Every time I’m in a meeting or a session and someone tells me to set SMART goals, my stomach sinks and my mind goes into automatic lockdown. I hate SMART goals. I’ve never really had a bad experience with them, but I cannot say that I have had an amazing experience with them either.

So, when I got a call from a friend to speak to a group of teenagers on goal-setting, my blood ran cold. How will I ever make a teenager see SMART goals as something good for them if I can’t stand the system myself. So, I got to thinking.

What I came up with is likely not new, but I must say it has made my goal setting more relevant. Ultimately it not only accomplishes what a SMART goal does, but also takes it a step further.

Goal Setting Using the 5Ws and How

That’s right! I am using questions as a way of clarifying my goals. The template looks like this:

As you fill the template, you will realise that the process is not linear and that you may need to move back and forth between sections as the goal and what you need to do becomes clearer to you.

The result from this template should be a well thought out goal that can be articulated, supported and accomplished. It has all the features of a SMART goal and then some. I have set out a personal example of how this template would be used. This took me 20 minutes to prepare. Depending on the complexity of your goal, the time could differ.

Give it a shot and let me know how this works for you.