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328. Stop Setting SMART Goals; Try This Instead

Stop Setting SMART Goals; Try This Instead

Beyond SMART Goals: Amy's Proven Methodology for Business Success

Acknowledge: Define Your True Desires

The journey begins with introspection. According to Amy, the first step is to acknowledge what you truly want in your business and life. This isn’t about limiting yourself to what’s realistic or achievable in the short term. Instead, Amy encourages everyone to dream big and envision a future that encompasses your deepest desires—personally, professionally, financially, and spiritually.

Take the time to ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Ensure you capture every facet of your aspiration, no matter how audacious it might seem. This clarity forms the foundation upon which all your efforts will be built.

Discover Your ‘Why’: The Seven Levels Deep Exercise

Understanding your reasons for wanting these dreams is the next critical step. Amy recommends the “Seven Levels Deep” exercise, originally formulated by Dr. Jordan Peterson, to understand your core motivations. This exercise involves repeatedly asking “why” to each of your answers. For instance:

- You want to achieve a $10k month. Why?

- To live a certain lifestyle. Why?

- To give my children a better upbringing than I had. Why?

By digging through multiple layers of “why,” you arrive at the fundamental motive that will anchor you during challenges, creating a steadfast resilience against the inevitable ups and downs of business.

Time Audit: Become Aware and Accept

Before diving into action, Amy emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of how you currently spend your time. Conduct a time audit similar to how one might maintain a food log when trying to lose weight. This exercise brings unconscious behaviors to the forefront of your awareness, highlighting areas where you might be spending time on non-essential tasks, such as creating unnecessary graphics, instead of engaging in high-impact activities like networking or sales.

When analyzing this data, do so non-judgmentally. The goal isn’t to berate yourself but to gain clarity on current habits and make informed adjustments. This clarity enables you to align your daily actions with your larger goals effectively.

Action and Accountability: The Missing Piece

The critical element that differentiates Amy’s method from traditional SMART goals is the concept of action. Goals without action are merely dreams. She stresses the importance of committing to your goals, showing up, and executing your plans, especially on challenging days. Think of your business as a job where consistent effort is mandatory, akin to showing up to a nine-to-five job even when you don’t feel like it.

To instill this action-oriented mindset, Amy suggests a simple yet transformative exercise: phrasing your goals clearly and then identifying the precise actions required to achieve them. For instance:

- “If my goal is to achieve $X in sales, then I need to accomplish Y number of sales calls per week.”

Additionally, finding an accountability partner can significantly enhance your commitment and discipline. Whether it’s a business buddy, spouse, or friend, having someone to check in with and share honest feedback can be a game-changer.

Assess and Adjust: Adapting with Non-Judgmental Self-Reflection

The final step in Amy’s methodology is to continually assess and adjust your actions and strategies. Regularly review your progress, celebrate your successes, and analyze any shortcomings. Ask yourself:

- Did I achieve my goal? Why or why not?

- What strategies worked well, and how can I replicate them?

- What didn’t work, and what can I do differently next time?

Remember, this process should be approached with curiosity rather than self-criticism. Treat each assessment as a data collection exercise that provides valuable insights for your next steps.


Redefining success goes beyond setting SMART goals. By incorporating acknowledgment of your true desires, discovering your core ‘why,’ auditing your time, taking consistent action, and maintaining an adaptive mindset, you can navigate the entrepreneurial roller coaster with greater clarity and resilience. Amy’s proven methodology on "The Motivated CEO Podcast" acts as a beacon, guiding you toward not only achieving your goals but surpassing them.

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Transcript for Episode 328. Stop Setting SMART Goals; Try This Instead

Amy [00:00:02]:

As the CEO of your business, I'm sure you've heard of smart goals. This has been ingrained in us from our nine to fives, from our prior careers. Whatever we're working, we all know how to set those smart goals. But there's something missing. There is something so important missing when you're setting a smart goal. And in today's episode, I want to break down for you my process. I've stopped setting smart goals and developed my own methodology. That's worked.

