Goal Setting: Set SMART Goals

This article is part of Goal Setting series.

Set SMART Goals 

As we have discussed earlier goals occupy an important part in our life. We need to review our goals and keep ourselves motivated to achieve our final destination. Setting SMART Goals is important so that we can define the specific course of action and take necessary steps to achieve them. Smart Goals help us in planning our journey ahead. Commitment, extraordinary determination along with Smart goal setting can work wonders for us. A path may or may not be lighted but if we become the torch bearers ourselves goal achievement will get easier.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time-bound

Specific – A goal needs to be very very specific as to what do we want and how do we wish to accomplish them. We have to answer the following questions.

Why do we wish to accomplish a particular goal?

What do we want to do?

What time period is required in accomplishing our goal?

Who will help me in accomplishing my goal? Will I be able to do it alone or I will need the help of someone to achieve my goal?

When the above questions are answered we are clear as to exactly what we want and how do we plan to accomplish it. Things may or may not work according to our plan, but we are more likely to achieve our goal if we have planned a specific goal. Having a vague goal will land us nowhere. vague goals like “ I want to be successful “, everyone wants to be successful. The goal will be specific if we define the field in which we want to be successful like engineering, doctor, business, writer, painter. We need to define the exact goal in which we are planning to be successful. This will help us in taking right measures to achieve our goals. Vague planning will lead us nowhere as vague goals. Thus, specific goal setting will bring measurable success.

Measurable – You should be able to measure your goals. Know the exact distance covered and which way to go. Goals should be measurable so that when we look back we should know how far we have travelled and how much distance is yet to be covered. This helps us in working with full motivation. When we are very near to our goal we can work harder and achieve our goals in the specified time frame.

Attainable Goals – Goals should be specific, measurable and attainable. If we want to accomplish something which is not under our possible limits we are more likely to procrastinate and suffer from distress. It will lead to negative feelings and loss of interest in whatever we are doing. It is better to set achievable goals. Goals which drives us out of our comfort zone and are a little higher than our expectations. We are more likely to achieve something which we feel is possible than accomplishing something which is impossible. We will be more motivated and intrinsically driven to achieve our specific goal.

Realistic – Set realistic goals. Do not set unrealistic goals. Set goals which motivate you or drives you. Goals which are your fancy but you are not sure whether you can achieve them or not, please do not set them. Set something which is more tangible and something you believe in. Realistic goals will motivate and bring tangible results than impractical goals.

Time Bound – Goals should be time bound. We should define the exact time period for achievement of our goals. This will help us keep on track and prevent procrastination. Time-bound goals can be measured and we can determine if we are lagging behind or moving ahead of time. A specific time period will help us in achieving the specific goal on time as will move one step ahead each day and reach closer to our goals. We expand our knowledge and reach the level of our goal. Goals without specific time period are difficult to achieve. For example I have started my business, I need to define when I expect to earn what amount of money so that I can review if I have achieved my goal if not then what steps need to be taken to achieve it.


Smart Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound Goals help us in proper planning of our goals. We need to take out time and sit with our own selves and find out as to what we want to do. Then we have to work towards fulfillment of our goals. We can measure the distance covered and find out what more needs to be done so that we can reach the final target. We should set goals which we think are attainable by us, then we will put in extra efforts for its achievement. A time duration will help us stick to a particular path and help us in scheduling our time so that we do not waste time and reach the aim on a specific time. If the goal takes too much time to achieve we lose track of it and eventually do not reach the end.


Key to setting realistic SMART goal

There are several keys to setting realistic Smart goals. They are

Write down your goals: Written goals are tangible and it can be reviewed from time to time. When we put our goals in writing we are aware of what we want to accomplish and write a full plan to achieve our goal. Written goals program our mind to achieve it in a specific time period. We are more likely to follow the schedule and prevent procrastination. constantly going through our written goals programs our mind to achieve that specific goal until it is accomplished. Once the goal is accomplished we can move on to another goal and achieve it. When we do not put our goals goals into writing and just keep them in our mind we are more likely to forget it and cannot keep track of the distance covered. It is very important to put goals into writing so that we have something tangible to hold on and go through when faced with obstacles or unplanned situations.

Set short milestones: Setting short milestones helps a lot in the achievement of larger goals. Long term goals which take a longer time period to accomplish leads to confusion if we do not divide it into mini milestones. These small milestones help us in reaching the bigger planned goal. We achieve one milestone, then another. This way we reach the end of our planned journey. Short milestones drive us to bigger goals which were not possible to achieve without proper planning. Thus, planning with short-term milestones helps in achieving bigger goals.

