Ditch Your SMART Goals — Use This Goal-Setting Method Instead

Do you find SMART goals overwhelming? Do you dread the process of goal-setting? You’re not alone.

We all know goal-setting is not as easy as writing or visualizing what you want and attracting it in your life. Yet, most of us don’t take goal-setting seriously.

Today, let me make it easy and simple for you to set goals and create a roadmap to success on your own. This roadmap process works for any goal — including health, fitness, finance, business, dating, relationship and learning goals.

Here’s the problem: success can easily become a dirty comparison game. When you aim for success without a roadmap, you never make enough progress and it becomes a chronic source of overwhelming stress.

Success can be fun when you define it and achieve it on your own terms.

That’s why creating a success roadmap will not only help you get clear, but it will also show you how far you have come. That way, you’ll be inspired to progress and still be grateful for your growth.

Here is a step-by-step method to create your success roadmap for any goal you wish. It’s best to create a separate roadmap for each goal, habit or area of life. In the end, I’ll give you an example to further help you create your own roadmap.

Step 1: Define The Big Picture

This is the mission and vision of your goal. Go into details about the ultimate outcome you’d like to achieve and make sure to include a compelling reason for going on this journey.

The details should be tangible and the reason should ignite a fire in you as you read it.

Our goals often stem from things we don’t want. So another thing you can do is define the undesired outcome you’ll get if you don’t follow through.

Step 2: Define The End Of The Roadmap

Nothing moves people like a deadline. So in order to make consistent progress, give your roadmap an end. It could be in years, months, weeks or even days. Once the roadmap ends, you can always create another one to keep making progress.

Tip: If you’re new to goal setting in a particular area, keep the deadline short because you’re still experimenting.

At the end of the roadmap, define 3 specific desired outcomes:

  • Challenging outcome: The desired result
  • Ambitious outcome: Stretch your mind and make the result way bigger
  • Tiny outcome: The smallest criteria for success
Once you define the outcomes, detach from all of them. The purpose of defining the outcomes is to have a direction. So prepare yourself for failure and don’t get paralyzed upon failure because you can enjoy your growth and take away valuable lessons even if you fail.

Step 3: Define The Milestones, Achievements And The Rewards

There are 2 types of milestones or achievements, and you want to define both types:

  • Outcome-based (under your influence, but not in your control)
  • Behavior-based (in your control)
Behavior is mostly in your control while too many factors that are not under your control can influence the outcome, so we’ll keep them separate.

The number of milestones or achievements you want to define is up to you. As a guideline, try not to keep them too frequent or too infrequent.

To celebrate your progress, set rewards based on what you truly enjoy doing and what is congruent with your goals. Spread these rewards as you wish upon reaching the milestones or achievements.

Step 4: Define The Process

Define the actions you need to take in order to reach the desired outcome. If you’re unsure of the process, you can research or ask people who have reached the goals you want to reach.

Also, define the person you need to become in order to get what you want. Then, identify yourself with the kind of person who has already reached the desired outcome and let go of the limiting beliefs holding you back.

Step 5: Define The Obstacles

Brainstorm every obstacle you can think of and list them down. The intention is to mentally (or physically) prepare for them.

Even when you define everything you can think of, you’ll most likely encounter surprising obstacles. That’s okay! It’s all part of the process and you’ll get feedback which you can reflect upon in step 7.

Tip: All obstacles are an opportunity for growth, so don’t get discouraged when you see them. Accept them. Love them. Use them.

Step 6: Track Your Actions

Define how you’ll track the daily or regular actions you defined in step 4. To track, you can use the good old pen-and-paper or any fancy app you like.

To make it easier, you can:

  • Set reminders
  • Put it on your calendar
  • Put it in your daily success checklist
  • Commit to others or join a community (for accountability)
  • Make the steps tiny (if they require a lot of willpower)
  • Set stakes for not taking the steps forward (if you struggle with commitment)

Step 7: Do A Regular Review

The review can take place daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. The purpose of this review is to identify what’s working, what’s not working and what you can do better. Edit the milestones, next actions or the desired outcomes as required.

This is the time when you’ll come back to the roadmap, give yourself rewards for the milestones reached and see the big picture so you don’t get lost in the drama of life.

Like tracking, you can use a note-taking app or good old pen-and-paper for the review. But make sure you save and record them in one place so you can always look back.


That’s all. Rinse and repeat for each focus area in your life. Here’s an example to get a better idea of how you can create your own success roadmap:

Example: Weight Loss Success Roadmap

Amy is tired of trying diet plans and running miles on a treadmill. She really wants to lose weight, but she can’t get those pounds to drop even after trying so hard!

