SMART Goal Setting

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Have you ever wondered about your goals?  Have you ever wondered how to write goals, adhere to the guidelines and then fully achieved them?  If you have ever wondered about properly writing goals, or how to achieve goals, then using a ‘SMART’ method may help.

SMART is a mnemonic used to describe goals.  Goals tend to be performance indicators that can be identified by each of the letters in the SMART mnemonic.

So let’s look at the word SMART and what it stands for.

  • S – Specific – This describes what the goal is.  Most commonly, this answers the 5 W’s of the goal.  Who (who is involved), What (What is it that needs to be accomplished), When (Discussed in Time), Where (Where will this be done), Why (Reasons of the goal).  To ensure the goal is specific it must answers all of these questions.

  • M – Measurable – How can you measure the goal?  If it’s not measurable, then it may be ambiguous and you’ll never know if you are making progress towards its completion.  This will help reaching deadlines and milestones.    If you would like to measure your goal, some suggested questions to help you with this would be; how much or how many, and how I will know when it is accomplished.

  • A – Attainable – Can your goal be reached?  These are not above or below performance expectations.  The question to ask for this section can be – how can the goal be accomplished.

  • R – Relevant – Are these goals pertinent to you and what you hope to achieve?  How is this goal going to be relevant to you or your team/organization?  How is this goal going to drive you forward?

  • T – Time Bound – How long will it take for you to meet your goal?  What are the set timelines for milestones along the way when attempting to reach your goal?

Let’s take an example to help illustrate the SMART philosophy of goal  making.  Example of a SMART goal:  I would like to have $500,000 in five years time.  S (Specific) – who (me), what (need to have $500,000), why (because I will need it to retire), where (I will do this from home).  M – (Measurable) ($500,000 in five years time, or $100,000 per year for 5 years), A (Attainable), I will attend business conferences and will start by own business selling scarves.  R (Relevant) – If I can make $500,000 then I will be able to retire.  T (Time) – I will set milestones to make $100,000 every December 1st.  

If you would like to see some examples of SMART goals in the business sector, please try this resource:

If you would like to have more resources on SMART goal planning or a template to help you write them down, you can try this resource: