That’s the end of my SMARTER checklist. Now you have taken each goal on your list and fine tuned it with both the SMART Goals checklist and my extended version.

In the next section you will learn how to craft your goals so they are worded properly.


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