Here’s how she’d go about designing her success road map:

Step 1: Define the big picture

She writes…

“I want to look slim and feel good in my body. I want to get back the body I had. When I look myself in the mirror, I want to see a smile on my face and feel confident in my mind. If I don’t follow through, I’ll stay unhealthy and look fat, which will result in faster aging and low confidence. I absolutely don’t want that, and that’s why I will make it happen.”

Step 2: Define the end of the roadmap

She makes a roadmap of 3 months, which is a good timeline to make progress, measure results and pivot as needed. She wants to lose weight healthily and permanently, not vigorously and temporarily, so she defines her desired outcomes:

  • Challenging outcome: Lose 15 pounds by the end of 3 months while enjoying the process
  • Ambitious outcome: Lose 30 pounds by the end of 3 months while enjoying the process
  • Tiny outcome: Lose 5 pounds by the end of 3 months while enjoying the process
She realizes that the outcomes are just directions. Even if she fails, she’d still become much healthier and fit.

Step 3: Define the milestones, achievements and the rewards

She defines her milestones (with rewards in brackets):

Outcome-based milestones:

  • Lost 1 pound (get a book that will help me lose weight and get healthier)
  • Lost 3 pounds (get new running shoes)
  • Lost 5 pounds (watch a movie)
  • Lost 10 pounds (go on a trip)
  • Lost 15 pounds (get new workout clothes)
  • Lost 20 pounds (get a massage)
  • Lost 25 pounds (get a new dress)
  • Lost 30 pounds (click a picture and share it!)

Behavior-based achievements:

  • Started lifting weights
  • Worked out 5 times a week
  • Ate out no more than once a week
  • Overcame craving
  • Started tracking my meals
  • Created a 500 calorie deficit

Step 4: Define the process

She defines the actions she needs to take:

  • Run in nature (not on a treadmill, because she doesn’t enjoy it)
  • Lift weights
  • Stay active
  • Eat healthily
  • Eat an appropriate amount
  • Track and keep a record of my meals and workout
  • Learn to cook my meals that are healthy and tasty, so I can avoid cravings
  • Prepare healthy meals or snacks in advance
  • Say “no” to regularly eating out
  • Read or learn more, so I can be smarter about losing weight
  • Surround myself with people on a similar journey

She also defines the type of person she needs to become…

“I am a healthy person who eats healthily because I want to. I enjoy working out and taking care of myself and my family.” The transformation may take some time, but it eventually happens when you fall in love with the process.”

She adds the limiting beliefs holding her back…

“I need to stop believing that I can’t lose weight or that I’m lazy or that I’m a person who eats like a fat person. I can and I will lose weight.”

Step 5: Define the obstacles

She lists all the obstacles she can think of (with preparation plan in brackets):

  • Losing motivation or willpower (take tiny actions and build smaller habits)
  • Feeling lazy or tired (take rest, sleep, eat healthier)
  • Getting cravings (remove the cue — don’t bring them to home, make meals tastier, substitute with healthier alternatives, set specific rules, develop mental toughness)
  • Getting hungry (drink more water, eat more protein and fibrous foods, eat in a smaller eating window, use smaller utensils)
  • Friends inviting over to eat out or office workers offering snacks (tell them in advance, learn to say no, find healthier options while eating out, eat smaller portions)
  • Unexpected life events (do the best, forget the rest)
  • Getting too busy (prioritize, delegate, delete tasks, stop doing a daily activity, do smaller intense workouts, hire a chef or subscribe to a service)
  • Failing to lose weight even after doing the right actions (hire a nutritionist or a personal trainer, learn or read more, track more accurately, change diet or workout approach)

Step 6: Track your actions

She downloads and starts using a calorie tracking app and a workout app to track her food and exercise.

She blocks time on her calendar to prioritize preparing meals and working out.

She joins an online community of people losing weight and reports her wins.

In addition, she also set stakes or make habit smaller when she struggles to take action.

Step 7: Do a regular review

She reviews her food intake every day and does a weekly review where she sees the big picture.

She finds out if she’s on the right track by measuring results and actions. She also makes a few changes in her habits (like switching her workout from evening to morning, so she can make sure to get it done). She also acknowledges that she can do a better at not bringing in unhealthy foods to home, so she can avoid them. For that, she plans to go for grocery shopping when she is full.

She also edits her milestones, achievements, next actions or rewards as needed.

At the end of 3 months, she’s a different person. She has learned a lot, and she’s ready to create another roadmap of success. Then one day, she smiles as she fits perfectly in her favorite dress.

Now It’s Your Turn To Create Your Road Map To Success…

Click here to download your success roadmap PDF template now for FREE

Originally published at DesignEpicLife.com

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