SMART Goals Aren’t Enough

Smart hard
If you have received even a modicum of real estate training, you know about SMART Goals. In case you’re a bit rusty, let’s do a bit of revision.

It is said about goals that they should be SMART. This is what I said about SMART Goals in an earlier blog post:

Specific: the goal must be specific. Don’t say, “I want to be successful.” What does success mean to you? Specifically, what is your definition of success? If you don’t know what success ‘looks like’, you won’t know when you’ve achieved it.

Measurable: the goal must be measurable. If, for example, you want to take your family to Disneyland, thoroughly plan the trip on paper and determine how much this will cost. Now you have a measurable dollar goal.

Next, divide this figure by ten (months in the year, allowing for breaks here and there), and you will have the amount of money you need to earn each month. This is clearly measurable: you either reach the dollar figure, or you don’t – there are no ‘grey’ areas here.

Achievable: the goal must be achievable. I don’t care whether or not somebody has done it before; I want to know that it can be done. I might want to be the first person ever to fly without the aid of a machine, but no matter how much I want it, if I go to the top of the highest building, jump and flap my arms, I’m going to plummet. No goal setter can achieve the truly unachievable.

Realistic: the goal must be realistic. So many times I have seen newcomers to real estate say things like, “I’m going to make $200,000 in my first year.” At their present skill and activity level, you know they haven’t got a hope. So why say it? Set a goal that is within your skill or activity level, and aim to increase in both.

Time: the goal must be achievable in the time you have allowed for its achievement. Some people set worthwhile goals, but do not allow themselves sufficient time to reach them. Big mistake.

Even though I wrote this a good while ago, I still stand by it, but I agree with author Mark Murphy when he said that SMART Goals are not enough.

“Maybe if we weren’t so focused on making sure our SMART goals were written correctly on our goal-setting forms, we might ask, ‘Is this goal fundamentally wimpy?'”

[From Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your Employees to Give It Their All, and They’ll Give You Even More by Mark Murphy.]

So SMART Goals are not enough. There is something missing:

SMART Goals need also to be HARD Goals.

It mucks up the acronym I know – SMARTH lacks the punch – but if a goal does not stretch us, it’s mere routine and is not a goal. Winners like a good challenge, and Hard Goals challenge us.

Don’t be in such a hurry to dismiss SMART Goals, however. The SMART criteria makes perfect sense. But so does setting goals that take us out of familiar territory (Comfort Zone if you must) and into the realm of achievement that requires us to CHANGE and GROW.

Hard Goals require us to study to improve our result-for-effort ratios. They require us to raise or levels of activity, to speak with more people, to be more focused, to be better time managers, and so forth.

Once we achieve Hard Goals we are a different person, an improved model of what we were before we attempted those goals.

So keep your goals SMART, but add HARD to the mix. Challenge yourself and at the same time you will increase your income and your level of happiness.

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