Amy [00:00:36]:

It's proven. I've proven it. And my clients have also had massive success. So I am sharing this with you today. The best part, it's simple. It is so simple. So let's go ahead and dive on in. So, smart goals, we've all heard of them.

Amy [00:00:57]:

I've set them. My clients have set them. But smart goals are really missing the boat on something crucial, crucial to business success. And what is that? That missing piece is action. And that is step three of the process. But before we get to the action, let's back it up a little bit. Step one is acknowledging. Acknowledging exactly what it is that you want.

Amy [00:01:33]:

When is the last time that you asked yourself, what do I really want? What do I really want this business to look like? What do I really want out of all of the work that I am doing, what does that look like? Personally, professionally, financially, spiritually, what do I want? And I don't care how big and audacious that your dream is, it needs to be huge. It doesn't have to be realistic. It doesn't have to be attainable tomorrow. No. What is that big vision for your life once you have clarity as to what it is that you want, I want you to ask yourself, why? Why do you want this? And this is something I dive into deep inside the CEO method book. And you can grab a completely free copy if you visit freebook. Yes, you can get the whole kitten caboodle, the Amazon bestseller for free paperback if you pay for shipping, or totally free ebook, no strings attached. And I really unpack this, but this exercise was a game changer for me.

Amy [00:02:57]:

Doctor Jordan Peterson was the one that originally created this. And it's the seven levels deep exercise. All right, we'll say you want a, you know, ten k months. Okay, why? Why do you actually want that? And then, you know, you're gonna have something come to mind pretty easily. Like, well, because I want to live a certain lifestyle. But why do you want that? Well, because I want my kids to have a better upbringing than I did. But why? And continue asking yourself why? Until you really get to that core reason, that core reason as to why do you want what you say you want? Because this will get you through on those days that you're tempted to quit, that you're tempted to burn your business to the ground because they happen. And that is the reality that not a lot of people talk about.

Amy [00:03:56]:

It's a roller coaster and it's not easy. And it's. So what is easy is to make excuses and start blaming other people, blaming other people for our lack of progress, blaming external circumstances, blaming everything but ourselves and taking that radical accountability. So once we have acknowledged, which is step one, then we're going to accept where we are and develop an awareness how we're spending our time. You have to be willing to get real with yourself. Be like, you know what, I'm not spending my time in ways that support what I say I want. I need to know exactly where I am now and how I am spending my time. So the way I encourage clients to go about this is through a time audit.

Amy [00:04:59]:

Super simple. It's similar to keeping a food log. So say you want to lose some weight and you start tracking what you're eating throughout the day. A lot of times it's a matter of bringing the unconscious into that conscious awareness so that now we realize, okay, this is how I'm spending my time. I'm spending so much time during my day consuming. Instead of creating, I'm spending my time on creating little graphics in canva when I could be out there networking, connecting, engaging with my audience. How are we spending our time? And once you start to have the awareness, I want you to look at it and analyze, okay, are these actions actually getting me closer to my goals? But the key is doing this in a way that's nonjudgmental because it's really easy to beat ourselves up and to say, oh my gosh, I'm spending my time, like doing all of these things that don't matter and that can really be triggering for so many people. So come to yourself with compassion and be like, okay, well, now I'm aware this is just data.

Amy [00:06:16]:

This is data that I can use to propel myself forward because this is step one to making a change is the awareness of our current behaviors. And now on to step three. And this is the missing piece. With all of the smart goals that you have been setting for years and not achieving, it's action and accountability. It is committing to that goal and taking action, keeping the promise you made to yourself. Keeping yourself on track, having the discipline to show up when it's hard, to do the thing when it's hard. You know, if you go to a nine to five job and you just decide, you know what, I don't want to work today, eventually you're going to let get let go. There's a certain commitment you have to that company as an employee.

Amy [00:07:13]:

Well, the same is true as the CEO of your business. You have to be willing to put in the work on the days that you don't feel like it. And that is a hard reality to face. And this is me giving you some tough love today. There were plenty of days when I worked in my outpatient therapy career that I sat in my car and I had to drag myself in there because I had a responsibility to myself, to my patients, to my family, that I had to do this in order to make money. So why are we treating our businesses differently? We don't have to. It's all a choice. It's all a choice.

