Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals Is Not Enough — You Have to Work Them

Outstanding performance is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to do three things.  1) Stay technically competent and up to date in your field by becoming a lifelong learner.  2) Set and achieve high goals.  3) Get organized.  Manage your time, life and stress well.

If you read this blog, you know that I am a big proponent of the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time Bound) method of goal setting.  Try it.  It works.

If you want, send me your 2009 goals and I will help you smarten them up.

However, it’s not enough to set good goals, you have to work them.  The best way to work your goals is to break them down into projects and tasks.  In other words, first determine the major things you need to accomplish in order to reach your goal.  I call these milestones, many people call them projects.

Once you have identified your projects or milestones you need to create a list of tasks that will result in you reaching your milestone or completing your project.  Set up a tickler system to help keep you on track.

You can do all of this on line. GTD Agenda (Getting Things Done) is a great website devoted to helping you accomplish your goals.  They have a free plan that lets you track three goals, five projects and unlimited tasks.  If you like it, you can buy the basic plan for $4.45 a month which lets you track up to 30 goals and 50 tasks – more than any sane person should ever need.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an affiliate for GTD Agenda.  I am, however, using it to track my three major goals for 2009.  I think it is a great service.  I urge you to give it a try.  Even if you don’t sign up, the site provides a great tutorial on what you need to do to track and meet your 2009 goals.

Joe’s Goals,, is another goal management site.  Although if you take a look at it, you will see that Joe’s Goals is really set up to help you manage tasks.  Some people I know really like it.  Check it out.   Maybe you will too.

The common sense point here is simple.  Outstanding performance is a key to professional and personal success.  Setting and achieving high goals is a key to outstanding performance.  Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is a good start.  However, once you set your goals, you have to work them.  Break your goals into projects and your projects into tasks.  Keep track of your progress. provides an easy to use way to track your goals to ensure you are on track to achieve them.

That’s my take on goal setting and goal achievement.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your stories about achieving your goals.  Also, if you have an alternative to please share it with us.  Thanks for reading.


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