How to Create and Achieve Reasonable Goals: The S.M.A.R.T. Method

Simply setting a goal doesn’t mean that you will actually achieve it. To increase your chances of success, try the S.M.A.R.T. method the next time you have a goal in mind. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Read on for more information about how each of these key elements can help guide you on your path to creating and achieving reasonable goals.

S – Specific
Setting a very specific goal helps pinpoint exactly what it is you want to achieve. Knowing what you want to achieve is vital because planning for success is hard when you don’t really know what you want. When outlining your goal, be specific in what you want, why you want it, how you’ll go about getting it, when you want to get it by, and who (if anyone) may need to assist you along the way. Instead of setting a vague goal (e.g., make lots of money), create a more specific goal (e.g., make enough money mowing lawns to buy a new phone in September).

M – Measurable
It can be hard to know when or if you’ve achieved a vague, unmeasurable goal. If your goal is simply to improve your health, then how will you know when you’ve done enough to meet your goal expectations? Instead of setting an unmeasurable goal (e.g., improve your health), ensure your goal includes easily measurable components (e.g., exercise on the treadmill 20 minutes per day for 30 days).

A – Attainable
It’s always better to set goals where you have a reasonable chance of success. After all, failure to achieve your goals can be very discouraging and might even prevent you from setting other goals in the future. When creating goals, be sure to consider factors like how much time, effort, and money will be required to complete your goal. Use this information to decide whether the goal is actually attainable and if need be, adjust your goal so that you’ll have a more reasonable chance of actually succeeding.

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R – Relevant
How relevant is your goal to you personally? There’s nothing wrong with seeking outside inspiration when hunting for a new goal, but if your chosen goal isn’t really relevant to you or your desires, then completing it isn’t going to feel very rewarding. Just because someone tells you that you absolutely must run with the bulls in Pamplona, doesn’t necessarily mean that running with the bulls is a relevant goal for you. If you feel no connection with your goal, then it’s probably not relevant to you and you’d be better off working toward a different, more relevant goal.

T – Timely
It’s unlikely that your goal will be immediately attainable, otherwise, you’d have already accomplished it. Consider the steps required to achieve your goal and factor in reasonable amounts of time to complete each step. When you have a better idea about a possible timeline for your goal, set a deadline for reaching your final objective. Do keep in mind that because things don’t always go as planned, it’s important to have some flexibility in any deadlines you set for yourself.

Regardless of what goal you have in mind, it can be well worth refining it with the S.M.A.R.T. method. By employing the S.M.A.R.T. method of creating and achieving reasonable goals, you can better define whatever it is you’d like to achieve and fully understand the steps you’ll need to take in order to make your goal a reality. Armed with this new information, you can then decide if your goal is something you’d actually like to pursue.