June 26, 2021

Why SMART Goals are Outdated (and Why You Should Leave Them in the Past)

Sam Caucci

Goal setting is the first step to success in any endeavor. You’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals as one of the best methods to use when setting your goals, but developing goals under this framework is limiting and might be something we should leave in the past. 

SMART goals were developed in 1981 by George Doran, Arhur Miller, and James Cunningham. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. They were invented because the method was thought to make goals easier to understand and know when they have been completed. 

Why SMART No Longer Works

While SMART goals can be a great method in certain situations, they aren’t so great at goals that have anything to do with personal growth and they rarely contribute to game-changing results. 

Secondly, the focus of SMART goals rests entirely on the goal-setting process without much thought into any framework to pursue those goals. The process of setting goals is a good thing, but not knowing how you will reach them renders the process almost completely useless. Thus, SMART goals only focus on the end result, not the journey. 

Replace SMART goals with a PACT

Instead of using SMART goals, try introducing a new framework that encourages ambitious, long-term endeavors. Where the SMART goal focuses on the outcomes, the PACT method focuses on the output. PACT goals are about continuous growth rather than an achievement, which makes it a much more powerful alternative to SMART goals. 

PACT is an acronym for Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous and Trackable. These four factors combined make for great goal setting:


Your goals should be related to your long-term purpose in life, not just relevant to you in the moment. It’s much harder to stick to a goal when you don’t really care about it. But, when your goals are aligned with your passions and missions in life, you will feel a lot more motivated. 


Good goals should be based on factors within your control. Your goals need to be actionable and controllable. This helps you shift your mindset from the distant future outcomes to present outputs that are within your reach today. Take actions today instead of planning for tomorrow. 


An important aspect of goal setting is making sure that the actions that you should take towards it are simple and repeatable. Many goals are not reached simply because of something called choice paralysis. Choice paralysis refers to having so many options you end up spending all of your time doing research instead of doing things that will help you progress towards completing your goal. Continuous goals have an air of flexibility to them which allows you to change your approach once you start and as you learn more. Goals should be about continuous improvement rather than reaching an achievement or end goal.


Trackable not measurable. Statistics are overrated and do not apply to many different types of goals. A “yes” or “no” system for goal tracking works well. Did you complete the task or not? Have you called three hot leads? Have you published your daily blog post? Yes or no? This makes progress towards your goals much easier to track. 

Let’s say your big goal is to grow your email subscriber list. Here are two versions of that same goal using each framework:

SMART version: “Get 5,000 email subscribers in 20 weeks.”

PACT version: “Send 25 amazing emails over the next 20 weeks.”

The first version measures your success against metrics which are largely out of your control, while the second version emphasizes purposeful, actionable, continuous and ambitious goals. 

Ready to Reach Your Goals?

At 1Huddle, we believe in goal setting that aligns with your life objectives and offers you continuous learning and development. Our employee training and development software allows you to model PACT goal setting through a customized learning journey designed to create a space where employees can be productive and reach their goals.

1Huddle offers cloud-based employee training programs where you can easily upload and customize your training content for a seamless training experience. All of your employees will have the ability to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the push of a button. This helps make training engaging and kept up-to-date. You can use our game platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your training next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Request a demo today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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