smart goals

This is What Happens When Your Goals are Not Bigger and SMARTER

Raghu Career 51 Comments

Do you have a SMART Goals or Just Bigger Goals? Here’s what I have noticed. We set bigger goals, but not SMARTer.

Goals and Goal Setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted ( SMART Goals ). But, let’s do a reality check of my goals (past and present).

This blog post was written as the direct results of following external factors:

Here is my story about my past and future goals in my life.

High School

  • When I was in 10th Grade, my goal was to become a Doctor.
  • When I was in 12th Grade, my goal was to become a Doctor.
  • I was asked to become an Engineer, and so I got admitted into Engineering College.
  • When I was in Frist year of Engineering, still my goal was to quit Engineering and become a Doctor.


  • 2nd year to 4th year of Engineering school, my goal was to attend Graduate School in the USA.
  • I complete Engineering with First Class and Distinction (above 75% without backlogs)
  • After completing Engineering, I was getting used to the being an Engineer.

Graduate School

  • First 2 Semesters was to graduate MS with 4.0 GPA
  • 3rd semester to graduation, goal was to get an internship and full-time job.

I received time job offer, before my last semester at school started. I had got my H1B before I graduated from Masters Degree.

Most of my goals were focused on what I wanted 2 years from now. Do you think my goals looks like your current goal? When  I started working full-time, my exposure towards life gave new insights. I started meeting new people, who had much bigger goals in their life.

I was thinking regarding how to pay my rent and buying a home with huge mortgage. They were thinking how to create the business, how to be the true knowledge worker, and what would be their next investment. So, my goals started getting bigger. But, this time, instead of 2 years, I was thinking five years from now. I added timeline and list of things I have to do reach my goals.  I created  Massive Action Plan ( as Tony Robbins says).

Why Set the Lower Goals?

Now, you have read my story, let’s get into why I started writing this article. As I said before; two reasons influenced me to write this post.

Chat My Friend

I was chatting with my friend about his plans, who is working for Software firm in India. I realized, the massive difference in our thinking and expectations from life and goals.

I asked him, “Why not set a higher goal?”.

His said, “I would like to have higher goals, but with my exposure and environment, I have set goals that I think is high enough for me”.

I would have set a similar goal if I was back in India. I realized the influence of living in America.

Impact of the Books

I have set my goal which is much Bigger and Higher. I wanted to build something that gives me “kick”. I wanted to help others. I just don’t to have a 9-5 job and be content with life and be reactive to what life throws at me.

While reading this first chapter of the book Steve Jobs, I realized, his goals were much higher and more significant while he was in High School. His parents knew he was Smart; Special and Intellectually gifted. They gave him the opportunity to bring out the best in him. They encouraged his curious mind to explore.

While reading some comments at Graduates from India – Higher in quantity, but little in Quality, it is very clear that our goal setting is greatly influenced by our parents and people we surround ourselves with.

How big is your goal?

Who influenced your goal setting process?

Is your goal is smaller and similar to my goal from school, college days?

Most of you, reading this post will have goals like: getting to MS, Finding a good job and I consider them to smaller goals.  Really?

  • I want to complete Masters Degree from U.S.A and get a good paying job.
  • I want to earn in U.S. dollars
  • I want to settle in America.

If you are limiting yourself to reach only the next target, you are going to be reactive to your environment. Just like I how was in High School and College. Do you think being reactive to life is good enough for you?

Maybe you want to live an American Dream ( Have a Job, Buy a Car and Home). Is that good enough for you?

I Came to Realize that.. SMART GOALS works

So, while reading the book Steve Jobs, I realized, all these years, my goal was limited and small. I was making myself valuable by being reactive to what the world is throwing at me.

Coming to the USA for Graduate School is not a simple task. So many students graduate every year in India; only a handful get an opportunity to come to the US for education. But, after completing the education, I feel that my goal should have been much bigger. I shouldn’t have stopped at just “Completing MS in the USA”.

My Cousin brother went to the USA, after completing Engineering. So, they helped shape my goal, while I was in College. My parents wanted me to have a good American education.

I realized, my goals could have been much bigger, if my exposure towards life, society was larger and better. I was surrounded by friends, who all had the goal of going to the USA. That was the biggest goal. But today world is a different place. Access to information is at our fingertips. Exposure, which you and I have about the external world, has improved drastically.

When the world has changed a lot, why do you still want to have smaller goals. If your target is to come to the USA for Higher Education, I have following questions for you.

What do you want to do after completing MS?

How do you see yourself, 5 years from now?

Would be happy working for an employer with 9-5 job?

I hope, your goals are much bigger that being an employee with a 9-5 job.

My Suggestions

Don’t limit your goals to just getting a degree. Expand you thinking beyond what you are asked to do by you parents or relatives. If your parents have reached say step 3 in an Economic Life Ladder, then don’t try just to reach Step 4. Why not set your goals to reach Step 8 or beyond.  Make them SMART Goals.

If your dad is a Government employee or small business owner, it’s a big step-up for them to pay for your US education. You might be the first person in the family to plan and study abroad. But, why to limit your goal to a just degree in the USA and a decent paying job. Don’t do the same mistake I did. Set your goals much higher and work towards that.

I haven’t listed any concrete example what your goals beyond a degree and job should be. But, I will leave it to you pick one. But, don’t settle for less. Don’t be reactive to your environment.

Can you list what is your current goal, who influenced it and how you can make it bigger and smarter.

See Also:  The New American Dream. Who Else Want to be Part of It? >>


  1. Great article, I believe everyone should have a passion which will turn into goals and work towards achieving it. God help us all.

  2. U mention one steve jobs book..
    Is it steve jobs biography..??
    Thanks for writing such a good article.

  3. Nice article… This blog is very informative. I’m following HSB atleast for last few years and but stopped for last 9 months due to my busy schedule. Again I started reading updates from past one month. I still don’t see any change in Raghu’s approach or the way he tries to stress on important factors which are essential for students to survive succeed and realise their dream run in US. I don’t know how he manages his daily schedules but the content what we get in this blog is huge and one shall spend lot of time to publish as a tailor made one.

    And I want share my opinion with students who failed to get admissions in US schools or someone who fail to raise funds or whose dream destination is US but couldn’t manage to realise your dreams…

    Because I’m one who falls in the same category…

    Will post an article about my experiences with the help of Mr. HSB

    1. Author

      Thanks for being open about your experience with HSB and thanks for being active again. It takes lot of time indeed. This article took about 4 hours of work from concept ideation to publishing and republishing. please do share your experience.

  4. Thanks for your impressive suggestions for all who making a higher goals . here i want some suggestions from you for my point of view. i want to do M.S. in computer science and engineering from U.S. After completing masters i want to do the job in U.S. and make money
    for future goals. during the job i want to do PHD also from their. after over a period i would
    like to return in india and settle a concern business.
    kindly suggest what should i do as above plan or should i think on other way?.

    kind regards

    1. Author

      Good goals. But it’s not specific enough.

      When you want to start MS How long do you want to work?
      When do you want to start PHD?
      Why not PHD before MS?

      Be specific with time limit.

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