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The Pros and Cons of the SMART Method – VISIYA

Updated: May 5, 2023

Generating relevant goals with all the components of the SMART method can take longer than the standard goal-setting process, but the benefits of SMART goals outweigh the difficulties associated with the process. Goals are not something you can simply talk about and then forget about. They are a key element of the life project planning process.

Illustration of a person achieving her goals.
The Pros and Cons of the SMART Method

Undeniable Benefits of the SMART Method:

  1. Practicality. It is easy to draw an action plan thanks to the precise wording.

  2. Versatility. The method is suitable for business planning, personal tasks, self-improvement.

  3. Accessibility. The SMART method does not require special knowledge, so it is suitable for everyone.

  4. Prompt results. The goal, defined by this methodology, is achieved faster due to the ease of planning and searching for resources in advance.

  5. Motivation. Since only actual goals are set according to this method, a person has no doubts about the need to achieve them.

  6. Avoiding procrastination. The SMART method offers a natural transition from planning to action. Having set a deadline for your goal, you make yourself want to get started ASAP.

  7. Prevention of sloppy work. Specific objectives leave no room for workplace imitation.

  8. Monitoring achievement. Quantification and decomposition allow you to keep your finger on the pulse.

  9. Rejecting unsuccessful options. Evaluating attainability and relevance helps to exclude the goals that are not even worth trying at the very beginning. This helps to avoid wasting time and effort.

  10. Increasing your chances of success. All of the above factors increase the chances of achieving the goal.

The SMART method is often idealized and portrayed as a universal and fail-safe tool for success. In fact, it’s not. This method is not always useful. Like any other methodology, SMART goal-setting has its drawbacks.

Disadvantages of the SMART Method:

  1. Loss of flexibility. You lose flexibility in decision-making, because the algorithm is predetermined.

  2. The tunnel effect. Focusing on the task at hand, people forget to look around for new favorable opportunities.

  3. Inefficiency in the long run. The environmental changes happen too quickly, so they are not taken into account when setting the objective, which has a negative impact on the result.

  4. Ignoring better solutions. Having focused on an already approved action plan, you stop thinking about how to achieve your goal easier and more effectively.

  5. Predictability. Predictability is considered to be one of the advantages of the SMART method, since we know for sure what we are going to do and what to expect. In the competitive business environment, however, this advantage turns into a dangerous disadvantage; competitors can easily predict our future actions and develop an effective counter-strategy.

  6. Ignoring the human factor. The SMART method refers to the so-called classical time management. It ignores psychology and assumes that a person always acts rationally. In reality, the inner world is just as subject to randomness as the outer world. We have regular mood swings, periods of fatigue, and other troubles. As a result, measurable and specific SMART goals can be easily defeated by procrastination or some kind of autumn blues.

  7. The tendency to simplify. Those who regularly use the SMART method, tend to simplify their goals.

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