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How to Set Achievable Goals

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How to Set Achievable Goals

And why qualitative goals are more helpful than you might think


5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

To reach your qualitative goals, shift your perspective on goal-setting and trigger the change needed to become the person you want to be today.

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A common human regret among people approaching the end of life is that they wish they had invested more time pursuing qualitative goals, such as being kinder, more adventurous, more forgiving, more mindful or more humble, says life coach Pamela J. Hobart. Alas, people tend to realize their shortcomings too late in life to repair the damage. Fortunately, with insights from Hobart, you can avoid such regrets by setting better goals. Learn why the SMART goal framework doesn’t always work when it comes to qualitative goal-setting, and discern how to use goal-setting to shift your self-perception.


The SMART goal framework isn’t an appropriate approach if you’re striving to meet qualitative goals.

According to prevailing wisdom, the secret to achieving your goals is to make them SMART. The SMART goal framework holds that goals should be “specific” with a known desired outcome; “measurable” with quantifiable targets; “achievable,” in that they’re challenging but not impossible; “relevant” to your life’s purposes and values; and “time-based” with clear deadlines.

Indeed, aiming for SMART goals, rather than vague targets, increases your chances of success. Yet setting SMART qualitative goals often seems absurd. For example, if you aim to become more generous, donating, say, $500 to a charitable cause annually isn’t valid proof that your character has improved.

Four brain structures work with – or against – one another when you endeavor to achieve a goal. 

If you’re struggling to reach a lofty qualitative goal – such as increasing your generosity, patience or calmness, for example – neuroscience can explain why you...

About the Author

Pamela J. Hobart is a philosophical life coach who specializes in solving complicated problems.

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