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SMART Goal Setting: A Surefire Way To Achieve Your Goals

I encourage you to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and jot down the goals you want to reach. Look at each goal and evaluate it. Make any changes necessary to ensure it meets the criteria for a SMART goals:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Timely


Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.

Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.

  • WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc.
  • WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
  • HOW are you going to do it? (By…)

Ensure the goals you set is very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2cm off your waistline or to walk 5 miles at an aerobically challenging pace.


If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, the is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.

Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! “I want to read 3 chapter books of 100 pages on my own before my birthday” shows the specific target to be measure. “I want to be a good reader” is not as measurable.

Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals.


When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop that attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Your begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.

A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1lb and when you’ve achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1lb, will keep it achievable for you.

The feeling of success which this brings helps you to remain motivated.


This is not a synonym for “easy.” Realistic, in this case, means “do-able.” It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn’t break them.

Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, crisps and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods.

For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you.

Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!


Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by fifth grade. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.

If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.

Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

Everyone will benefit from goals and objectives if they are SMART. SMART, is the instrument to apply in setting your goals and objectives.


  1. Right now i am feeling very lost, stressed, and for some strange reason i feel like there is something pressing down on me that needs to be removed in order for me to get the relief that i need to feel comfortable with myself and others.

  2. The methods stated in this article should be a blueprint on goal setting. It actually lays out for you the the most effective ways to set goals. The one that pops out at me is setting realistic goals. And by reaching those goals the confidence gets a major boost. I do believe these methods are effective a really can work. I will apply some of these methods to goal setting process.

  3. Smart has made me realize the importance of being specific, setting measurable goals,something I can achieve realistically with attainable sucess and last but not least in a timely manner. This article gives points to begin and also how you will end. As I read this article I jotted down the things that I wanted to achieve with as less stress as possible. I decided on long term goals that could be acheivale in a short term period by focusing with a simple lesson plan for myself.

  4. I am impressed. This is a first for me to hear how one should be organized in a target “specific” manner in order to achieve one’s goals. Excellent!
    I will apply this! News @ 11. ūüôā

  5. I think that whenever there is a great deal of emotional distress involved it may be harder for an individual to set SMART gaols. Sometimes when I know I have something to accomplish (perhaps attend a meeting or make it to an appointment, maybe even turn in an assignment on a due date), I find that many of the times I don’t forget or just chose not to attend for reasons only I know at that particular moment. When I am in an emotional trance (angry, or sad) I have the habit of forgetting about my responsibilities. I find it hard to care about the things I should be concerned for. How then can I attempt to succeed at conquoring the “SMART” goals?

  6. This system has been used in the business world for at least 15 years, but it’s good to see that the information is getting out to people who may not have heard of it before. My company has been using this for setting annual objectives at least 15 years.

    Bottom line – it works. It may take a little time to get started, but it’s worth it in the long run. It also helps when setting priorities, and it can be used outside the workplace as well.

    For Ashley – when you are in control of a situation, it lowers your stress level. If you have deadlines, work backwards from your deadline, so you know when to get started on each step of your project. You might want to get some training in project planning, or even find a book on it. Breaking a large project into smaller steps makes it easier to deal with, and you can determine what has to be done first, because other steps of the project might be dependent on something being completed before. Example, you can’t write a project report until the project is completed, or frost a cake before it’s been baked.

  7. I LIKE PUDDING!!!!!!!

  8. SMART goals have been my method for several years. If I were to pick the one thing that has helped over the years it would be re-evaluation of my goals as things can change daily and that is being smart

  9. Objectives are supposed to be measureable not goals. Attainable and realistic are the same.

  10. Thanks for the post. I am interested in SMART goal setting and I am reading several articles that popped up in my Google search. I am in marketing communications at a small university. Right now, I tend to categorize SMART goals three ways: good, better, best.

    A “good” SMART goal is completing a project, e.g., web site redesign, publish the university’s magazine, learn how to use SlideShare to make a slidecast, etc.

    A “better” SMART goal is getting people to take action, e.g., getting 100 alums to attend a free public lecture, get 3,000 people to attend our next home football game, etc.

    The “best” SMART goals is action that generates revenue for the university, e.g., recruit 10 more students for an important program.

    From your perspective, does it make sense to categorize SMART goals this way?

  11. I am very pleased with the presentation of the inspirational to many people like this on your site. good day ….^_^

  12. yup yup i agree

  13. i already did my goal

  14. boston celtics are the best

  15. heheehehe

  16. i gach!!!

  17. Very shocking to me. I have been goal setting all through mt military career, in a short forum. to obtain military achievements while deployed, short term and long term, most of which were accomplished. my motto was and is “Write it down and make it plain. plan your work and work your plan. (Ronnie)

  18. Attainable can be, but is not necessarily the same as realistic. Some examples: An unattainable goal that is also unrealistic: swim to the moon. An attainable, unrealistic goal: lose 20 lbs in one week. An unattainable, realistic goal: replace my arm with a robot arm (bad, I know, but this one is hard to come up with an example). Generally, realistic has to do with the path, and attainable has to do with the end result.

