Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about SMART goals over and over again. Every single person that claims to be a business coach or life coach preaches SMART goals, but I think SMART goals are the death of society.

Just a quick recap for you, SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, & Timely. I don’t know about you, but that just makes me want to run the other direction.

SMART goals were created for corporate drones, I mean come on, who else would get excited about a realistic & attainable goal? The SMART goals model works for corporate america but, entrepreneurs and business owners, we are a different breed.

In my opinion, the SMART goals model resembles more of a project management outline than an innovative method of goal setting.

I’ve created a new model for effective goal setting that specifically applies to change-makers, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Today I will share that information with you.

Please leave me a comment at the end with your thoughts!

1. Clear & Compelling Vision

If you’ve been to any type of motivational seminar you’ve heard them say something along the line of, “You gotta get clear on your goals!”. If you haven’t then you’ll just have to take my word for it; that’s what they say.

My personal experience has been that clarity is not enough; you goal also needs to be compelling. Meaning that your goal is attractive to you and it’s something that you have a deep, burning desire to accomplish. You should feel like you are being lead towards your dreams not pushed.

2. Long-Term Impact

Effective goal setting has to encompass something bigger than yourself; a mission or a purpose that contributes to your view of a better world.

I believe that every person, deep down inside, has a genuine desire to do good for others. Some of us, myself included, will even do more for other people than we will for ourselves. That’s a whole different topic for a different post, but it’s something to note.

When you understand the long-term impact you want to have with your goal, you are working for a bigger purpose and for a bigger cause. This creates an emotional attachment to your goal that will help you break through the challenges and obstacles you will face.

Work to align your business goals with your personal passions.

3. Short Term Benefit

Your goal should have some sort of benefit to you personally. No matter how giving of a person you are or how much your goal is about other people, you will never work as hard as you can or make as big of an impact as you can if you aren’t personally motivated.

When you’re working towards a goal, there are often several smaller components that need to be accomplished to achieve the overall goal. Even if your goal is 100% about other people and you should still set rewards for yourself along the way. At each of the smaller accomplishments do something nice for yourself, pat yourself on the back.

Being an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get completely wrapped up in your vision and not recognize & reward yourself for the progress that you have made. One of my favorite quotes is “Entrepreneurs avoid the 40-hour work week so they can work 90.” It’s okay, and actually beneficial to you and your business, to take a day off every now and then.

4. Challenge-Oriented

Goals should be challenging, they should force you to step just outside you comfort zone. Your goal should also have a deadline. Not a completion date, but a hard deadline. If your goal is really easy for you, and you don’t have a deadline, you’ll end up putting it off until you absolutely need to do it. If your goal is slightly challenging, you have short-term benefits and long-term impact from your efforts, and your goal is compelling, it’s inevitable that you will accomplish that goal.

This is one of the main reasons why SMART goals are dead! There’s nothing challenging or appealing about a SMART goal.

Brendon Burchard is a huge advocate of challenge being intentionally integrated into your life. His second New York Times, best-selling book, The Charge is a great resource if you are looking to create more vibrancy and productivity in your life. I highly recommend Brendon’s book.

5. Measurable

It’s painful to say, but this is ONE thing that SMART goals got right. You must be able to measure your progress towards you goals. You must know what it will take to accomplish your clear and compelling vision.

The way I like to look at measuring my goals, is to reverse engineer them. If I want to make 100 sales by the end of the year, how many people will I have to talk to over the course of the year? How many will I have to talk to each month? How many sales will I have to make each month? etc.

Measuring your progress gives you the information you need in order to keep you on track to accomplish your goal.


Now that you’ve learned how to set compelling goals, if you are familiar with the SMART goal setting process, you can use that process to break your BIG, scary, compelling goal into bite-sized pieces. This approach will allow you to make measurable progress towards your big goal.

Like this post?

I will soon be releasing a free 3-part video training series on how to create a rock-solid marketing strategy that gets you results. Effective goal setting lays the foundation for success, but strategy is the back-bone of your business.

Click here to register for my free training and updates!


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Michael R. Hunter
Michael R. Hunter
Michael R. Hunter is the founder of Right Mindset Daily, and Co-Founder of Paperplane. A trusted authority in marketing, Michael is passionate about helping small business owners grow and develop their business. When he's not saving the world from utter chaos, Michael enjoys watching the Denver Broncos, snowboarding, racing go-karts, and traveling. My Google Profile+

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