Don’t Use SMART Goals Anymore

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On December 9th, 2017 I will lift 137kg (301lbs) in the snatch, and 167 kg (368lbs) in the clean and jerk to break the national master’s records in the 85kg class of weightlifting.

There I said it. That’s one of my goals for the next several months.

With summer having passed and looking ahead to the birth of Ashley and I’s second child (coming in February), I am working on some goals I want to accomplish before that special date.

I have set goals in all areas of my life that are important to me, I have family goals, business goals, personal development goals, and physical goals. I wanted to let you know how I ended up at this specific physical goal and how I went about figuring it out.

We have all heard about SMART goals at some point:






SMART goals are a great place to start, but they often lead to small goals that we achieve only based on the need to check something off our list.

In one of my favorite books of the last year, Smarter Faster Better, author Charles Duhigg describes SMART goals in a large corporation often getting bogged down by the smallest things such as an office assistant having a SMART plan for how to order new staples.

Your goals shouldn’t be part of a to-do list, you deserve bigger more audacious goals.

Duhigg gives an alternative when he talks about Stretch goals.

In Japan during the 1950’s, the recovery effort from World War 2 largely focused on improving their economy. Much of the population capable of rebuilding the economy, lived between Osaka and Tokyo, separated by 320 miles of old, outdated railway track. This trip between the two cities could take 20 hours because of geography and slow trains.

The head of the railway system told the engineers to create a faster train, one that could go 120 mph (double what the fastest trains in the world could travel). The engineers said it was impossible; the head of the train system said to just go do it.

By 1964 the first “bullet train” arrived to Osaka from Tokyo in 3 hours and 54 minutes at an average speed of 120 mph

This is a Stretch goal.

The initial goal was so audacious that it actually caused the engineers to do everything differently. They didn’t have to just make a faster train, they had to re-do the railroad tracks, build tunnels through mountains, among other things.

Duhigg cautions to not set stretch goals that are TOO audacious because the enormity of those goals could be mentally paralyzing, or self defeating. Don’t say you’re going to try to run a 200 meter dash in 10 seconds (1/2 of the world record time), but saying your going to run 100 meters in 10 seconds is something that others, albeit really great athletes, have accomplished.

In this way, I didn’t set my physical goal up to break the OPEN American records- that’d be impossible in the time I have, and at my age, but the Master’s American records are possible, but mean I have to do EVERYTHING right.

Along the way to my stretch goal I need to:

1) Create my training program

2) Get my bodyweight to the competition weight

3) Hit specific numbers during the training blocks

4) Make weight at the competition

And so on and so forth. Each of these goals must then be SMART (there is a place for that type of goal), but only if they are on the road to an even bigger goal.

So, my challenge to you is set a STRETCH goal for yourself between now and the end of the year. Break it down into the SMART pieces, and get to work.

In Health,


P.S. Hold me accountable to my Stretch goal, if you see me in here working out, ask me how I’m doing. Regular progress checks are essential to achieving goals.

P.P.S Let me know if you need help building that stretch goal, and if you do have one let me know what it is so I can hold you accountable.

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