Goals are frustrating! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. For decades I have heard about how vitally important goals are for success and have faithfully entered most every year with detailed, comprehensive goals. At the end of each year, I end up frustrated that I succeeded at so few of my efforts. In recent years I have found a better way to set goals. I call it “Simple Goals.”

If you are one that has worked on goals through the years, you may have heard of “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. SMART goals are designed to help overcome the problems that most people have in setting goals. I think SMART goals are smart. In my opinion, though, it is more important that goals be simple than smart.

Here are the problems that I have observed with most people’s goals:

  • Too many goals – If a person has too many goals (I came in one year at 31), then the very process becomes a license for failure. The person who sets too many goals simply goes through a process of deciding which goals to actually pursue. Usually, those are the goals that are easiest. The most important goals are left undone. At the end of the year, these goal-setters congratulates themselves on all of the progress they made, even though not much real change occurred.
  • The goals are forgotten – Many goals suffer the same fate as New Year’s resolutions. After the first month or so, the goals are forgotten or abandoned in the frenzy of everyday living. Without a regular reminder system, goals are rarely realized.
  • The goals only deal with one area of life – Often goals will deal with health or finance but ignore relationships or faith. Or the goals may focus on career and ignore marriage. Many times, the areas for goals that are overlooked are the areas of greatest need.

And so, I have created a simple process for setting goals that will improve the effectiveness for both those who are goal-setters and the non-goal-setter. The link for working on your own Simple Goals is at the bottom of this post. It will help you identify goals for all of the important areas of your life, as well as narrow down your goals to the few vital goals that will move you forward in 2020. Because it is simple, it doesn’t take as long to complete as is often the case when it comes to goals.

The bottom line is that a few very important goals accomplished every year will always beat checking off many unimportant goals each year.