SMART Goals

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

Specific

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 is it about this goal that makes it important at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
  • HOW are you going to do it? (By … )

Ensure the goal you set is very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to save more, set a specific goal to save $50 a month through payroll deduction into a special savings account.

Measurable

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for 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.

Attainable

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 20 pounds in one week, we all know that isn't achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1 pound and when you've achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1 pound, will keep it achievable for you.

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

Realistic

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.

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 eating out again may work for a few weeks, but eventually, there will be a need to eat out.

For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of preparing a meal at home each week that normally would have been carryout or a trip to a restaurant. You can then choose to work towards reducing carryout or dining out gradually 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!

Timely

Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by next year. 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.