Why setting daily goals is not SMART

Today on my YouTube channel:

Do you set daily goals? If so, you may be undermining your own success.

It’s good to set goals; those that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. But are goals time-bound by a day really all that smart? According to researchers, they’re not. In this video, I explain why.


If you’d like more productivity tips like this one, download my free ebook, 10 Strategies to Get More Done.

How often do you review your goals?

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2 thoughts on “Why setting daily goals is not SMART

  1. Leary,

    It would be interesting to get your take on goals vs milestones.

    I recently ran my first half marathon. I find that when I run anything over about 4 or 5 miles, the goal, I can’t think about the goal or the end of the race (distance) without being completely overwhelmed.

    Because I use something called the Galloway Method…run intervals spaced with walk intervals…I find that I can easily focus on just getting through the next three minute run interval. I don’t change my “goal” to 3 minutes of running, my goal is to finish the distance, but when I concentrate on finishing the three minutes, one chunk at a time, I can run much, much further distances without being wiped out mentally.

    Sometimes that 3 minutes milestone DOES become a goal…but it leaves little time for evaluation with the next one coming right up. 🙂


    • Hey Curtis. Thanks for your comment. Your observation is exactly what I wrote about in another post, ironically titled 20-minute goals can save your life. There’s a difference, I think, between these 20-minute goals (perhaps “bursts” would have been a better word) or milestones (as you called it) and the habit of collecting a set of tasks to complete for the day. The research I read found that those who set goals every day risk becoming discouraged when they have to roll unmet goals over from day to day. The accumulated effect of repeatedly carrying a goal from one day to the next depletes willpower faster than if they had set the goal for the week; or a larger goal for month.

      The experience you described is why I think so many aerobic machines are programmed to show the upcoming interval, rather than the entire program at once. Isn’t it a good thing that God does the same with us? We don’t see the entire path, but have only enough lamp to take the next step. Grace and peace to you.

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