Kevin Ian Schmidt

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Guide

smart goals 2

SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability into your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.

In corporate life, SMART goal setting is one of the most effective and yet least used tools for achieving goals. Once you’ve charted to outlines of your project, it’s time to set specific intermediary goals. With the SMART checklist, you can evaluate your objectives. SMART goal setting also creates transparency throughout the company. It clarifies the way goals came into existence, and the criteria their realization will conform to.

Understanding SMART Goals

Specific goal

Specific goals are able to be accomplished easier than a general goal.

A good way to set a specific goals is to answer the six “W”s: Who, What, Where, Which, When, Why.

  • Who: Who is involved in completion of the goal?
  • What: What is it I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Where am I accomplishing this goal?
  • Which: Identify the requirements and potential constraints
  • When: When is it going to be accomplished?
  • Why: Why am I setting this goal?


measurable goal

A measurable goal is a specific concrete criterion towards attaining your goal. Measuring progress is a good way to track progress towards completion, and experience the sense of accomplishment as you hit each goal mark.

An easy way to make a goal measurable is to ask yourself questions like:

  • how many;
  • how much;
  • how will I know when it is accomplished?


achieveable goal

An achievable goal  are realistic and also attainable. While an achievable goal may stretch your understandings in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, since these may be considered meaningless. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an achievable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.

An achievable goal will usually answer the question How?

  • How can the goal be accomplished?
  • How realistic is the goal based on other constraints?


relevant goals

Relevant goals stress the importance of choosing goals that matter and are impactful. A clothing store manager’s goal to “To cook 20 pieces of chicken by 2pm” may be specific, measurable, attainable and time-bound but lacks relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a leading voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization, yourself, will receive that needed support.

A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?
  • Are you the right person?


time based goals

A Time-Based goal stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time-frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps people focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the SMART goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization. A time-based goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.

A time-based goal will usually answer the question

  • When?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?
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So, now you understand SMART Goals, at least a little better.  It is optimal to start setting SMART goals for yourself both within your job and for professional development.

When doing that, there are a few considerations while building the goals for optimal performance.

Align your SMART goals to organizational objectives

Before you set your goals, you should review your company’s and department’s objectives and justify what you can do to contribute to them. Your efforts will only pay of if you know why you are setting the SMART goals and you align them to the wider goals of the company you work for.

This is obviously good for a departmental SMART goal, but is also powerful for a professional development goal. Say your company is lagging in a specific area, that you recognize, and you can develop the skills or knowledge to address it. This is a goal alignment that allows for you to position yourself better professionally, while also helping your department/company.

Ask yourself;

  • Is the goal specific?
  • What am I going to measure whether or not it is achieved?
  • Is this goal truly achievable?
  • Is this goal relevant to the organizational strategy and your job?
  • Did you set a clear deadline for your goal?

Be clear on what success looks like

Do you want your organization to be setting Smart Goals that are very safe and achievable, or do you expect them to be reaching with Stretch Goals? By establishing a clear expectation of what Success looks like within the organization, leaders can actively encourage people to reach for ambitious goals. For example, a clear message that ‘We expect you to achieve 70% of your goals and that is what success looks like. Achieving 100% of your goals is failure and means you set the bar too low.’ is a very strong message.

Continually review and adjust each goal

Things change. Therefore, it is important you regularly revisit your goals and adjust them as you go.


Here are the reasons why you should use  SMART goal setting for your personal development:

o Lead you to the right direction
Many people fail to achieve their aspirations in life because they lack the guide. They don’t have something to remind them or lead them to the right path. Once you use SMART goals, you will have a guardian with you that will guide you every single step of the way. Make sure you have simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals so that you will get exactly what you want in this life.

o Help you stay motivated
It is only normal for one to encounter problems along the way to success. Challenges and problems are parts of our lives as humans and they will not go away. However, there is something you can do about them. SMART goal setting will help you face these obstacles head on. Once you fix your eyes on your goals, you will never go astray. You will know exactly what you want to achieve and have the drive to reach them. You will stay motivated despite the troubles that will come your way.

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SMART Goal Setting Tips

In order to get you on the right track for setting SMART goals, consider implementing some of the following tips to make your journey towards success much easier:

1. Being specific with your goal setting is seen through the strong statements you make about your objectives. An example of setting a challenging, yet motivating goal is to exclaim, “I will move to California by the end of the year to pursue acting,” instead of “I want to be in a movie.”

2. Phrasing your SMART goals in the present tense helps pull you closer towards achieving success. Get out of the habit of saying “I want to” and start saying, “I will.” This will help you approach your objectives in a manner that is more susceptible to accomplishment.

3. Writing down your SMART goals is a great way to clarify your objectives and create a better visualization of the outcome. Some individuals will jot down each goal on a separate index card, which they then review on a daily basis. This serves as a motivating reminder.

4. When you list the benefits you expect to receive out of achieving a SMART goal, this helps to keep you steadfast in your intentions; increases focus; and makes obstacles much easier to overcome. For instance, a person listing the benefits for losing weight may review the positive aspects when they feel a weakness to binge on sweets. The more advantages you are able to come up with – the more motivating the goals will become.

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