Goals & Goal Setting

The OATH Method

Goals really are a funny thing… we’re told to set them and we’re instructed to hold ourselves accountable to them and yet because the question of “how do I get there” perpetually goes unanswered, goals can inadvertently become a reason to beat ourselves up, leave us feeling like failures, and lead us to ultimately being defeated, demotivated, and well… STUCK.

How is that helpful? Well within the ONE Theory, we believe that the old-school ways of setting goals are outdated and ineffective. You’re probably familiar with the phrase “set SMART goals”? We suggest forgetting that altogether and considering that there’s a simpler way to look at goals that actually helps you decipher the “how” to reach them.

SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive.

But what if we applied The ONE thinking to goal setting… maybe there’s a better way to look at goals? How about “OATH” goals?

OATH = “Outcome-Driven”, “Aligned”, “Time-Sensitive”, and “Held by Head and Heart”

At the end of the day – it really is an outcome that we’re trying to achieve when we set a goal and the OATH goal-setting method broadens our thinking accordingly. Here’s the difference:


    Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive

    1. I will lose 15 lbs in 3 months.

    2. I will pay down my line of credit by January 2024.

    3. I will acquire 4 new recurring clients by the end of the year.

    4. I will complete an inventory audit by the end of the month.


    Outcome-Driven, Aligned, Time-Sensitive, Held by Head and Heart

    1. I will be/feel/look healthier in 3 months.

    2. I will reduce my debt load, improve my credit score and feel less financial burden by January 2024.

    3. I will add in new and predictable revenue into my business this year.

    4. I will have a better understanding of my inventory flow and current assets by the end of the month.

  • SMART Goals

    • Highly specific and do not necessarily capture the fulsome benefit of the goal
    • Easily measured (but does it really measure the right things?)
    • Can be arbitrarily assessed as being “attainable” or “realistic”
    • No intrinsic motivators considered; leaving you to rely upon will and discipline
  • OATH Goals

    • Defined more broadly and descriptively connected to the desirable outcome (aka the why)
    • Easily measured
    • Aligns to your bigger picture in terms of what matters to you
    • Builds in intrinsic motivation if it is understood on both a cognitive (head) and emotional (heart) level

The traditional SMART goal-setting method is outdated and completely out of touch with what we as whole humans need to be successful with achieving our goals. It all starts with clarifying and declaring your desired outcome (“O” – Outcome-Driven). THAT should be your goal. It might be less specific but it encapsulates exactly what we’re wanting to accomplish.

Why does “Aligned” matter? This part is often missed when we set our 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 structure and discipline to keep us on track but 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.?

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.

“Time-Sensitive”: Making our goals time-sensitive holds our feet to the fire. It’s about accountability. 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.

“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.