Choice in goal setting is about truly owning the goal as our own.

SMART goals have been with SMB sales professionals and owners for over 50 years.

Yet, how many executive leaders and salespeople consistently fail to achieve both professional and personal goals?

As SMB has evolved, now is the time for SMART goals to evolve as well.  In the past, the SMART acronym was:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistically set high
  • Target date, time driven

WAY SMART goals reflect what was possibly implied in the past, but never clearly articulated.


Lee Iaccoca is quoted as saying:

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”

Other research supports the act of committing something to writing increases the odds of achieving the task.

Did you know the earliest empirical study of goal achievement and writing goals was undertaken in 1935?


Research by Gail Matthews at Dominican University has proven strategies for effective goal achievement must be actionable.

This goes beyond writing goals down. There must be action steps, the sharing of goals and some personal accountability process for goal achievement.


Remember as a child when your parents demanded you achieve certain things like good grades, good discipline to even keeping your room clean?

Do you also remember feeling a little to a lot of resentment?

Having those feelings was quite natural. When we embrace the Theory of Self Determination as developed by Deci and Ryan, we understand this intrinsic motivation of choice.

When we have choice through autonomy, we are more likely to own the decision we are making. Choice in goal setting is about truly owning the goal as our own. 


Within the pre-existing SMART, the A stood for achievable. Today we know that when we align our actions to our purpose, our plan, and our passion, achievement is far easier.

By adding WAY before SMART goals and replacing Aligned to Achievable, we now have a goal setting and goal achievement criteria that has evolved with current research and works with intrinsic motivation.

About the author

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith has over 25 years in sales. Her true joy is selling and…

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