Be Specific: Be very specific as to what you want. This will help you in accomplishing exactly what you have planned. Having vague goals leads us nowhere. For example goals like I want to be successful is very vague, if you set something like I want to be successful in engineering field, is the example of a specific goal. Specific goal leads to specific plan and thus moves us closer to our goals.

Measure progress: we can know the distance traveled and the left out the distance which helps us in measuring our progress. Measuring our progress is very important so that we can estimate the exact time period required to cover the rest of our journey. When we measure our progress we can feel the success of achievement of our goals. For example, if want to complete a training program in 30 days then I have to allocate time so that the particular training module is completed in the specified time. If I am running short of time, i have to make adjustments to my schedule so that I can complete my program on time. This helps me in measuring my progress after one week or 15 days and helps me in estimating the time period required to covered the rest of the work.

Start with just one goal – Accomplish one goal then head on to next. If you plan thousands of goal and try to accomplish all of them at once it will get difficult. You will not be able to keep track of any goal and your chances of failure increases. But if you start with just one goal before you get efficient accomplishing goals, you are more likely to be successful. So it is always better to start with one goal and then another to gain full satisfaction and success.

Schedule time for your goals – Give a specific time schedule to your goal so that you have a time frame in mind to achieve your goal. For example if you are overweight and you plan to go to the gym every day for 2 hrs, you will successfully achieve it. But if you say I will go to the gym every day you may or may not be successful in hitting the gym every day. Therefore proper scheduling of goals is very important in gaining success of goals. A specific amount of time. If you can specify the exact time of the day it will be great. For example going to gym in the morning from 8 AM – 10 AM. This will keep you on the schedule you might get deviated few days in a month but the rest of the time you will be on schedule.

Set goals you actually want to achieve – Set goals which are close to your heart. Accomplishing something just to show off or for someone Else’s happiness may cost you a lot in the long run. Set goals which you want to achieve and in which you believe. For example, a person who wants to be an Entrepreneur is less likely to succeed in any job as his heart is in something else. Follow you heart and gut feeling then you will succeed in your goal.

Types of Goals 

There are various types of goals which help us in living a fulfilled life. Smart Goals help us in achieving the pinnacle of success.

Physical Goals – These are goals which help us in maintaining our physical health. As we set goals to achieve success in different spheres of life the same way we plan goals for our body. Goals which maintains us in shape. For example, a person setting goals for himself that he will be losing 10 Kgs in two months time or one month time are an example of physical goals. The time period set to achieve these goals determines the success of our goals because without time goals are meaningless.

Career Goals – Career goals are important as it determines when we want to achieve a certain goal and what modifications to make if a planned goal is not achieved in time. Career goals can be earning 10 lacs per month after 3 – 4 years of starting a Small Medium Enterprise. When the specific goal is not achieved we make modifications to reach our desired goal. A career goal can be continuing higher study after work experience. It can be anything related to our career. Executing a business plan successfully to achieve targets is also an example of a career goal.

Financial Goals – Financial goals are related to our finances. It can be being financially independent at the age of 23 years or so. Investing in mutual funds, retirement plans, Life Insurance Corporation of India, shares etc are example of financial goals where we plan to get economically stable so that we do face money related problems in the long run. We set aside a certain amount of money for our children, our own health, family, child marriage etc. This sets us tension free as we have saved money for all the situations and prepared for any circumstances.

Relationship & Family Goals – Goals which we set for our family like spending 3 – 4 hrs daily with our spouse and children if you are a working mother. It needs to be very very clear as to what you want to do in the personal front. It can be trying to come to good terms with your mother in law if you are suffering from strangled relationship. Maintaining good relationship with friends. Getting less angry and maintaining a positive outlook towards life.

Spiritual Goals – Goals which connects us to our inner most self and God are spiritual goals. Spiritual goals can be doing meditation and puja every day for 15 – 30 minutes so that we feel relaxed away from all tensions and stress of everyday life. Spiritual goals calm our mind and set a higher purpose before us which gives us inner strength and calmness of mind. A bigger and greater connectivity to God.

Social Goals – Social goals helps us in strengthening our relationship with the outside environment i.e the society. It increases networking and improves our self-confidence by doing good work in our field. It feels great when we receive appreciation for a certain work done by us. It motivates us to do even better in the long run. Social goals can be doing something for the upliftment of the society by sharing your knowledge and experience. Setting a primary school in an area where there are no schools. Charging a nominal fee for education. or setting world class school where every student gets a quality education like the school set by Nita Ambani in Mumbai. Contributing to the upliftment of the society.

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