Most of us get involved in some kind of goal setting these days, whether it’s personal or work related. The reasons why have long been known by psychologists; we actually thrive and are happier if we have something to aim for – or so they say!

Most of have been taught that goals should be SMART, although a random search online will reveal that we don’t all quite have the same understanding of what it actually stands for. Is R  for Realistic or Relevant?  Is T for Timebound or Tangible? Not that it matters too much – the essence is the same. A goal should be something specific, related to our lives, and we should be able to see our steps towards achieving it.

So far so good.  But does having a SMART goal always tell the whole story? Do we always spring into action when we acquire a goal that passes the SMART test?  Really? In my experience, goals sometimes feel like weights we need to carry than the invigorating, life affirming action makers they are supposed to be!

And here’s my theory why…. You need the BMW

 Many years ago a friend, talking to me about someone who would not face his problems, said “You’ve got to have the want”  She had a good point. Call it ownership, buy in, commitment or whatever you like – if you don’t have the real desire inside to reach the goal, you will easily find excuses to miss the goalposts.  And you probably won’t mind much when you do (although your boss or partner might!)

Too often goals come about because someone else thinks they are a good idea. Friends or family might lean on us to go on holiday, upsize, return to work or do any number of things. Bosses will carry out our appraisal full of great ideas about what they think we could do next. Some of these goals will take root, others will wither.

Even worse, sometimes no one else is involved in our goal setting, and we still manage to give ourselves misguided aims because we think we ‘should’ do it.  Pah! You need a Smart BMW where BMW means But Must Want.

Setting goals – A challenge

Dust off any goals you have in your life and revisit them. Do you still really want to achieve this? Do they inspire you? Will life be better when you have reached them?  If the answer is not a resounding yes,  can you reframe  or tweak them to suit you better?  Or even ditch them, and liberate yourself from the millstone round your neck?

I realise that this could be a challenge in itself, especially if it something you signed up to at your Performance Review. You may need to think carefully before you approach your boss, and have an even better goal to take its place. Sometimes motivation is indirect – you may not be enamoured with the goal, but you want to keep the job, so it so still worth giving it your all.

Setting goals- The reward

If you only have goals you really want to achieve, that motivate and inspire you, what difference would it make to your:

  • Happiness?
  • Wellness?
  • Drive?
  • Performance?

Think it through. If you really want the rewards, make sure your goals are Smart BMW’s.

By Julie Cooper

Author of Face to Face in the Workplace

“If you deal with people you need this book” Buy your copy  here


By | 2017-03-30T14:12:23+01:00 August 6th, 2012|People Tips|Comments Off on Setting goals? Don’t forget the BMW!

About the Author:

I am trainer, coach and author specialising in one to one skills.