If you’re the type of person who sets goals, whether at the beginning of the year or even on a more regular basis, you may be familiar with (and use) the SMART method.


It may be that, despite these SMART goals, you still find it hard to achieve them, and spend your time putting them off from one year to the next.

It’s maybe the same with your to-do list: the only thing you manage to achieve is to put off your tasks until tomorrow.


You end up thinking that you’re not persistent enough, that you don’t have the willpower to achieve your goals and dreams.


When in reality, the problem is not YOU, but YOUR GOALS.

What if it was the way you defined your goals that wasn’t adapted to your situation?

Smart Goals never achieved - My Bullet online

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What is a SMART goal?


The SMART Method is a methodology for setting precise goals and, above all, for knowing when they have been achieved.

For example, with goals such as “lose weight” or “be rich“, you’ll never know when they’ll be achieved, and so you run the risk of being constantly disappointed with your results.


This technique is an acronym based on 5 words, the first letter of which forms the word SMART. It’s a mnemonic with 5 criteria that helps you remember the specifics of this type of goal.


The goal must be :

  • S for Specific and Simple: the objective must be personalized, precise, specific to you and not someone else; and simple to understand.
  • M for Measurable: whether it’s an action carried out or a figure obtained, you need to be able to say yes or no, if it’s been achieved, with a measurement indicator.
  • A for Ambitious and Accepted: the goal must be a little difficult to achieve, requiring a little effort to get there; and you must be in phase with this objective. We also have the A for Assignable (defining responsibility clearly) and Attainable, which joins the following R.
  • R for Realistic: the goal must be attainable.
  • T for Time-related: we need to know when this objective is to be achieved.


The goal “to be rich” or “to earn more money” thus becomes “to earn $3,000/month by the end of December 2024“, for example:

  • It’s specific to the person, it’s HIS goal and not someone else’s; it’s easy to understand, $3000 per month.
  • Measurable: you can see the amount in your bank account, and tell when you’ve reached it.
  • Ambitious for someone who currently earns $2500/month, and Accepted if they really believe in it and really want it.
  • Realistic, achievable, because she’s increasing her salary by 20%, she doesn’t want to multiply it by 10; or she can find another activity that generates $500/month.
  • Time-related: she gives herself 1 year to increase her income.

This works for quantitative (quantified) goals: “lose 5 lbs before the end of June 2024“, “read 10 books in 2024“..

but also for qualitative (non-quantified) goals such as “change jobs by the end of 2024” or “write and finish a novel in 2024“.


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Why the SMART method doesn’t work


Maybe you can’t reach your goals despite using this tool, and you’re second-guessing yourself, thinking that you’re the one with the “problem”.

This was my case, and it was only after several years that I realized that I was in fact using the wrong method.

There are many reasons why setting goals with SMART doesn’t work.


Ambitious vs. Realistic


What if I really wanted to triple my salary? Earn $7500 instead of $2500 or even $3000?

Or lose 20 lbs in 6 months instead of only 5 lbs?

Change jobs in 1 month instead of 1 year?


Of course, if the goal is too ambitious and seems impossible to achieve (we’ll see in another post that it’s our limiting beliefs that are blocking us), we’ll be defeatist right from the start and it’s a guaranteed failure.

Conversely, if you settle for something small and realistic, you’re more likely to achieve it, but you won’t necessarily be very happy with the result.


In a SMART goal, therefore, there’s a trade-off between Ambition and Realism, and often the Realistic wins out over the Ambitious.


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Accepted? Really?


Is the objective really Accepted? Or has it been dictated, blown up by someone or society?

Do you really want to lose those 5 lbs? Who said your weight should be this? What will change with those 5 lbs less?

Getting that promotion to earn more, but also having more responsibilities, working overtime, even bringing work home, seeing your family less? Is this really what you want? And do you really need this raise?


In my opinion, it’s not the goal that needs to be accepted, but the constraints to reach that goal.

And that’s what’s missing from a SMART goal.


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You don’t have a crystal ball, you can’t know in advance the exact result you’re going to achieve at the T time you’ve defined in your goal.

This is especially true of quantified goals.


  • For example, when you say to yourself that you want to earn $3,000/month by the end of 2024.
  • Lose 5 lbs in 6 months.
  • Or generate $50,000 in sales in 2024 with your business.
  • Or have 10,000 followers on Instagram by the end of 2024.
  • Spend 1 quality hour a day with your children.
  • Work out 3 times a week.
  • Read 1 book a month.
  • Write 5,000 words a week.

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You don’t know what might happen:

You are the master of your actions, but not of your results.


  • You can work (unpaid) overtime, but that doesn’t mean your boss will give you a raise.
  • You can go on a diet or do some sport, but you may well only lose 2 lbs (or even 8 lbs) instead of the 5 lbs you had planned.
  • Sales, followers on Instagram, depend on others, despite the actions you’ll have taken.
  • Maybe you’ll be tired today and just play 10 minutes with your child, don’t do a workout all week, don’t read a book.
  • Your mind may be elsewhere, and you won’t have the inspiration to write the 500 words a day for your book.


What’s more, will the figure really change the way you do things?

  • Will doing 2 extra hours instead of 1 give you a promotion of $500/month instead of $200/month?
  • To lose 8 lbs instead of 5 lbs, will you eat 10 fewer French fries? Do 5 more sit-ups?
  • If you want to achieve sales of $60,000 instead of $50,000, maybe you’ll create an additional offer? But if you reach $50,000 in August, are you going to take it easy for the rest of the year?
  • To read 1 book a month, will you check the number of pages in each book and divide by 30 to find out how many pages you’ll read each day?
  • Time the number of minutes you spend with your child? Force yourself until the timer goes off? And then stop after 60 minutes?


