Forget SMART Goals, Get BOLD Goals

Posted On: March 31, 2015

Whether in business, vocation or personal life, goal setting helps guide you to get what you don’t have, or garner what you need for success. Goal setting sends a clear message to yourself (yes, goals are contracts you make with yourself) to go after what you want in this life. 

But thinking about creating a goal is easier than actively reaching for one. To get really inspired you likely look to successful people and try to figure out how they are reaching their goals so you can replicate their approach.

When you are following an inspiring person who creates a world-changing product or writes a bestselling book or develops an innovative energy solution you might ask: How did they do that? How did they get there? What is their secret? As simple as it might sound many of the successful people in the world will tell you they set goals. Even though we wish there was a pill we could pop or a book we could read that would package up the secrets to success that we seek, the truth is: you need to set goals.

Goals are available to anyone interested in committing to them. Ah, there’s the hang-up: commitment, that pesky necessity of the successful. The hallmark of a success is commitment to goals. We’ve all heard of SMART goals. They work really hard for people who follow them. SMART goals are an acronym for goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

SMART goals are time-tested but let’s face it; they’re a bit overused and tired. Reboot your goal setting and start creating BOLD goals! If there is anything more necessary in life and work it is being bold in all you do. To be bold means to be courageous especially beyond the usual conventions of thought or action. These are the pillars of innovative thinkers, of successful people—they think beyond what society tells them is needed. These kinds of bold thinkers create ideas, products and technology that stretch beyond the basics like Tesla motors, micro financing, Apple iPhones, SpaceShipOne.

You’re already smart with how you live your life, get bold with how you create your goals. Here’s how BOLD goals work:


Do you believe in this goal and do you believe in yourself? Whether it is nabbing a spot in a company or reaching a new summit, check in with your goal and ask if you can believe in it. Avoid asking whether it is believable to other people in your life—that’s a trap. (This is the point at which we can recall that famous quote attributed to carmaker, Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”) If your goal is believable it will push you to reach for it, no matter what. Your belief in what you set out to do is more powerful than what any other person could instill in you.


When you consider reaching for your goal and the ways in which you will alter your routine to invite something new into your life—will achieving your goal be the most favorable outcome? Will it be optimal? Let’s say you want to win one of the travel rewards offered each month to your sales force. Consider the landscape of your life that will have you choosing the optimal month to go after that goal. Maybe not the month your son will graduate from high school. Opt out of racing after travel incentives while your parent’s health is failing. In other words, discover the optimal time that will reap you the most favorable result under specific conditions.


One aspect of goal making to keep in mind is one goal builds upon another. Building one BOLD goal on the achievements of a previous BOLD goal has huge potential. When prepping a new goal, act like a chess master and think a few moves ahead. Consider whether the goal you are setting out to achieve is logical. Is your current goal a logical stepping-stone to your next? Will capturing this goal benefit your efforts reaching for the next one? Approaching a goal with a logical guise sounds restrictive but it can be liberating and ignite creativity.


Get clear about how long you will give yourself to achieve your goal. If there isn’t an end in sight you’ll likely let other things get in the way of your goal. Deadlines are motivating and realistic. Being mindful of duration is directly linked to commitment. This is why people sign up for marathons. Anyone can run the distance of a marathon: 26.2 miles. You needn’t pay to run 26.2 miles. But taking that step of commitment and knowing there is an end or a summit or a beginning of something new, is highly motivating. Duration matters. So when you are creating a BOLD goal, include duration in the plan.

Now go be BOLD in your careers, in your profession, in your neighborhood, in your family. Believable goals, at an optimal time with logical forward-moving steps and a duration that includes an endpoint will be worth working towards.