Briefing Notes: Before You Make Your Goals SMART

Published: December 8, 2019

“Everything worth doing has a hard part.” — Seth Godin

Worth Your Attention

Tis the season.

Whether or not it’s part of your company’s official process, you’re no doubt doing some kind of year-end evaluation about all that’s happened (or didn’t) in 2019. Whether you met your goals or missed them by a mile.

The other thing that’s likely happening (or will be, in short order) is the setting of the goals for 2020.

Anybody who’s been employed for any number of years will be familiar with the S-M-A-R-T acronym for setting goals. It’s the gold standard for coming up with goals.

I subscribed to the SMART process for many years. But it has lost its luster on me, and I don’t hang my hat on in its efficacy anymore. Have not for the last few years. I’ve even talked about why on the podcast before.

A few days ago, I completed an online workshop hosted by Tara McMullin called the “The Commitment Blueprint.”

That workshop gave me a better framework for setting my commitments for the new year. It helped me understand the obstacles that – unbeknownst to me – stood in my way as I set my goals in the past. It gave me a process for committing to my intentions while also moving forward and through my fears.

Tara won’t say this, but I will. 🙂 This is the way we ought to be thinking about goals. Before we can make them SMART, we first have to understand the direction we want to take our careers and our lives.

I encourage you to allocate roughly 90 minutes to watch the replay of this workshop. Don’t forget to grab Tara’s worksheet.

Oh, by the way. It’s free (both the workshop and the worksheet).

Also: While the majority of the participants were entrepreneurs, and many of the examples given were geared for business owners, you can apply everything taught in this workshop to your career. And life!

Worth Your Ears

Speaking of Tara McMullin, a recent episode on her podcast (What Works) brought back Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing. Their discussion on finishing what you started is a great accompaniment to the workshop. Also instructive as we come up with the list of things we want to do or start in 2020. Listen here.

Worth Mulling Over a Cup…

As you consider your commitments for 2020…

“Everything worth doing has a hard part. It’s often more fun and relaxing to focus on the parts that aren’t hard. Or to pretend that the hard part is easy. Better, I think — if we’ve decided that the work is worth doing — to get serious about the parts that are worth our effort.” —Seth Godin

Upcoming Event

Heads Up: I’ll be hosting the Start Your Side Biz Mastermind in January 2020. If you’re looking to start a business next year, this one’s for you. I’ll be looking for a small cohort — around 3 to 5 individuals — to participate in this beta round. Stay tuned for additional information in coming weeks.


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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