Forget S.M.A.R.T. Goals—Achieve True Success Like This

Forget S.M.A.R.T. Goals—Achieve True Success Like This

2 min read
Ashley Wilson

Ashley Wilson is an avid real estate investor from the suburbs of Philadelphia. She owns several real estate businesses and focuses primarily on the operations of each business.

Ashley began her real estate career investing in short- and long-term rentals. She then started flipping houses in the suburbs of Philadelphia, while living in Europe. Upon her return, she moved into large multifamily.

Over her tenure, she has been involved in over $40M of real estate and has overseen over $5M in construction. Today, she focuses on both flipping houses and operating large multifamily properties, as the Asset and Construction Manager.

Currently, Ashley is a contributing blogger to BiggerPockets. She also was on BiggerPockets Podcast episode #277 and previously provided live content for BiggerPockets YouTube and Live Stream.

Ashley has also been featured on several podcasts, including The Real Estate InvestHer, Purchase to Profits, Best Real Estate Investing Advice with Joe Fairless, The Real Estate Syndication Show, The Multifamily Zone, Multifamily Marketing, and Cashflow2Freedom. In addition, Ashley has spoken at several real estate events including IMN Multifamily Property Management & Operations, MidAtlantic Summit, Diversified Investors Group, The Real Estate InvestHer, and Strategic Investor Alliance.

Ashley attended Colgate University and then later received her Masters of Leadership Development at Penn State University, where she was inducted into the Beta Gama Sigma Society. Ashley also holds a Six Sigma Lean Professional Certification and an Independent Rental Owner Professional Certification from the National Apartment Association.


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It’s that wonderful time of year! No, I am not talking about organizing your taxes. I am talking about the ability to set new goals.

For as long as I can remember, I have used the new year to finalize my goals. I would ensure they were “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Specific). I would also be sure to align them with my overall business vision and values.

Every year, I would achieve most of the goals I set. So, I must be successful, right?

Without getting too philosophical about the definition of success, let’s just skip ahead to the finale to inform you the answer is no.

(Queue the dreamy, flashback movie music.)

Realizing My Goals Were Flawed

About six months ago, I attended Brandon Turner and Tarl Yarber’s mastermind in Maui. Not only did I establish lifelong friendships there, but I also learned game-changing business ideas and strategies to propel my businesses and personal life.

One strategy that I learned at this mastermind, I now use as a roadmap for establishing my goals.

Pretty casual thinking woman in glasses looking up on blue background with empty copy space

During one of our sessions, we were asked to describe, in detail, our perfect day. While I have had days that I thought were perfect, I had never been asked to write down what a perfect day actually is for me. By writing it down, it forced me to structure the time I spent doing specific activities during the day. Through this exercise, I realized that I have not been moving towards my perfect day, but away from it. Let me explain.

Related: There Is a Major Problem With Your Goals

I have always been a very competitive person. But unlike most people, I am not competitive with others—just myself. In sports, I wouldn’t compete against other people’s records in running or statistics but instead my own times and goals.

In school, I didn’t care what grades my classmates received. I only cared about what I believed I could achieve. And in my work life, I constantly push myself to build bigger and better businesses.

The problem is, when I look at my perfect day, it is not spent building businesses. Rather, it’s used to spend time with my family and friends and to ride my horse.

Setting New Goals With Ultimate Success in Mind

Obviously I know that being able to achieve my perfect day is due in large part to having a successful business. What is not so obvious is what makes a successful business.

investment philosophy, investing goals,

After much thought, I have come to realize my definition of a successful business (as it relates to my goals) should not be measured by the size of the business. Instead, it should be measured by its capacity to self-operate.

Related: How to Set (& Actually Achieve) Life-Transforming Goals

This epiphany has had a major impact on me. Unlike previous years, this year my goal planning session did not start by writing out SMART goals. In contrast, I started with writing the definition of my perfect day.

I then set a count goal for perfect days (52 for 2020, which breaks down to once a week). All of my other goals are set to not only help me achieve my goal of 52—but to exceed it. And like all goals, I will be tracking my progress to ensure I hold myself accountable.

The number of perfect days is a reflection of my new definition of what a successful business is to me. In the end, if I am able to achieve this goal, I will be able to finally say I am successful!

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What are you goals for the new year? What’s your process of setting and sticking to them?

Let’s talk below!

For as long as I can remember, I have used the new year to finalize my goals. I would ensure they were “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Specific). I would also align them with my overall business vision and values. Each year, I achieved most of them. So, I must be successful, right? Wrong.