There are pros and cons of every tool that we use. In some situations a tool might be just perfect for our needs, whereas in other situations something else might serve us better. It is important to be able to discern when a tool is right for the job. For this purpose we will take a look at some of the criticisms of the SMART goal setting model.
Potential pitfalls to be aware of include:
- Just because a goal is SMART it doesn’t mean it is wise. The SMART model is a good criteria for whether a goal is well-stated and we have all the information to have a good chance of achieving it. It does not give us any tools for assessing whether the goal is a good idea in the first place!
- The R of SMART goals can sometimes hold us back in shooting for the stars. If we fear failure, and have low confidence, we might not believe that we can achieve very much and set the bar quite low to make it ‘realistic’. Having big dreams is a great motivator, don’t let the SMART goal model hold you back from aiming high when it’s important.
- If you get addicted to the thrill of setting and achieving SMART goals for yourself in all areas of life, it’s possible for the pressure and pace to have a negative impact on your well–being. Be cautious about setting goals for the adrenaline rush of achieving them and be mindful of when it’s appropriate to set a SMART goal. If you come home from the office and push your partner to set a SMART goal for your leisure plans on the weekend, you might not get the positive response you hoped for!
At the end of the day, it’s simply a matter of understanding the tools you have available and discerning the right way to use them!