So we made it pretty clear in our last blog that we don’t buy into the old-school and antiquated theory of “SMART Goals”. We’d like to propose a different approach…
OATH Goals = “Outcome-Driven”, “Aligned”, “Time-Sensitive”, and “Held by Head and Heart”. Try it out with me…
One of the main problems with goals is that they are inappropriately defined. When we set a very specific target, we are setting ourselves up for missing the bigger picture. If we instead focus on our desired outcomes, we are in a better place to tee up strategies, actions, and tasks that will result in a broader benefit. For example – an outcome can actually include our feelings and other less-tangible, less-measurable results. Here’s the difference:
Our goal as defined by a specific target: “I will lose 15lbs in 3 months” vs. our goal focused on our desired outcomes: “I will be, feel, and look healthier in 3 months”. At the end of the day… why do we really want to lose those 15lbs to begin with?
So we will be, feel, and look healthier/better/more fit.
So if that’s the desired outcome – then why isn’t it the goal? This is what I mean by making our goals “Outcome-Driven”. It might be less specific but it encapsulates exactly what we’re wanting to accomplish.
Next up: “Aligned”. Now this is pretty intuitive and yet often completely missed when we set goals. Most often, our goals in life are stepping stones towards a bigger goal or purpose and yet how often do we take the time to fully explore what those connections are and what they mean? We’ll go to great lengths to find ways to motivate ourselves or provide concrete structures to keep us on track (just think of the weight loss industry… the coaches, the apps, the programs etc.). And yet… what if we kept things really simple and just made sure we were crystal clear on the alignment of our goals to that bigger picture/vision/mission/ our values etc.?
How does your goal of losing 15lbs align with your life’s vision, your purpose etc.?
- By reaching this goal I will have more energy to play with my kids
- This will help me create more memories for them
- This will help teach them about healthy lifestyle choices
- This will motivate them to keep a healthy lifestyle
- By reaching this goal I will feel more confident and capable
- This will help me take on some of my other fears holding me back
- This will help me learn and grow as a person
- This will teach me about healthier habits
- By reaching this goal I will improve my overall health
- This will help me reduce my prescription medication
- This will help me increase my mental wellness
- This will help me reduce the long term effects of my chronic illness
When we take a step back and evaluate just how relevant this one goal is to the bigger picture in life, it’s easier to build up those intrinsic motivators to get us started and stay on track. This is why “Alignment” is so crucial. We need to see how the dots connect.
What about “Timely”? Well – it really does come down to accountability here. We are simply less likely to be successful with our goals if we don’t tie ourselves to some form of accountability and perhaps the most familiar way for us to do that is to put a finish line out there for ourselves. Setting boundaries with our time will help us with prioritizing the actions needed to accomplish the goal and it will also be a measure that we can hold ourselves accountable to. A timeframe is a must.
And lastly (and I know this is a bit different) there’s “Held by Head and Heart”. Simply put – your goal needs to be acknowledged and understood on both a cognitive (head) and emotional (heart) level. This goes back to upping your chances of success by tapping into your intrinsic motivation. When a goal is tangible, logical, and just makes sense (held by your head) then you’re more likely to take the actions to be successful. But when your heart buys in? Ah – that’s when the magic happens. This means exploring the future feelings that will come when you reach this goal. This means falling in love with that outcome so that you’re willing to do just about anything to get there. When we have the culmination of our head and heart onside with the goal – there’s really not much that will get in the way.
And so there you have it! A different spin on the outdated “SMART” goal setting method. Next time you’re in the headspace to set some goals, try making an OATH to yourself and see if it brings you a little closer to your Excellence Potential.