Today, we are talking “smart” goals. If there’s one thing we’ve all been told about setting goals is that they should be SMART, right?

That’s what I was told for years. My mentors would say “the only thing that matters, Deanna, is that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

While that sure looks great on paper—it doesn’t go far enough for those of us who want to achieve big, big things.

Think about it.

Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, trips to exotic islands, and enough money to build your dream home?

I don’t know if those safe, smart, realistic goals are going to get you there. In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.

When we set safe goals, we tend to base those goals on existing resources and the same old ideas. I think, the best part of setting goals is the chance to explore new, crazy, and creative ideas.

Let’s look at an example…

Consider what could happen when if you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year.

You might work 10% more. And you’ll likely earn about 10% more. (But really, who wants to give up happy hour with the girls, or morning yoga before work?)

“That’s not so bad!” you might be thinking. After all, that was the goal, right?

But here’s the real question to ask yourself…does that 10% goal inspire you to work smarter? Or do you think you would find yourself just working more because it’s an easy solution?

I think rather than focusing on goals that are attainable and realistic, the key to incredible success lies in creating lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.

When your goals seem a little uncomfortable, I think that is how you know you are on the right track.

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to increase my annual revenue by 55%. This was a stretch goal for sure and wasn’t going to be easy by any means. I wouldn’t be able to get there just by working more hours. I would need to find new—and better—ways of doing things to boost my income.

I’d most likely need to work on a more strategic marketing plan. I’d need to come up with new ways to find clients. And I knew that I needed to be open to the chance that I’d need to work a little more than usual—at least in the short term—but only when it’s necessary and that felt okay to me.

You cannot simply declare crazy goals and expect the universe to grant all your wishes.  But if you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone, stretch your thinking, and be open to doing the work, the Universe will have your back. And that’s exactly why I say putting aside those smart goals is so…smart.

When you throw out attainable in favor of the “holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.

The beautiful thing is that you might not quite reach your stretch goal, but you’re almost guaranteed to do better than any “safe” goal. And that is a WIN. So push your boundaries. Set big, audacious goals. Even if you fail, you’ll be much further ahead than those smart goals would leave you.

Lots of love,