SMART Goals or Just START? What does it take for a trader to set AND achieve their goals? It is a paradox. Discover the valuable guidance our PRO trading team had to share with our students on this topic.
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There are critical elements of setting a goal, however we offer some differing guidance.
Evidence procedure is number 1. How do you know with 100% certainty that the goal is reached?
That is typically the biggest problem people have. Usually people set very vague goals and continually move the target resulting in poor progress.
In order to have an evidence procedure the goal by default would be:
- Time bound
The R, relevant part of the SMART goals is why you set the goal in the first place. So it really isn’t necessary to state it. Any goal should be relevant to your life in some way or why else would you set it?
The A, achievable part of SMART goals, is what I don’t necessarily agree with.
Many people have had the experience of setting a lofty goal that they should have been able to achieve and then proceed to beat themselves up after they fall short. As a result they do the opposite and set lame uninspiring goals, or even worse, no goal at all.
A goal should not be used as weapon against yourself. A goal should inspire you and focus your efforts in the direction you want to go.
This being the case, your goal should be exciting . This means it’s likely out of your reach, and won’t be fully “achievable”. However, if we understand this in advance and reward ourselves for progress toward the goal rather than its full achievement, we can both maximize our progress and feel good about our progress at the same time. This is a win/win making it more likely we will continue to progress in that direction.
The reason someone is setting a goal is so that they will feel a certain feeling when it is achieved.
Whether that feeling be happy, secure, free, or whatever, it is not necessary to achieve a goal to feel a certain way. A great example of this fact is in the book Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It is undeniable.
“The emotions you are looking for (from achieving the goal) are the emotions you NEED to get the goal”
It is a paradox.
You have to feel the feelings you are looking to gain from achieving the goal in order to get yourself to do the things necessary to reach the goal.
For instance, if I am going to be a good trader, I have to feel secure. I have to feel abundant. I have to feel like I have enough money. That is going to take the pressure off me and allow me to make the types of quality decisions that are necessary in order to be a consistently profitable trader.
If a trader is feeling not good enough or is feeling scarcity or afraid of losing. This will create emotional arousal which leads to poor trading decisions. This kind of negative mindset will make it much, much more difficult to reach the goal of being a great trader.