SMART vs. PACT Goals

Happy New Year!

Did you make your resolutions yet? There are many techniques to goal setting. Two common approaches are SMART goals and PACT goals.

The SMART acronym has been ubiquitous since the 1980’s. It stands for:

  • Specific: Defining the goal clearly and unambiguously.
  • Measurable: Having a quantifiable metric of success that will tell you when you have achieved the goal. 
  • Attainable: Conducting a reality check and making sure that your goals are realistic and achievable.
  • Relevant: Aligning your goals with your values, priorities and current strategy.
  • Time-based: Setting a deadline by when this goal should be achieved.

The PACT acronym stands for Purposeful, Actionable, Continuous and Trackable.

  • Purposeful: Aligning your goals with your passion and purpose for the long-term.
  • Actionable: Consisting of outputs or actions you can take and have the control to achieve.
  • Continuous: Repeating consistent and simple actions that will help you achieve your goal.
  • Trackable: Tracking whether or not you’ve completed the actions needed in order to achieve your goal.

SMART goals are more widely known and can be useful for short-term and long-term goals that measure outcomes. One caution is that it may lead you to set overly optimistic goals which you may not be able to achieve at all or on the timetable assigned. This can be discouraging especially when the reasons are beyond your control.

Setting PACT goals is a more useful technique for setting long-term goals that measure your outputs. This helps you set realistic goals and keep you motivated to achieve them.

Take the following example. Let’s say we want to increase our newsletter viewership.

The SMART version of the goal may be to get 5,000 subscribers in 12 months. The PACT version of the goal would be to publish 12 newsletters in 12 months.

Or let’s say that you want to learn a new database or a new language. It’s hard to use SMART goals because you don’t know exactly how long it will take. What happens if you start and feel like it’s not achievable?  What if it isn’t relevant to your priorities or business goals now but rather you are thinking about your passion or future jobs where this skill might come in handy. In this example, you will want to make a PACT with yourself instead.

SMART goals still have their place, for example, if you want to increase revenue by 20% over the 12 months or start a side business this year.

Whether you choose SMART or PACT goals, the next step after goal setting is asking if you have the right systems and support in place to achieve your goals. As always, we are here cheering you on and poised to help in any way that we can.

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