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What Is a SMART Goal? And how to make your goals SMART?

What Is a SMART Goal? And how to make your goals SMART?

All of us have dreams. We dream of a better life, a healthy life, job advancement, business growth and lots more. However, dreams without goals are just dreams!

Setting goals for things you dream to reach in life is a must, however, you need to ensure that it won’t end up as just an unfulfilled dream.

The more your goal is clear and defined the more you will reach it, on the other hand, the more your goal is vague and general the more it will end as just a dream!

For example, I want to lose weight Vs I am overweight with 15Kg and I want to lose 5KG by end of this month. Which sounds clearer and well defined, first of the second statement?

Vague goals lead you to endless loops of hopes, ups-and-downs, work hard and reach nowhere and end with frustrations.

What is a SMART goal?

In 1981 SMART as an acronym came to life in issue or management review by George T Doran. It is attributed to Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.

It is a way to make sure that your goals are clear and reachable, SMART acronym stands for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (timely, time-based, time-limited, time/cost, time-sensitive).

SMART goal has erupted in the corporate world; however, it applies in every type of goal we set.

Let’s have a look at the above example:

  • I want to lose 5KG: Specific, Measurable and Realistic
  • By the end of this month: Timely

How to Set a SMART goal?

1. Specific

SMART goal should be crisp clear otherwise you won’t be able to focus, this involves the related “W” questions, such as:

What specifically I want to achieve?

Who is involved in this goal?

Why do I want to archive this goal?

Example: I want to lose 5KG (not just lose weight)

2. Measurable

SAMRT goal should have a measurement tool. How will you know that you achieving the goal, if you don’t have a measurement tool? You need a measurement to assess progress and stay motivated. This involves the related “How” questions.

How much? How many? How I will know?

Example: I will weigh myself every week and expected to lose 2 KG first week and a KG each following week.

3. Achievable

SAMRT goal should be reachable. Yes, the sky is the limit! But this for your dreams. However, in goals, you need to set achievable milestones. Stretch your limits but make your goal reachable. Follow the baby-steps concept and set sub-goals if needed. Nothing happens overnight.

What resources do I need?

What skills do I need?

Do I need support?

What is out of my control?

Example: what is more achievable losing 15Kg in a month or three months with commitment?


While setting a goal, be aware if someone else or specific circumstances may have control over it, if yes, define clearly what is and what is not in your control?

4. Relevant

SMART goals should be realistic. This step is about ensuring that your goal is important to you and relevant. It also involves ensuring that you will be committed to it.

Is it really important?

Is this the right time?

What would I feel after achieving goal of my dream?

How would I stay committed?

Example: being overweight is affecting my health and appearance negatively, I am tired of this, I want to lose weight, I want a better life and I will do it.

5. Time bound

SAMRT goal should have a target date. Without a target date, you are leaving your goal subject to procrastinating and mostly it won’t happen. A deadline makes you focused and works toward accomplishment. It answers the “When” question.

When I will achieve it?

What are the milestones?

Example: Lose 5KG by end of the month.


While setting your time plan, take into consideration everything else in your plate, distractions and out of control factors.

Final thoughts:

Wish list remains a wish list and dreams remain a dream unless you set a SMART goal and remain committed to achieving it.  When I work with a client in a life coaching session or Executive coaching session, I ensure that my client has set a clear and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) goal. Setting a goal is the first step in achieving what you dream for, however, the way down is not easy, you stay committed, focus and measure the progress and completion down the road.

Start today and turn your wishes into action plan goal using the pattern and tips.


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