Amy [00:07:57]:

So an easy way to really start to know what actions you need to take is through a simple exercise. And this is something I started doing the beginning of this year and has really made a difference. And it's so simple. So, you know your goal. If my goal is to do blank, then I need to blank. So what this does is if you have that clarity as to this is what I want, then we reverse engineer it. Okay. This is what I need to do.

Amy [00:08:35]:

If my goal is to make x amount of money, then I need to make this many sales. In order to make this many sales, I need to make sure I'm spending my time doing X, Y and Z. That's it. That's it. It is that simple. But what happens is our brains are wired for comfort, so we focus so much on the limitations. I'm busy. I have kids.

Amy [00:09:04]:

I have this, that and the other. Life is lifeing, right? We all make those excuses. I've made those excuses, too. But when we start focusing on how can I, how can I make this work, how can I strategically and intentionally focus my time and energy into the things that will get me closer to my goal? And if you're having trouble keeping those promises to yourself, keeping those commitments, find an accountability partner. It might be a business bestie, it might be your spouse, it might be a friend. But have someone that will keep you accountable, that will call you out, that you have to check in with, that is willing to give you the tough love that you need to hear accountability and that radical acceptance of, you know, what? These are either my results or lack thereof. That's a game changer. That is so, so huge.

Amy [00:10:14]:

But it comes down to discipline. It's developing those new habits, those new behaviors, so that you can create consistent change. Because the motivation will fade. It's a fact. And this is where the discipline kicks in. And we dove into this in episode 313 of the podcast. Make sure you go back and listen to that episode, because discipline is what will get you through when that motivation fades. Discipline.

Amy [00:10:49]:

And knowing that why, knowing that inner why, reflecting back on that, have it posted on your wall loud and clear as a reminder that this is why you're doing what you're doing. Because it's so easy. It's so easy to play that blame game. But no, you have such a big impact to make on this world. You have a purpose for being here. Stop selling yourself short, because the life that you want, you can achieve. You can attain any goal, no matter how big, how small, when you set your mind to it and start asking yourself, how can I achieve this? You're going to start to figure it out, because now you're shifting into new neural pathways. Your brain is looking for opportunities instead of focusing on all of those obstacles.

Amy [00:11:48]:

So once we're through step three, step four, assess and adjust. This is, again, something that you need to approach in a non judgmental way, because it's hard. We love to judge ourselves. We love, love, love to be comparing ourselves to others and saying, you know what? It's not happening. It's not happening as soon as I want it to. Well, guess what? That's information. That's data. And we talk about this all of the time here on the podcast.

Amy [00:12:21]:

Data drives your decisions. Look for those patterns. Don't look at just one snippet in time. When you start to reflect back, you can see where the natural patterns are in your business, that you're ebbing and flowing. You're so laser focused and intentional with your time that now you're not having to work towards 24/7 you're seeing what's working, and you can double down on it. So what I encourage you to do is, when you're tracking the data, get curious. Ask yourself if you met your goal. Okay, why? What really worked? Well, how did I achieve these results? And how can I double down and do more of that? Or if you didn't achieve a goal, guess what? That's okay, too.

Amy [00:13:10]:

That's just information. Get curious and ask yourself, how. How can we make this work? What could we do differently? Where is our focus? Going back to that time audit and really assessing. Am I spending my time in the right places? Because again, we love to revert back to those old, comfortable habits. Our brain loves comfort. But once we realize how we're spending our time as a choice, then we can intentionally change that. So in order to recap this whole new way of setting goals, step one, acknowledge. Step two, become aware and accept where you are.

Amy [00:14:01]:

Step three, action and accountability. Take action and keep yourself disciplined. And step four, assess and adjust. It takes practice. Anytime you start to do something new, you will have to be a beginner again. And that's not easy. Nobody likes to not have success. We don't want to risk things.

Amy [00:14:28]:

We want to be safe. But in order to get different results, results that you haven't had before, you have to do different. You have to be different. You have to be willing to treat your business like a business. I am here cheering for you. And until next time, cheers to making the money you want so you can create the impact you desire.


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