From SMART to SMARTY: How to Posify Your Goal Setting

One of our favourite coaches, Marie Forleo, constantly reminds us that insight is only useful once it’s turned into action. What’s a useful first-step to inspire action? To set a meaningful goal, of course!

But if you feel like this is sometimes a little easier said than done, and you want some practical strategies to move from goal-setter to goal-slayer, then read on!

Before we tackle the how of goal slaying, let’s get clear on what we’re wanting to change and why.
Make your goals specific and measurable, so you can spot when they’ve been accomplished, and consider whether they are attainable, realistic and time-related. Set goals you are willing AND able to work towards and keep in mind a deadline. This will help create enough urgency to fuel your motivation for change.

You might notice these tips lead to an easy acronym for goal setting that you’ve potentially come across before…? That’s right, this is the process of setting a SMART goal. We’ve written about the power in setting SMART goals before (haven’t read it yet, click here to catch up).

But, to posify your goal setting, you need to add an extra letter.

You need to get clear on your “Y”.
This means you are setting goals that support a greater purpose, and you are visualising how your life will be more meaningful once you’ve achieved the change. For example, if greater health is on your radar, see if you can attach it to a “why statement” that’s grounded in your personal values around family and lifestyle. Let’s take a look at an example.

Here’s a SMART goal: 
“I will commit to 3 x 1-hour gym session each week this month so that I can improve my cardio fitness.” 

And here’s is a very different goal, pointing to a deeper “why”:
“I’d like to be able to run in the park with my toddler without stopping to catch my breath so much. I want to be a good role model for her, and show her that being outside is good for your health and your relationships. My goal is to get to the gym three times a week. I choose the gym because it’s a focused hour of ‘me’ time in an environment that is fun and motivating for me, and I know the classes are structured. If I can’t make it to the gym, I can swap the session out with a run around my block.”
This second goal, though longer, is different in a couple of significant ways:

  1. It puts purpose first. This extra awareness of meaning that frames the goal helps to anchor efforts across time, especially when the temptation to revert to old habits strikes!!
  2. It offers a plan B, so that when the inevitable obstacles come our way, we’re prepped with a fall back option and can still feel like we’re moving forward.

Most of us set our goals with strong intention. We want the “why”, but the “how” is interrupted by obstacles; running late to the class, the kids getting sick, the trainer going on holidays. Sometimes we make the obstacles up ourselves. Meh, I just don’t like the t-shirt I have in my closet. I don’t want to be seen wearing tie-dye at the gym! Having a realistic backup plan, like running around the block, helps us to serve our overarching goal when plan A is met by obstacles.

So, what was that acronym again?? Let’s review it:
Y: Why is it important to you?
And finally, what’s your Plan B?

Keen for more help to set your first SMARTY goal?  Click here for your downloadable Goal-Slayer Cheat Sheet to help you posify your next goal.

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Jenna O'Connell

Jenna is a teacher and careers counsellor, with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama & Performance), Bachelor of Education (K-12), and Graduate Certificate in Education Studies (Careers & Transitions).

Jenna is in her element when she is helping people and organisations discover their unique magic, and working with them in sharing this magic with the world to drive positive change. Her background sees an amalgam of over 15 years across corporate and education sectors, with extensive experience in curriculum development, coaching, facilitation, and mentorship.

Jenna contributes to various local youth projects and initiatives. Throughout 2017-2018, she mentored local youth in their project, Cards For Change, who went on to win a $2000 Pitch Project grant. She also volunteers for The Luminosity Youth Summit, is the Youth Ambassador Program Coordinator for Dyslexia Mid North Coast, and a proud ambassador for and presenter at #LitFest2444.

Mariane Power

Mariane is a Clinical Psychology Registrar and holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Newcastle, a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Performance. Mariane’s big audacious goal is to see all unnecessary emotional pain and suffering eliminated within her lifetime, and she is obsessed with all things related to human potential. Mariane has over 15 years experience in consulting, facilitation and corporate training for personal and strategic growth. Her work as a Leadership Consultant in the corporate world further fuels her understanding of the necessary skills for the 21st Century workplace, and she has a particular interest in supporting our next generation to thrive.  Mariane is proud to have extended her personal purpose to support a number of not-for-profit and for-purpose initiatives including The Luminosity Summit and Project Gen Z, and she currently extends her expertise in positive youth development as an Impact Leader on the Board for Ambisie.


If you or anyone you know requires specific mental health support, please contact your local GP or registered mental health provider for advice and assistance.

The following services also provide resources and support:

  • Mental Health Access Line 1800 011 511 
  • Beyondblue 
  • LifeLine 11 13 14 
  • Headspace 
  • Reach Out

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