Rather SMART Goals Than Unfulfilled Wishes. SMART Goals Make Life Easier.

Don’t confuse your dreams with goals: Wake up and be SMART
Wake Up!

Smart goals or rather big wishful thinking?


Better smart goals than unfulfilled wishes. Well defined goals for better self-management, more effective meetings, negotiations,… Life is much easier when agreements with ourselves and others are made more clearly and realistically.

Wishes or goals?


So many people have so many good intentions. Few of them are realized. Because very often goals and wishes are confused. But with pure wishful thinking, little can be achieved beyond esotericism. Yes, I liked the 80s with the New Age, and “What’s the Bleep!” was nice too. It regularly requires more than just dreaming.

Personal declarations of intent in which only one person is involved – ourselves – are already difficult enough. This explains why agreements have their pitfalls with an increasing number of people. In meetings with 10 participants, there are frequently 11 opinions on what was agreed upon.




Real goals are S.M.A.R.T.


Whether in meetings, negotiations or your planning: The prerequisite for goal-oriented action is well-chosen and defined goals. When the defined goals lack essential characteristics, this is the most common reason why the desired result is different from the intended one.

This is a pity because it is relatively easy to significantly increase the chances of success. Use the proven SMART format to formulate your goals. Each letter represents a characteristic that has a good goal.




S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Specific


Goals need focus, dreams don’t. Dreams can be free-floating thoughts. The goals must be formulated and specifically present.

What exactly do you want to achieve? The more precise your description, the higher the chance that you will get exactly that.


Questions you can ask yourself when setting your goals are:

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • How do I want to reach it?
  • Where do I want to reach it?
  • Who do I want to reach it with?
  • What are the conditions and restrictions?
  • Why exactly do I want to achieve this goal?
  • When do I want to reach it with which steps?




S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Measurable


Measurable goals mean that you determine exactly what you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. You have an idea that provides orientation. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements. You need concrete evidence.

Some goals require a long journey. Then measurable criteria help to recognize progress.




S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Attractive


It is very important to formulate your goals positively because what you concentrate on gets attention.

Is reaching your goal relevant to you? Why do you want to achieve this goal? What is the goal behind the goal, and will this goal make it possible?




S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Realistic


While you can dream for free, goals do not come without a price. Time, money, effort, and sweat. How and what will you pay for your goals? Is your goal even achievable?

If you do not have sufficient resources such as time, money or talent to achieve a particular goal, you are likely to fail and be unhappy.

There is nothing wrong with reaching for the stars. That doesn’t mean you can’t take something that seems impossible and make it possible by planning wisely and tackling it. If you lack certain skills, you can plan the training. If you lack certain resources, you can look for ways to get them.




S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: Timely


Goals have a finish line. Dreams never have to end. Dreams can go on forever. They don’t have to have an ending point. Goals must have a specific outcome.

Deadlines are what make most people switch to action. So install deadlines, for yourself and your team, and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can keep morale high. Being too stringent on the timely aspect of your goal setting can have the perverse effect of making the learning path of achieving your goals and objectives into a hellish race against time – which is most likely not how you want to achieve anything. Too much pressure doesn’t lead to better results. Better: Milestones usually have a positive effect.

Just ask me personally


Please post any questions that may be of interest to other readers in the comments. Looking for professional help?

If you are interested in coaching, training or consulting, if you have organizational questions, or if you want to make an appointment, you can reach me best via this contact form (you can choose whether you want to enter your personal data) or via e-mail (mail@karstennoack.com). You can also reach me by phone at +49(0)30 864 213 68 or by cell phone at +49(0)1577 704 53 56 from Monday to Thursday from 9:00 to 18:00. Most of the time I am in meetings, so please leave a message with your phone number in Germany. Please remember to be very specific about the reason for your call. I will get back to you as soon as possible. The privacy policy can be found here.

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And how do you deal with wishful thinking, goals and agreements?

1 Comment

  1. I love the photos on that website.


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More contentment through self-acceptance or does that reduce the motivation?

Many people consider discontentment to be the most important motivator. My observation: We are happier when we learn to accept ourselves as we truly are. And we stimulate personal development this way.

Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Washington Irving

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: March 21, 2001
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 20th, 2023
Translation: ./.
German version:

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