Finally, there’s an end date, but no notion of follow-up and progress with SMART goals:

  • We’re not going to write a book all at once, but one word at a time,
  • Lose 5 lbs all at once, but a few ounces at a time…

Of course, you need to draw up an action plan but this is not directly apparent from the definition of your goals, and this can be a hindrance to achieving them.


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Of course, I’m caricaturing a little, but I know that having a quantified goal will motivate us to strive towards that result, even if we often come up a little short of that figure.

In reality, we usually arrive at a figure slightly lower than what we had forecast in the calendar. It’s as if this amount were a glass ceiling that you can’t go over, a limit you think you’re incapable of crossing.


In the end, as deadlines approach, you’re going to botch the job or your project, and won’t necessarily be satisfied with the quality of the result produced.


The most important variable in achieving exceptional results is your mindset : if you believe you can do something, you will. If you don’t, you’ll find obstacles in your path.

So when you put a number to a specific date, you unconsciously think you can’t go beyond it.


Then, once the dates and deadlines have passed, the goal is over: either you’ve achieved it, or you haven’t.

If you lost 5 lbs in June, you’ll gain it back (or more) by the end of the summer. If you don’t manage to lose your weight before going to the beach, you’ll go anyway, and stop all your past efforts.

Your success will therefore be short-lived.


We’ll see later how to get long-term results and progress, and how to achieve them every time.


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What’s missing from a SMART goal


For years, I set my goals according to this methodology. Except that, irretrievably, I missed all my goals.


Because in a SMART goal, not only is it very theoretical, it’s a guess at what you’d like to have, because you can’t predict the future.

But above all, it’s superficial. We don’t ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Why do I want to achieve this goal? What is the underlying reason?
  • Is it in line with my values? Does it make me feel good about myself and my life?
  • Is it important? Relevant?
  • Do I feel enthusiastic about the goal? Or would I procrastinate without even starting?
  • Is this goal compatible with my current knowledge and resources? With my daily life? Is this the right time to start? Compared to my constraints? And all my other goals and priorities? In all areas of my life?


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Here are a few examples of SMART goals that don’t work


Lose 5 lbs by June

  • Why would I do that?
    • To wear my bikini at the beach. Why? To be able to take photos and put them on Instagram. Why? To show that I have a great life. Why? To get back at people who said I’m not good enough. Why? To show them I was right.
    • Seeing the final answer to these questions, it would seem that your why isn’t really a strong enough reason to make you diet and exercise.
  • Is it in line with my values?
    • If I think I should be accepted as I am, no.
  • Is it important or relevant?
    • Not if it’s your figure you want to slim down. Doing sport will make you lose fat and gain muscle, which won’t necessarily make you lose weight.
  • Am I enthusiastic about this?
    • If I think that to lose weight, I have to deprive myself and waste time going to the gym, no.
  • Is it compatible with my current self, my current situation?
    • Not if I don’t know how to lose them, if I’ve already done a lot of dieting and running, to no avail.
    • … if I’m convinced that it’s genetic and that I’ll never be able to lose them.
    • Not if I’ve also set myself the goal of quitting smoking, meditating, writing a book, moving house, changing jobs… all at the same time.
    • Maybe not if I have a job where I do a lot of overtime, where I eat lunch every day with clients in a restaurant. Or if I’ve just given birth.


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Earn $100,000 in sales by 2024

  • Why do you want to do this?
    • Where does this figure come from? Is it absolutely necessary to increase sales year after year? Why earn more and more?
  • Is this in line with my values?
    • Not if it means working harder to achieve them and stopping seeing my family (if family is one of my values) (unless perhaps I’m laying the foundations for a business that will then run itself and where I can enjoy my loved ones).
  • Is this important?
    • Not if I look at sales, not margins. If I make $100,000 in sales but spend $90,000 on advertising, there’s no point.
  • Am I enthusiastic about this?
    • No, if I just want to be like my neighbor and my “why” isn’t strong enough.
  • Is it compatible with my current self and situation?
    • Not if I have no idea how I’m going to get there and no mentor to show me.
    • … if I’m just starting up my business, have just had a baby and am still employed.
    • … and if I think that rich people are jerks, or that I have to work my ass off to earn a lot of money, or that I’ll always be poor.

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These 2 examples of SMART goals can surely be achieved by different people: with a strong Why, adapted values, another context, whose situation is compatible.

For example, if you want to lose 5 lbs by June, you’ll probably achieve your goal if :

  • the big why is a medical reason, for example,
  • the person’s values include taking care of themselves,
  • they are already under the care of a sports coach and nutritionist,
  • weighs 180 lbs and has already lost 10 lbs in 6 months.


As for the $100,000 sales figure, it’s sure to be a success if :

  • the person knows how to achieve this result, and has already gone from $30,000 to $60,000 in 1 year,
  • they’ve already made €60,000 in sales the previous year, and are looking to hire new staff this year, so part of the profit will go towards the new recruit’s salary,
  • this extra income will enable her to spend more time with her family and friends, as her new employee will be taking on part of her workload..

So how do you go about achieving your goals, or rather, how do you choose them according to your situation, your values, your Why?

In the next few articles, you’ll see the method I’ve created to help you achieve ALL your goals.


It’s up to you


Tell me in the comments below, do you set SMART goals? Do you manage to achieve them?

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