Can you create SMART goals for what matters most?

For the last week or so, I’ve been working on reviewing, streamlining, and unifying my goals across different areas of my life. I’m building a comprehensive goal plan for the next ten years, and I’m calling this effort Project Goalpost (cheesy, I know). One of my guiding principles that I’m employing while working through all these goals is to ensure that each goal is SMART, which is a useful mnemonic that says goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

I have found this device to be a useful one when devising my goal plans, as it helps avoid nebulous and ill-defined goals like “get into better shape” or “prepare for the future”. How would you have any idea when those things have been accomplished?

Currently, I’m dividing my goals into these different life areas:

  • Personal
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Real Estate
  • Spiritual

I’m doing pretty well with most of these, but it’s the Spiritual category that’s giving me the most trouble. I’m just not sure how to write specific, measurable goals for matters of the heart, especially for several years out.

For one thing, faith is about the journey, not really the destination, and much of that journey occurs in ways that don’t lend themselves to metrics. For example, it doesn’t really make sense to say that you want to be 35% closer to God, or have your prayer life be twice as good. The destination doesn’t really exist, either, as I don’t believe that Christians can ever really say that they’ve accomplished their mission as a Christian, at least not in this life.

Second, I’m not entirely sure that our faith is something that should get a category of its own. Shouldn’t our faith undergird all that we do, rather than being put into its own bullet-point list of todo items?

And why does this bother me at all? I guess because my goals should reflect a lot about who I am, but when you look at my list, it seems so shallow and materialistic, because a lot of my goals revolve around financial gain, real estate, and other items in that vein. Those things just lend themselves to measurement. But they aren’t what matter most in life, and I know that. What matters most in life are things like relationships, contentment, and faith, but can you really create SMART goals for those things? I have a few ideas I’ll explore in a future post, but I would love to know what you think.