QUICK GUIDE: How to set goals the SMART way

SMART Goals- a quick guide to making goals that are totally achievable.

Do you ever feel like you are working hard but not truly getting anywhere? Maybe your days have become like the hamster in his wheel... spinning, spinning, spinning, but always in the same place. Or perhaps you are unable to visualize how you will make improvement on those meaningful goals that require more intention.Many people spend their lives drifting from one task to another without finishing what they started. Or rushing around trying to #hustle, appearing busy while actually accomplishing very little meaningful work. Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively. By doing this, you will increase your chances of achieving what you really want.Let's explore what SMART goals are, and we'll look at how you can use them to ACTUALLY ACHIEVE the goals you set!

What Does SMART Mean?

To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

How to Use SMART

1. Specific

Your goal should be very specific, otherwise you won't be able to focus your efforts with clarity of mind. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish? (keep it simple)

  • Why is this goal important? (significance)

  • Who is involved?

  • Where is it located?

  • Which resources are necessary to meet this goal?

2. Measurable

Think about this...If you don't know how far you're supposed to go, you won't know when you've arrived. It's important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress. Assessing progress helps you to stay motivated and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. When you hit the exact number or time that you set, you will know that you have achieved it!A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How much?

  • How many?

  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

3. Achievable

Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should challenge you but still remain possible. The goal also needs to be agreed upon by all people who it will effect and who will be involved. You can't move forward if key members are not on board.An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?

  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints such as financial factors, competing elements, obstacles that may arise, time constraints etc.?

  • What challenges might I face and how do I plan to overcome them?

4. Relevant

This step is about ensuring that your goal is meaningful to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals that have been set. We all need support in achieving our goals, but remember that your personal goal is your responsibility to achieve. Also, what goals you set will in part effect those around you.A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?

  • Is this the right time?

  • How does this fit with other needs and efforts?

  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?

  • Does this goal work with the current socioeconomic environment?

5. Time-bound

  • Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to work toward. It's important to break your goal down into smaller bite-sized pieces that you can check off each day and so that the smaller pieces will be given the appropriate time necessary to complete. This also will help you to differentiate between short and long term goals.A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
    • What date should I start?

    • What date do I need this completed by?

    • How many smaller steps do I need to break this into so that I can reach the goal by my deadline?

    • What can I do six months from now?

    • What can I do six weeks from now?

    • What can I do today?



Apply This to Your Life

Perhaps you've always dreamed of traveling around the world, or learning to play an instrument but it's never happened. Maybe you tell yourself it's because you don't have the time or the money, and you'll think about it next year.Try setting SMART goals to help make your plans specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. You might find that the real reason you haven't met your goals is because your plans have been too vague or unrealistic. Think about how you can adjust your vision and rephrase it as a SMART goal, so that you can make your dream come true.

Another Point:

I find that the WHY behind the goal is sometimes the most important question to ask yourself. When I am clear about my motives, I can then decide if the goal is worth pursuing. When the WHY is meaningful, it propels me into a deeper motivation with passion and purpose.The story of the three bricklayers has been around for many years. The reason it continues to be told is the message that the story tells.The following is the story of The Three Bricklayers:"Once there were 3 bricklayers. Each one of them was asked what they were doing. The first man answered gruffly, 'I'm laying bricks.'The second man replied, enthusiastically 'I'm laying bricks that will be a part of a building.'But the third man said with purpose and passion, 'I'm building a church that will be a place of worship for many generations.' --Author Unknown


When you set SMART goals, you can create clear, attainable and meaningful goals, and develop the motivation, action plan, and support needed to achieve them. Happy goal setting!