• Erin Dickson

How SMART Goals can lead to FAILURE

Updated: Aug 18



Hear me out...as a Teacher or School Counselor reading this you probably think I have some rocks loose... I get it. I don't know about you, but SMART goals have been drilled into my head through countless professional development trainings for years. Not only that, but we have to write SMART goals as a part of our own PD plans.


When I first began as a School Counselor, I kinda sucked. I created my little "SMART" goal lesson plan and had students develop goals before diving into the career planning process.

When they got to the career planning, they were choosing paths that were completely safe and predictable, which isn't all bad, BUT if they reached too high, like as a famous athlete or actress, I made sure to put them in their place.


"Uh-uh-uh, that's not realistic, you need a back-up plan...less than 2% of athletes will become famous."


What are YOUR Goals? Are you leading by example?


If they identified wanting to be a doctor, but were getting a C in Math or Science (in the 6th grade), I'd be sure to put them in their place.


Let's just say it, I kinda sucked in the dream big department.

Look around at other adults in your life and you'll discover how many are unhappy in their jobs. This is tragic! We spend 40+ hours per week working! Let's teach students how to create a future they love and feel passionate about, not one they're taking because it's safe and predictable.

Truth be told, I didn't know any better. That's how I learned. Do you? Are you living your live each day with excitement and passion? If not, that's "normal", but stop being normal...click here to access 5 Day Goal Crusher Challenge for adults and START leading by example.


I know that some of you are thinking "but it IS unrealistic...we NEED goals that are realistic" and I get it because I was the same way...but how did the people who have made a dent in our world get there? Certainly not by someone telling them they couldn't.


You see, becoming as well-known as Tom Brady or Carrie Underwood isn't the norm, but let them try and fail or better yet, try and succeed. Either way, push them to try, rather than to stop dreaming because you don't believe it's possible for them.


Consider this...if you're like many, you will set your bar low enough to be successful. When you start feeling fear or doubt about your ability to make something BIG happen, you slip back into your comfort zone. There you will remain, until you truly understand that you have a CHOICE and can make shit happen IF you want it bad enough.

I've since abandoned SMART goals, for the most part. I'm not gonna lie, in the early days I published some curriculum on SMART goals and it's still out there. It's not too bad...but moving forward, I stick with SMAHT goals. We don't pronounce our "r's" where I'm from.


Specific, still super important...Measureable, yep! Attainable...nope, I call it "Almost Attainable". You see because when you HIT an almost attainable goal, you'll be mindblown! Relevant or Realistic, nope - relevant is obvious. I go with "H" for "Helps you grow" and Time-based...still a good idea.

I've thrown old boring attainable and relevant out the door. Kicked their toosh to the curb, they're outdated and it's time for those two little words to leave the goal setting (DREAM building rather) process...

When kids tell me that their dream job is actually on the back-burner, because they don't think it's possible, then I make sure to tell them that there's NO chance of their dream happening IF they put it on the back-burner.

Your dream job and dream life need to be front and center. Don't give up until you're there, my friend. This message isn't just for the kiddos...

Some our famous friends know how this works includingTom Brady, Chris Gardner, Jim Carey, JK Rowling, Bethany Hamilton, Oprah Winfrey...the list goes on.

If you don't believe you can, you won't take the steps to get there...put on your own oxygen mask, then teach the kids. Self Care is VITAL!





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