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Achieve SMART Goal Through SMART Planning

You may recognize or have previously applied the SMART technique to create goals. SMART goals is an effective planning method that targets specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely objectives aimed to help you successfully achieve your goals. Developing SMART goals can easily be done by concentration on each area, or each letter, of the acronym: SMART.

Specific: According to, asking yourself the 5 big W questions: Who, What, Where, Why, and When is a good place to begin goal setting. Answer each of the big W questions with detailed responses that help you understand the bigger vision of your goal and understand why it is you are motivated to achieve it. Specific goal planning consists of considering the alternative “what if” questions to eliminate the possibility of a better approach to the goal you want to reach. Also, asking the “when” question, forces you to sit down and ponder the logistics of how to get started.

Measurable: Keeping track of how you will make progress towards your goal as well as how you intend to complete the goal are important details to examine. In order to meet your goals, you must break down the steps into mini-goals. From there, think about how you will know that you have met each mini-goal. For example, if my goal is to work out 5 out of 7 days a week, I will dedicate 15 minutes a day to working out. This method ensures when you are aware of meeting your mini-goal to view progress in your journey.

Achievable: Identify any barriers or factors that may hinder you from reaching your goal. Is the goal financially or timely achievable? Do you need extra peer support or investment in certain services? Is the timeline realistic and are the resources you have realistic to achieve the goal? This point should not be overlooked because planning each detail of how to reach a goal ultimately depends on whether the end goal is realistically achievable. A good tip is to review your goal and mini-goals with someone else for them to provide unbiased feedback.

Relevant: Coming back to the question of “why”, ask yourself why you want to reach this goal? Are you looking to personally or professionally develop yourself? Does this goal align with your beliefs or values? When coming to terms with maintaining a goal, the motivation behind the journey is what you need to be reminded of to keep going. Oftentimes, when goals are irrelevant to our values, beliefs, or purpose, we tend to easily give up without putting much effort into the progress. For example, if your goal’s purpose was created by a friend to help them earn their next work promotion, what pieces of the goal actually benefit you? You are more inclined to help them with their goal if both of your goals were aligned and if the goals also positively served you.

Time-bound: What is the timeline for completing your goal? Make sure you set specific, realistic deadlines for completing tasks (the mini-goals) to help you stay on track. Think about when you want to have the goal completed. Where do you see yourself in a week, one month, or three months from now? What changes or progress do you expect to see/experience?

Planning SMART in the long run fosters dedication to your goal because each step is measurable and detailed with the list of items you created to help you in reaching the goal. While the end-goal may seem far out of reach, by breaking down each component of SMART and examining each mini-step or mini-goal that you need to finish first before reaching the end-goal, you will be more motivated and find the journey easier to navigate as each step is relevant to your personal development.


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