How to Set SMART Goals

By Michele Connolly

[box type=”download”]Click here to download the
SMART Goal Planner
from our SMART Goals page
[/box] SMART Goal Planner

‘SMART’ is an acronym for 5 characteristics that help you set well-defined goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Framed

Say your goal is ‘To lose weight’. Here’s how to make it SMART…

Step 1: Make it Specific

‘To lose weight’ is vague. What exactly do you want your weight loss to look like?

  • Specific: I’ll fit into my black skinny jeans
  • It helps if: You can picture it clearly

Step 2: Make it Measurable

How precisely will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What’s at the finish line?

  • Measurable: My black skinny jeans will zip up all the way
  • It helps if: There’s an objective, defined point

Step 3: Make it Achievable

Here you run a reality check. Are you prepared to make the commitment your goal will take? If the skinny jeans are 12 sizes away, are you willing to dramatically alter your life? Is there a more achievable target you are willing to work for?

  • Achievable: My black skinny blue bootleg jeans will zip up all the way
  • It helps if: Your goal and your commitment level are well matched

Step 4: Make it Realistic Relevant

Some people use Realistic here, but Achievable covers that territory. Instead, I suggest you make your goal Relevant to your life and other priorities. If it’s a ‘should’ inherited from someone else or out-of-date thinking, ditch or revise it.

For instance, if a weight-loss buddy thinks your goal should be to finish a marathon but you loathe running, competition and the outdoors, choose something else. Make it relevant to you or you’ll run out of steam early on.

  • Relevant: My black skinny blue bootleg jeans will zip up all the way – which is relevant to my goals of being healthy and looking my best
  • It helps if: You aren’t fighting with yourself to reach your objective

Step 5: Make it Time-Framed

What’s a reasonable date for achieving your goal? Strike a balance between being so ambitious you never expect to succeed and aiming so low you lack incentive to try. You can tweak the date as you make progress.

  • Time-Framed: My black skinny blue bootleg jeans will zip up all the way – which is relevant to my goals of being healthy and looking my best – by July 1 2009.
  • It helps if: The time frame is close enough to energize you (sometimes you need a series of sub–goals)

Optimize your chance of goal success: Bonus Steps

To really boost your likelihood of reaching that outcome, here are some extra questions to ask yourself during goal-setting activities. These move you from planning and strategizing to action.

1. What resources do you need?

Make a list of all the things, people and information you need to achieve your objective. For instance:

  • Ask Sally to be my goal buddy
  • Buy comfortable walking shoes
  • Buy a rain hoodie
  • Get some motivation magazines

2. What needs to be scheduled in your diary?

Most goals need time and activities – make sure you have these allocated in your diary. For instance:

  • Schedule 3 x 30-minute walks per week
  • Schedule 2 x bike rides per week
  • Schedule menu planning
  • Schedule menu shopping

3. What milestones are important along the way?

It helps keep up your motivation if you mark your progress along the way with rewards. Start by deciding which milestones to reward. For instance:

  • Jeans go over my knees
  • Jeans go over my hips
  • Jeans zip up with effort
  • Jeans zip up comfortably (final)

4. What rewards will you give yourself for reaching those milestones?

Next, choose your rewards. For instance:

  • Jeans go over my knees – Get a manicure
  • Jeans go over my hips – Get a pedicure
  • Jeans zip up with effort – Get a facial
  • Jeans zip up comfortably – Get a full-body massage

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goal!

(This article was originally published on our blog: 5 Steps to SMART Goal Planning.)

SMART Goal Setting Example Video

In this video we look at how a SMART goal planner can help, as we walk step-by-step through the process of setting a goal to do 25 push-ups in a row.

Of course you can apply the exact same steps to any goal you choose.

Download your own free SMART Goal Planner PDF by clicking the link below:

[box type=”download”]Click here to download the
SMART Goal Planner
from our SMART Goals page
[/box]

Become a SMART Goal Setter With the SMART Goals Guide

The Complete Guide To Setting SMART Goals shows you, step-by-step, exactly how to set SMART goals.

It gives you plenty of worked Examples, including how to make the following goals SMART:

  • I Want to Lose Weight
  • I Want to Write a Novel
  • I Want to Get a Promotion
  • I Want to Speak Up In Meetings
  • I Want to Make More Money
  • I Want to Have Better Friends
  • I Want to Spend More Time With Family
  • I Want to Be More Productive
  • I Want to Create My Ideal Wardrobe
  • I Want to Be Happier
  • I Want to Have More Fun
  • I Want to Declutter My House
  • I Want to Start a Business
  • I Want to Grow My Business
  • I Want to Learn A Language

Learn more about the Complete Guide To Setting SMART Goals

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