Goals state our ambitions and aims for desired results, big and small. They can be as simple as running an errand or as broad as your life’s passion (“I want to write a book,” “I want to lead a team …”). They can cover a range of territories including:

  • Artistic expression
  • Attitude 
  • Career
  • Community
  • Education
  • Family
  • Finance
  • Physical
  • Religion

While we might know what we want to achieve, we may not how to tackle that goal against all of life’s distractions and obligations (work, family, etc.).  

Rather than discussing how to achieve goals, we are too often taught an “all or nothing” approach: we reach for the stars, or we fail. We rarely learn the complexity building new habits or how to restructure our lives around daily stressors and obligations. 

By building both “stretch” and “S.M.A.R.T.” goals, we address two different goal-setting purposes: to keep an eye on the big picture, while setting concrete day-to-day tasks. 

We also benefit from a “curious, not critical” approach. If we struggle to complete a task, we can assess how and why, rather than leaping to conclusions about our willpower. 

What are stretch and SMART goals?

Stretch Goals: These are our broader ambitions. They inspire us to focus on the big picture. 

SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timeline

Here’s an example! 

Stretch Goal: Start job hunting

Specific: Research admin positions and send resumes

Measurable: Send 3 resumes to prospective positions each week

Achievable?: Yes, if I research 30 minutes Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Realistic?: Yes, if I set my alarm 40 minutes earlier (need a 10-minute buffer for coffee)

Timeline: Research Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, make list and send resumes Friday