  19. i like cheese sticks!!! ūüėÄ

  20. I really love learning and i am enjoying myself greatly VARK makes sense to me

  21. I like that, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” a great simple concept which I will take with me, thanks!

  22. I think that we need a further requirement of the goal. It should also be noble. The goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely and most importantly, should be noble. So I suggest that you change the acronym to be SMART-N , To accommodate for nobleness of the goal. What do you think?

  23. what¬† if¬† you¬† applied¬† SMART goals to¬† one¬† particurly thing¬†YOU want¬† to¬†¬†change about¬† yourself –¬†perhaps, it¬† may provide¬† a¬† connect for¬† you to¬†be¬† motivated or inspired to¬† applying¬† to¬† work/School related goals –¬† worth¬† a¬† try

  24. Absolutuely!

  25. Just think what the world would be like if we had more SMART people!!!

    Sadly, only a small percentage of people will read your article, and fewer will follow it.  But for the few that do mine your wisdom, there is a large nugget of pure gold right here!

  26. Very SMART indeed. I highly recommend involving everyone you know, family and friends in your goal setting as well. Writing them down, reading them daily, and talking about them is the best way to stay on track!

  27. Quoting Thomas S. Monson: “Where performance is
    measured, performance improves. Where performance is measured and
    reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.”¬† Might I suggest that since Attainable and Realistic are redundant, that we change Realistic to “Recorded and Reported”.

  28. Thank you. Definitely important to define what you want to achieve, why and is is achievable and in what timeline. We try to support our community the best we can and help them find tools to reach their goals.

  29. useful info I can implement to lose weight, thanks!

  30. Perhaps Necessary is a better word.

  31. My Administrator at a Skilled Nursing Facility attempted to pass this out as a means of making our facility more efficient.¬† Suffice it to say, there is a more real world saying (“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”), which¬†says “theoreticals” like this are 1 step and a long fall down a flight of stairs.¬†

    As negative as this may sound, and to those that disagree with my analysis of this acronym – this stuff should be common sense to the person trying to make a change.¬† If you have to sit there and use your fingers to count these out…I liken it to “I put the left fooot in front of the right foooot, and then the left fooot or is the right fooot or no it’s the left foooot…”

    A bad insult to business, a defining insult to the person actually thinking this is going to solve very much; and an overall insult to someone being told how to use this garbage!

  32. is anyone in the personal development class?

  33. To me, Attainable and Realistic focus on the same attributes.  I use Actions instead of Attainable as nothing gets done without Actions.

  34. I like this technique, but I think it should be added that we look back over goals every so often to check whether we still have the desire to achieve them that we did when we set them as I think we can easily think we are a failure for not achieving things when actually our needs have changed which is why we have not achieved. 


  36. Don’t forget to focus, read your goals twice a day when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed in the night. I’ve been practiced this for a year and now I have 112 goals with some of them have already achieved.

  37. this is stupid

  38. you forgot will power

  39. ME TOO!

  40. “Realistic” may also mean that your goal should not depend on too many factors that beyond your control.

    For example, instead of setting a goal to “win the tennis match with my friend Joe”, it’s better to turn it into something more under your own control, such as “play my best tennis match with Joe.”

    Check out my website for more goal setting advice.

  41. Thanks for breaking this down into simple achievable pieces!

  42. Great article, except there were several spelling and grammatical errors throughout it. It’s important to take time out to thoroughly proofread completed work otherwise it shows that the person was rushed or does not seem to care as much about quality work.

  43. this is very idiotic. if any of you numbskulls (no offense) actually take this serious I feel sorry for you and your no life beyond a keyboard and mouse. This ideologic peice of shit smart goals ruin creativity and don’t show people how to express themselves beyond a made set of rules. Stop this and stop making things mandatory. If you’re here of your own free will …kill yourself.

  44. shuuuuuuuuut up ._.

  45. hello

  46. perhaps your

  47. what do you mean sex isnt bad its perfect

  48. Goal Setting is garbage enough. If you want something, do it right away. Don’t put it up and wait for “the time”. Do it. Just do it.

  49. The smart guidelines help me with the challenges of life in keeping good realistic goals in front of me.

  50. It is also very useful to employ visualization to your goal setting work. Can you see what a day is like after you completed your goal? Look at that day everyday between
    now and then. I wanted to make an additional suggestion.

  51. These steps are very necessary and a
    must follow. If you just look at “Realistic” or “do able,‚ÄĚ it is
    hard to define what it truly is for each individual. This is why sometimes goal
    setting does not work or is too easy. “Realistic” must be a
    stretch and I would recommend just a little out of your “do able”
    range. Are you willing to stretch yourself or just play it safe?

  52. After reading all the materials, helps me to set better goals at achieving and setting a
    pattern of study. Learning how to specific , attainable, timely, measurable, realistic about every assignment. Never set goals to high that are not reachable. Always stay
    within my means and stay focus. This some good guidelines to follow and help with
    everyday life as well. THANKS FOR SHARING!

