SMART Goals Get You There!

By on April 2, 2013

The SMART goal concept was first introduced in 1981, so it’s been around for a while, but it’s still as powerful today as it has even been.  It’s a great way to achieve success!


Photo Credit: Paula Naugle, Flickr

Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

Who:      Does this goal require people in order for it to succeed?  If so, compile a specific list of people.

What:     What will this goal accomplish?

Where:    Are there specific, physical locations involved in this goal?  (Example: I want to relocate to Atlanta, GA from Indianapolis, IN)

When:     When must this goal be completed?

Which:    List additional requirements and constraints. (Example: Are there any dependencies on this goal?  Does something else have to be done before any part of this goal can be achieved?)

Why:      Why do I want to achieve this goal?  What is the outcome of achieving the goal?

Measurable – How will I know this goal has been accomplished?  Make a list of things that will let you know when you have achieved your goal.  (Example: If you had a goal of losing 20 pounds, your starting weight was 150 pounds and your current weight is 130 pounds – you have achieved your goal.  So, you might write down a measure something like this, “I will achieve my goal when I look at the scale and it reads 130 pounds”.)  Goal measurements are critical to successfully reaching your goals because they help keep you on track and aware of your progress, or lack of progress.

Attainable – How will I attain this goal? List specific action steps. (Example: To lose 20 pounds I must 1. Reduce my calorie intake by 300 calories per day.  2. Exercise 45 minutes per day, 5 days per week)

Realistic – The goal must be something you’re willing to do and have an unrelenting commitment to achieving.

Timely – Always set a time frame for your goal.  In our weight loss example, simply saying I want to lose 20 pounds by spring isn’t clear enough.  Change it to a more specific time frame, such as I will lose 20 pounds by June 1st.


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