SMART Goals vs Taking Actions

Below is a LinkedIn post I’ve posted on the very first day (1st January) of 2024 … on SMART Goals vs Taking Actions – which is more important (or really both)? I find myself constantly need to revisit THIS in order to at least achieve some desirable outcomes I’m hoping planning for the new year ahead! So here’s the story :

Once upon a time, in the land of corporate jargon, there lived a young man named Sam. Sam was an ambitious fellow, always setting SMART goals for himself. For those unfamiliar with the term, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It’s a popular acronym used in the business world to set effective goals.

One day, Sam decided to set a new SMART goal for himself: “I will climb Mount Everest by the end of next year.” It was Specific (Mount Everest), Measurable (reach the summit), Achievable (well, people have done it before), Relevant (Sam loved adventures), and Time-bound (by the end of next year).

Sam spent days meticulously planning his journey. He researched about the best climbing gear, studied weather patterns, and even learned Sherpa language. He had charts, graphs, and spreadsheets detailing every step of his journey. His goal was as SMART as it could get.

However, there was one tiny problem. Sam had never climbed a mountain before. Not even a small hill. In fact, he got winded climbing the stairs to his third-floor apartment.

One day his friend Bob visited him. Bob wasn’t as meticulous or ambitious as Sam. He didn’t set SMART goals; he just did things he wanted to do.

Seeing all of Sam’s plans scattered around the room, Bob asked him what they were for. When Sam explained his goal to climb Mount Everest by next year’s end, Bob couldn’t help but laugh.

“Sam,” Bob said between chuckles, “You’ve got all these plans and goals which is great! But don’t you think you should maybe start with climbing our local hill first?”

Sam looked at Bob in surprise. “But that’s not part of my SMART goal,” he protested.

Bob just shook his head and replied with a grin: “Sammy boy! Action is more important than setting goals. You can have the smartest goal in the world, but it won’t mean a thing if you don’t take the first step. Or in your case, the first climb!”

And so, the moral of our little corporate fable is this: SMART goals are great, but they’re not worth a hill of beans without action. So, before you plan to conquer your Mount Everest, make sure you can at least conquer the stairs to your apartment!

I believe the answer is quite standard – BOTH are equally important. BUT if I’ll have to choose between one of them, it’s definitely ACTIONS!

In short, 1% planning, 99% actions!

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