  53. Smart Goal Setting gives me the tools to reach a level of success. It explain what I
    need to use to make sure that I am on the right track to accomplish my goal. To be commit to my studies.

  54. A short cut to setting “Specific” goals is to take a few minutes and see every detail of goals in your minds eye. This is a powerful method and I would suggest you give it a try. Right now take a moment and view a typical day 1 or 2 days after you have achieved your goal. How does that day look, feel, smell and maybe even taste?
    Do this quick exercise and see the “S” of SMART goal setting right now.

  55. Time to take a dump

  56. Meg I think that is a good stress reliever

  57. That is a very good point. I am writing a paper on my college goals and the realistic part with a positive note has befuddled me. This little advise is sending me to paper… My goals will depend on myself and education and what I can control in it… Thanks

  58. I thing the strategies above are great tools to help accomplish your goals. I haven’t tried them per say. I just use self discipline to accomplish my goals.

  59. I’ve read the information above and I have set goals for myself and so far I am getting them done. I’m so glad that I did set goals up for myself so I would know were I want to be in life. I’m a little late but it’s getting done so far.

  60. In process of reviewing the S.M.A.R.T goals I think I’d rather focus on measurable, specific, and attainable goals. The strategy to these or rather all of the goals are maintaining a daily routine or schedule and applying them to our daily expierences to obtain accurate results of our success. This was a very helpful tool for me to put into process right away.

  61. Reviewing the goals helped me set my goals at a pacific and more reliable state. It feel relaxing and certainly conveient for planning and preparing for assignments and tasks that are reqired for succes through school and work settings.
    Setting goals are difficult when becoming a student because of our personal and busy lives are just at times overwhelmed with becoming familiar and comfortable with our learning.
    I will need to change by adding specific, measurable, relevant goals and practice them into actionable goals to reach my goals.

  62. I love all the steps and advice that she gives all of us on what to do, how to do it and all.

  63. after reading all the materials helps to set better goals

  64. I have’nt tried the things listed above , but i think that they are very helpful resources . It takes alot to actually set down and take the time to prepare for the success of your long and shoet term goals .

  65. I love the S-specific, M-measurable,A-attainable, R-realistic, T-timely is put specific, measurable, attainable, realistic,time(ly) to Me is seen clearly Timely,Realistic, (Attainable,Measurable)-REACHABLE. specific goals are the goals already set within somewhere whether heart or mind that is/are the first to be the 6 w’s.We do this everyday Who is involved? self- What do I want or going to eat today/wear? THANK YOU for helping Me remember the important goals of every day living.

  66. We must keep the general studies alive,stay focus on our daily task
    keep all the smart goals of our agenda on target.So we can be successful in life and help someone else get to where we our know the more learning skills you endure the more knowledge you will accomplish in life.

  67. Goal setting is simple,you must have two key things in mind,the first key is to set goals.Then you must put consistency,as well as displine in between your Goals and achivements in order to be successful.

  68. I have decided to follow your goal rules I had set my goal already according to what your goal book has said reason why how when where.I’m looking at a five year goal. no dreaming or wishful thinking thanks to cut I will accomplish my goals in five years as planned.

  69. It is not hard to make long or short term goals. It is all achievable as long as you put your mind to it. Goals are something everyone should do at least once in their life time

  70. This Creating Smart Goals is a better way for me to understand about how I can set goals for myself and know how to do it right.

  71. This information is very insightful. It teaches me that goal setting with a dead line is east to achieve.

  72. This smart goal planning has helped me in many ways. But most importantly, it has shown me how to set a goal/goals and how to accomplish them.

  73. I think that was very helpful to read. It told me step by step how to write my goals and structure them. Set them around my daily life, like my job, my family. It really helped with understanding why I need to write down my goals also.

  74. After reading the information, I prioritize my everyday events, time, and situations that are unplanned. I feel like this is a great step to my success online and in life.

  75. I want to lose 26 pounds by the end of August 3. I plan to achieve this goal by eating smaller portions of vegetables, avoiding teas, adding water and by walking at least 30 minutes daily, also adding an aerobic video to my exercise plan, 3 times weekly. According to my BMI I am considered obese and I need to restart my lifestyle.

  76. That’s is some good insight on reaching goals

  77. My goal is to make a good habit and break a bad habit every month for the next 12 months beginning with Rosh HaShanah to the next Roah HaShanah. New moon to new moon.

  78. Its very helpfull.

  79. I just now much like the valuable facts a person supply with your content. I am going to book mark a person’s blog page and check out once more below often azuela cove davao. I’m instead convinced We will be instructed many innovative information in this article! Best of luck for the!

  80. It is so interesting to follow these smart guide lines. It is so helpful to pursue and accomplish my personal goals.

  81. The goal setting chart puts me in a very good place to really think about my goals and how I want to put them in to play .The chart that stuck out more was the timely goal setting. Because everything that I plan to do I always speak on how I want to do it by a certain time so i value this one because shows me how to keep my focus on the prize. And I also think highly and strong of measurable because it is about sticking and knowing your gonna make things happen.Its up to you to get things done. the goal setting chart broke this down very clear into showing you how to map them out.


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