iSMART — Inspired vs Tired

Heather D Reynolds
4 min readDec 14, 2018


Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

The difference between striving and thriving is inspiration.

Many of us have heard of smart goals. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. We create many goals, even ones we are not conscious of. We work with the bank to outline a mortgage and we have created a goal to own our own house within a specific period of time. It has all the elements of a SMART goal.

We have a measure which is we successfully have paid the bank for our house along with the interest. It is specific. We must take action to pay that mortgage every month and keep the house in a habitable condition. It is pretty realistic assuming we have a job and there is a deadline for the end of the pursuit of the goal.

Lots of people set goals that they do not achieve. There are countless motivational speakers out there, coaches making a living helping people achieve goals. If all we need is a SMART goal, then why is it that so many people struggle to lose the weight they want? Or to make the money they want?

With the new year marching quickly toward us, I recently sat in on a goal setting workshop. As we discussed setting goals and making them actionable, a memory came to me. I recall somewhere reading or hearing, you have to recognize and be willing to experience the challenges in the pursuit of the goal in order to be successful.

That makes sense. Rock climbers are willing to sleep in vans or tents, awake in to cold and wear their puffy coats until they are tied in and ready to send in the pursuit of ideal temperatures. Runners awaken before dawn to get out and pursue their miles and writers have to bear writing all the words that will never be published to edit it down to the ones that are published.

Then … there is this.

How gritty you are is what helps you navigate what is challenging. Makes absolute sense. But still, something was missing.

I listened as a young person told me their plans… moving, hoping to find some place less expensive and a better paying job. Even as he spoke, there was a sadness in his voice, a dullness. That’s when I got it. He was definitely not inspired.

Inspiration is necessary to continue to motivate you to get through the tough times. I recall a time with my climbing partner of years ago falling at the last hold of his project. As I caught the fall and felt my own wave of disappointment, he was exclaiming, “This route is so cool!” I was in disbelief that someone could be joyful about just being robbed of the send, but it was a great lesson to me.

I had my own inspired goal recently. I hate falling on lead and it makes me afraid of lead climbing all the time. I whinge (think cringe and whine) and get my face all tight and climb terribly when I expect myself to do it and I hate it. But my son let me know that it was no fun climbing with a whiner. I want my son to proud of his mama. So As much as I hate falling, I made a goal to just take the falls, no whinging! I made a goal to not say “take”; a goal to act with courage… not for me. I was inspired by a desire for my son to see me as a courageous person.

Bouldering the start in Rifle

As I listened in this workshop, I thought it isn’t SMART goals, it’s iSMART goals. What ever goal you set needs to be INSPIRED by something bigger than yourself. Losing weight for yourself is not inspired. Losing weight so you are healthy and will live to be a part of your grandchild’s life, is inspired.

My recommendation… 1) Figure out what Inspires you. 2) Set a Specific goal that will push you outside your comfort zone AND 3) Make that goal Measurable and give it a deadline. 4) Write out the Actions that you will take to reach the goal. 5) Recognize, acknowledge the discomfort you will be confronted with. With that in mind, consider whether the goal is Reasonable. And 6) Give yourself a Time limit; a date by which you will determine if you have completed the goal.

An iSMART goal is thriving… moving with inspired action. A SMART goal is striving for a finish line. The later requires remembering what inspires you and applying effort with optimism. A SMART goal requires will power and discipline, accountability, sometimes a coach.

Stay tuned for Part 2

“Trauma is the string that strings us all together.” ~ Theo Fleury, Play Your Part

And the part than takes away INSPIRATION



Heather D Reynolds

Climber, Adventurer, Yogini, Kinesiologist, Author, Teacher

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