How To Set SMART Goals

One of the best ways to guarantee goal-setting success is to ensure that each of your goals fits the SMART formula. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. The SMART acronym first appeared in the November 1981 issue of Management Review.  “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives.” was the title and it was written by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham.

The acronym SMART has several slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition of goal setting:

  • S – specific, significant, stretching
  • M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
  • A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
  • R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
  • T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

When your goals have these characteristics, you are much likelier to achieve them.

Goal Setting Success

Setting short term, medium term, and long-term goals for yourself is a key to success in your life. If there are things that you want to achieve or ways that you want to grow, setting goals as steppingstones is an important part of getting there.

Follow this strategy to set SMART goals:

  1. SMART Goals Are Specific
    • This means your goals should be either numbers based or clearly explicit. It cannot be vague or ambiguous. A smart goal may be “Go from 165 pounds to 155 pounds,” or “Touch my toes without bending my knees.” Both are specific goals without any vague phrasing left open to interpretation.
    • The more specific your goals are, the clearer it will be when you finally achieve them.
    • Break your large goals into smaller short-term and medium-term goals, with each smaller goal phrased just as specifically in order for them to be attainable and achievable.
  2. SMART Goals Are Measurable
    • This is another reason why many smart goals are numbers based. To know whether or not you achieved a goal, you must be able to measure your progress. SMART goals are goals that you can track and measure that have a clear end or point of attainment.
    • Being able to measure your progress is really important in goal setting and goal achievement. It helps you determine whether or not you’re moving in the right direction, since you can clearly track and measure both positive and negative progress along the way.
  3. SMART Goals Are Attainable
    • Smart goals are goals that you can actually attain. They’re not extremely farfetched goals like “Lose 100 pounds in 90 days,” because if there’s no way to achieve the goal, why set it? SMART goals are goals that you are physically and mentally capable of achieving.
  4. SMART Goals Are Realistic
    • SMART goals are not only attainable, but they are realistically attainable. They are a combination between a specific achievement that you can reach and a time frame that realistically coordinates with that achievement.
  5. SMART Goals Are Timely
    • Smart goals have time frames, and realistic ones at that. When you put a realistic time frame on your goal, it gives you something to work for. To simply “Lose 10 pounds,” without a time frame lacks motivation. “Lose 10 pounds by my birthday” has a realistic time frame that gives you something to work for and a date for completion.

Setting SMART goals is the best way to guarantee success at setting and achieving goals for what you want in life. By setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, you can have the success you deserve!

Published by Ron Richardson

I'm Ron Richardson. I specialize in goals coaching. As your coach, I will help you set realistic goals and partner with you to create a plan and action steps toward achieving those goals. I'll provide objectivity, consistent support and hold you accountable to the commitments you make toward accomplishing your goals.

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