Screw SMART Goals: Use BAD Goals

Screw SMART Goals: Use BAD Goals

If I had a dollar for every time a productivity YouTuber told me to set my goals using the SMART framework, I could probably buy a bottle of whiskey to try to drown it out.

If you’re new to the productivity and goal setting space, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, and Time Bound (or something of the like, everyone’s version is different). It’s fine for some goals, but it’s missing two very large pieces of the puzzle.

Should your life purpose be realistic? How do you measure the building of relationships?

Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, and say that it’s not meant for identity or emotion based goals. Say we create a SMART goal to “grow my business’s monthly revenue from $0 to $500 within next two months.” It checks all of the boxes. Now what? How do we go from $0 to $500? We just sit there redesigning our website thinking that it’ll improve conversion rates of the visitors that we don’t have. (I’ve been there, not sure about you.)

So what are we missing here? The two things we’re missing is why we want to achieve it, and what we’re going to do to get there.

Enter the BAD framework:

  • Be, Bring, or Build
  • Accomplish
  • Do

Be, Bring, and Build

The first goal is your Be or Bring goal. Who is the person you want to be? What do you want to bring into the world?

This is an aspirational goal that isn’t necessarily achievable. These goals are life long journeys that can’t just be checked off of your to-do list. Some examples:

  • I want to be an entrepreneur
  • I want to bring more kindness to the world
  • I want to be a better partner
  • I want to build a personal brand

It’s a constant effort to be, bring, and build these things. There’s no end point. It’s just a journey.


These are the closest thing to your traditional SMART goals. What do you want to accomplish in order to bring about your Be, Bring, and Build goals? What are the outcomes that will get you closer?

Let’s take the entrepreneur example. Say that one part of your definition of being an entrepreneur is having your primary source of income come from a business that you start, and that’s your full time job. If your current full job brings in $3,000 a month, let’s say you want to completely replace that income. So your goal here would be to build a business that brings you $3,000 a month income, with whatever time frame you think is probable.

Now that we have that down, let’s move on.


What do you need to do in order to hit your Accomplish goal? This will consist of action items on daily and weekly cadences in order to bring you closer to accomplishing your goals.

For our example, if you’re building a service based business, this would be cold calling 2 possible businesses, making progress on building out your website, or posting a blog every week. Look at others who have built what you want to build and ask what they did to get there. What was the 20% of actions that have lead to 80% of their results?

Put it all together

Now that you have all of your BAD goals set, put them all into one nice place so you can see them all together. Track your daily progress on your Do goals, and keep your Be and Accomplish goals close to keep you motivated.

Try it out, and let me know how it goes!

Questions or comments? Let’s have a discussion about this post over on Twitter.