Cancel Burnout By Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals

Oct 24 / Whitney Gaffari

Can I share a painful secret that took me FOREVER to realize? It involves me gulping down the Kool-Aide flavor of "You're not enough". The side effect of that liquid diet only supported the belief system that I wasn’t allowed to bring my whole self into my relationships, including the relationship with my business and with clients. This caused me sooooo much frustration because I was constantly trying to fit into a box that I didn’t create but believed I needed to co-exist within. The truth is that burnout often happens when you haven’t done the work to match your personality with your business, and you end up disillusioned by still hating your work even when you’re running your own business.

Maybe you thought that you didn’t like your work as an accountant due to working for a corporation, but now that you have your own business, you’re discovering how much you dislike the work in general, even if you’re on your own. Discovering something like this can be a real roadblock for so many.

However, most of the problems mentioned above can actually be solved in advance through good planning. Say what!? Yea love, planning. Planning starts with understanding what you want from both your life AND your business. And when I first started out I was admittedly hazy on both of those things. The chart below demonstrates the flow in which things happen when you employ planning methodologies.

Develop Goals

Define your big picture, which will lead to...

Establishing Plans

That will crystalize and inform your bite-sized...


Which will be comprised of all the steps you've mapped out to help you reach...

The Lifestyle + Business You Really Want

For me, I did not want to play double-dutch with respectability politics, and I wanted to be unapologetically inclusive in how I presented myself and the language of my business. I wanted true freedom and liberation. Before getting honest with myself, I experienced a lot of burnout and overwhelmed in a lot of my previous ventures.

To cancel burnout for good and swipe left on overwhelm, learn the right way to develop your goals so you're turning those dreams of yours into reality. The very best way to create plans is to understand the S.M.A.R.T goal technique.

Have you heard of it?

It’s pretty popular and a widely circulated methodology, and if not, no worries, boo, I gotchu! ;-)

Setting S.M.A.R.T goals works so well because it automatically creates actions that you put into your schedule, thus providing the results and momentum you desire.

Let's break down these S.M.A.R.T goals like '97 Mariah.

Specific – The goal needs to be small, simple, sensible, and significant too.

Ask yourself what you really want to accomplish with your business and lifestyle. You may have relationship goals, exercise goals, nutrition goals, travel (you know lifestyle stuff) that you want to accomplish alongside your business goals.

Know precisely why it’s essential for you to achieve this goal. When you think about doing the steps to attain this goal, consider who will help you, which resources will you use, or do you have limits there? It may also help you to identify where and when the actions will take place.

MeasurableA good goal is also meaningful and in and of itself motivating.

Now this one is huge! Listen closely; without a metric to track; it’ll be impossible for you to know whether you have succeeded in reaching your goals or not. 
It will also be impossible to know if the business decisions you are making are appropriate based on your progress.

Therefore, always attach a number to the goal, such as how much, how many, and what metric identifies that you’ve accomplished the task or goal that you’re trying to reach. 

I have so much to say on this topic, and am legit making note to circle back at a later date. But, my final thoughts on this step are that you don’t know how much you have accomplished unless you have breadcrumbs to look back at. This step creates a fail-safe which keeps you from expanding your business, spending too much money, or making investment decisions too early before it’s sustainable to do so. Please don't overlook this step!

Achievable Focus on what's attainable and meaningful to you.

When you set a goal, it does nothing for you or anyone else to set goals that are unrealistic to accomplish.

For example, creating the revenue goal of 2 million dollars within the first six months of business when you have zero brand awareness as a startup is an example of an unrealistic goal. It's also a fast track to setting yourself up for disappointment and burnout. 

Sure, we've all hoped + prayed for this level of instant success buuuuut boo, let’s get realistic in our expectations

for all of you who are reading this and saying "But Whitney, this coach, that coach, and so-n-so said I could make that in 30 days," umm buyer beware! 
Please know, that here in the Courtyard we keeps it ALL THE WAY REAL. I'm not selling you some bullsh!t predatory overnight success strategy for growing your business. You can find that nonsense just about anywhere a wannabe influencer lurks. I focus on sustainable and accessible growth strategies that aim to serve you and your community. Not take advantage.

Instead, I want you to focus on finding ways to set goals that feel extremely attainable so that you have a chance to achieve them and build momentum. It’s okay if your goals at times feel challenging, and you fear you’ll fall short, but it’s not helpful to make a goal that is highly unlikely and unrealistic out of the gate.

On top of all of that, if it’s not even something you want to do, or focus on why even make it a goal? If you don’t like running, and never will, don’t make it a goal to run a marathon in the first place, find something else you like instead. 

You need to know how you can accomplish the goal, and what the potential constraints are so that you can ensure you have the right tools, resources, and assistance as required to accomplish the milestones you set out to reach.

Relevant – All goals, of course, need to have something to do with the ultimate thing you’re trying to accomplish, but they should also be reasonable, and results-based. Not to mention if you don’t have the resources to do it, you’ll need to ensure you do because otherwise, it’s not realistic.

Ok, so what do I mean by this? If a goal you make is not worthwhile or it’s the wrong time, and it doesn’t match your other needs, it’s not relevant. If you’re not the right person or your company is not right, it’s not relevant. If you don’t have the funds to support this goal right now, it’s not relevant (or realistic), and that’s okay. It’s a sign that you need to pivot and focus on something else.

For example, perhaps you want to upgrade to a more expensive membership or funnel software that costs a grand a month, but you’re not earning a grand a month yet. It’s okay to put that idea on the back burner and use something else for now. Do you know how many times I have bumped up against this my own self? OMG….to be honest… all the time! Know where the milestone lands on the roadmap.

Time-Bound – You have to set up each goal with a due date for achieving it because if you don’t set a time limit or make sure the goal is timely, it might not even matter if you achieve it. In which case….umm why did you set it?

If you don’t set a time or goal target date, it’s going to be hard to create traction. One reason is that Parkinson’s law says that “work expands to fit the time available for its completion,” and that applies to this idea of setting time limits and due dates for yourself for the work you’re doing to reach your goals.

That's why combining focused action with time management will always create traction. 

For Example

If you need to finish writing your 20 chapter book, set a due date so that you know how much work you want to devote each day toward completion. If the due date is 40 days from now, make a list of all the actions that need to be taken to have a finished book on that due date. Some items on the list might include outlining, researching, writing, editing, designing, and so forth. Enter each activity into your calendar so that it happens in time to move on to the next thing.
It’s the only way you can be sure you’ll get finished even close to the time because human nature will cause you to stretch out the time indefinitely. 

My Final Thoughts

It’s hard to operate life or a business with your head in the sand when it comes to effective goal setting, and business planning. Trust me…. I know from experience and doing *SO* many things the hard way, despite knowing better.

Ugh, so much time wasted.

I'm sure you can agree, setting S.M.A.R.T goals is one of the best techniques for helping you achieve your goals. When you are focusing on doing what you want to do, achieving the goals you set, and in the manner that fits your own personal style you’re going to be a LOT less likely to experience burnout and overwhelm.
Which is one of the biggest perks of being your own boss, right?
Share in the community how you like to manage your goal setting process.
Created with