How To Design SMART Goals That Are Also VIVID


Vividly outlining your goals in written format is soundly associated with goal success, and those who very vividly describe or envision their goals are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals (Leadership IQ 2021 Research).


To achieve goal success we need to set clear measurable goals (SMART) and then make them VIVID (producing powerful feelings or strong, clear images in the mind).


Step 1: Design a *SMART Goal

*Notice a slight update to the meaning of “M” and “A” in this definition.


Specific - What is the specific achievement I want to make/action I want to complete?


Meaningful - How will achieving this goal align with my values, career/leadership vision, and/or purpose? Why is this important right now?


Accountability - Who will hold me accountable with regular check-ins? What happens if I go off track?


Resources - What inputs (time, money, mentorship) will I need to achieve this goal?


Timeline - What will I measure? How will I measure this? What are my specific milestones* for 3 and 6 months?

*A milestone is a specific action to complete by a certain date. Often our SMART Goals are big and lofty so these milestones will help us break down the larger goal and measure your progress along the way.


Step 2 - Make Your SMART Goal VIVID

This is the fun part - try these strategies to help bring your SMART goal to life:


Visualize - take some time to visualize yourself on the day you finally achieve this goal - see your face, notice where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing. How do you feel? Write down the essence of what you saw.


Inspire - write a list of all the people that you think would be inspired by your goal and share it with them. Ask them to check in with you on it from time to time.


Vision Board - create a visual representation of your SMART goal - add pictures of the values you would be honouring and find ways to represent the milestones visually. Display this vision board in a place you will see it every day (on a mirror or by the coffee maker).


Interrupt Excuses - you will find many opportunities to divert your attention away from your SMART goal. Brainstorm all the excuses you might tell yourself for not seeing it through and develop strategies for how to interrupt your excuses. My favourite way to do this is to draft a counter-proposal to each excuse and have it ready to review when I notice a SLAP (self-limiting action or perspective)


Drive - identify the key drivers of your success - what has to happen for you to achieve this goal? Capture this to remind yourself of what motivates you.


Achieve your goals by engaging both sides of the brain, the left analytical side and the right creative, in the goal-setting process.


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