S.M.A.R.T. Goals are stupid!

Limiting yourself to SMART goals is stupid!

Learn about the one thing that is missing from SMART goals

Don’t get me wrong.  As a motivational speaker, I talk about the importance of setting goals to take your current situation to the next level all the time.  And, as a speaker, I am also am a student of the world of motivation.  I have heard my share of motivational speakers talk about having S.M.A.R.T. goals – heck, I even talked about it when I was a trainer working for a seminar company.  However, once I went out on my own (in 1998) I started to put my own thoughts and ideas into action including putting my own spin on goal setting.  So, I am confident when I say that if you limit your goal-setting to just following the SMART acronym, well, it’s just stupid!

Yes, there is value in being specific and measurable and attainable and realistic and timely.  But, I think that there is one element that is missing.  In fact, I ask my audiences what the first thing they should be when sitting in front of a clean slate about ready to write some goals or even new years resolutions at the beginning of the year.  Inevitably, audience members shout out variations of the S.M.A.R.T. goals.  I gently say, that I actually don’t want them to be realistic or specific AT THE BEGINNING.  No.  In fact, I believe if we set goals and write down only things that we think are realistic or attainable, we may limit ourselves to what we have done in the past.  Therefore, I encourage people to add another letter in front of their smart goals and that letter would be ‘O’.  You may think that stands for open, or optimistic which are great words.  But, what I’m looking for is the word ‘OUTRAGEOUS!’  Yes, I want people to start off by imagining that anything is possible and write out goals – lots of goals – that brings out the creativity, the dreamer, the outrageous-ness of someone!  I learned from my friend Mark Victor Hansen, the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.  He told me to take 20 minutes and write out 101 goals.  Here’s what happens.  We all know what’s realistic or attainable and those goals come easy to our list.  But, if we have to write out 101 goals, we force ourselves to be creative.  That creativity then breeds more creativity and eventually what comes out starts to sound outrageous and that leads to stupid outrageous!  That’s where the magic happens!  When you are stupid outrageous, your inner kid comes out and so does that child-like enthusiasm.  I am all for chid-like enthusiasm to help propel you forward closer to your dreams.

Yes, set S.M.A.R.T. goals.  But, before you do – start off with the most important piece, and that is to be OUTRAGEOUS!  Don’t think outside the box, throw the box out the window and allow your inner kid to come out. Then, when you start to narrow your focus and start to be specific, at least you’ll have some positive enthusiastic energy to get you to the next level.

From your outrageously optimistic motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman


Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at http://www.MarilynSherman.com

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Wonderful suggestion to be Outrageous! That’s smart and a great suggestion from a great motivational speaker!

  2. GREAT advice, Marilyn!!  I’ve been a bit of an outrageous goal setter my whole life. And even I can lose sight of that glorious creative process and start to “settle” for what is more “realistic.”  Thanks so much for the reminder that it’s those OUTRAGEOUS goals that set a process in motion – that will lead me to fantastic results!  

  3. Thank you Marilyn for giving me (what feels like) permission to be Stupid Outrageous!  You made me realize how semi-grown up and realistic I’ve tried to be in this ongoing process of living a productive and successful life.  Here’s to throwing the box out the window. Yippee!!

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