Saturday, March 2, 2024

Your Guide To Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals: Smart Goal Setting Explained With Examples

Do you feel like you’re stuck? Are you not making progress in your life? Perhaps you see a slight improvement in your life or career achievements when you reflect on the last five years. Or maybe you’re having a hard time trying to pursue your ambitions. Well, it all boils down to how smartly you set your goals and objectives. Studies show that people who set SMART experience improved self-efficacy, confidence, and motivation. By using the SMART technique to write goals and objectives, many people have become successful. Keep reading to learn how to set goals and objectives that not only make you feel good but also look attainable.

Just coming up with a goal is easy. The hard part is accomplishing it. This is one primary reason for millions of people who spend their lives drifting from one job to another or trying to accomplish so much.

Still, in reality, they accomplish very little and end up disappointed, overwhelmed, and sad.

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Ever thought about what sets successful people apart from ordinary people? Successful people set up goals and focus on achieving them no matter what challenges they encounter on the journey.

However, regular people give up easily on their goals, especially when they face challenges and setbacks on the way.

It’s a fact; you can accomplish any goals when you have the proper mindset and framework.

So, let’s dig in to find out what SMARTER goals are and how you can use them to achieve your overall objective.

What To Do Before Setting And Writing SMART Goals And Objectives?


The first step before you begin to set SMART goals, its essential to assess your current situation. Examine your past and present situation. It will help you to determine what you want to improve and achieve in your life.

To find your “why,” it would be best to look at your:

  • Weaknesses
  • Strengths
  • Past mistakes
  • Learnings
  • Current environment
  • Mindset roadblocks
  • Existing resources

Once you are clear about your “Why,” you will get the motivation, clarity, better understanding, and know what it will take to set and accomplish your goals.

For example, companies usually conduct regular performance overview meetings to keep track of each project’s targets. It helps them find out what worked and what didn’t to come up with a new plan accordingly.

The Science Of SMART Goal Setting

Several research studies conclude that goal setting restructures the brain and makes it more functional in the process.

  1. The emotional part of the brain, i.e., Amygdala, assesses the intensity of a goal that is important to an individual.
  2. The frontal lobe responsible for cognitive skills determines the distinct needs of set goals.
  3. The amygdala and frontal lobe come together to keep you focused on your goal, overlooking situations and events that don’t align with your targets.

A Brief Explanation Of S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal Setting

SMART goal settings are set while keeping in mind that those goals are attainable within a specific time duration. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound in nature.

Examples of SMART Goal Setting:

  • Specific: I will improve my overall percentage so that I can apply to my dream college.
  • Measurable: I will attain 90% in my class tests.
  • Attainable: I will daily solve three sums from mathematics so that I finish two chapters a month.
  • Relevant: Studying daily with focus will help me enroll in my choice of course in the future.
  • Time-Bound: I will spend one hour daily to complete three important sums from Math.


Once you are done evaluating your situation, then create your goals using the SMARTER goal setting strategy.

1. “S” Stands For SPECIFIC

In SMART goal setting, a goal needs to be specific. You have a higher chance of success when a goal is more precise and manageable.

For example, when you decide to be a professional video gamer, it would help if you practiced hours in front of video games before becoming a professional.

To be a professional video gamer requires you to hone your skills in one game. When you become an exceptional player, you end up earning money by winning competitions.

It’s why we have many people who enjoy video games, but only a few are professional and making money.

In a nutshell, set a specific goal and focus on achieving it. Because it’s the only way to know you’re making any progress

The Don’ts of SMART Goal Setting

Never set vague goals like:

  • I want to be a programmer.
  • Or I want to lose weight.
  • I want to have a successful business.

The Do’s of SMART Goal Setting

Instead, try to include answers to questions like what, who, why, where, etc.

For example, wanting to be a programmer, you can ask:

  • What languages am I to learn to be a programmer?
  • How long will it take to be a programmer?
  • Why am I learning to be a programmer?
  • How often should I practice my coding skills?
  • Where should I focus on learning coding skills?

2. “M” Stands For MEASURABLE

When you set up your goals, ensure it’s measurable. Also, decide on the type of metrics you will use to assess whether you’re making any progress or not.

It’s also essential to continually evaluate your progress to keep you on track.

For example, suppose you want to run a successful business. In the first month, a measurable goal would be to sell a certain amount of product or service and make a certain number of profits.

Always ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much/many?
  • How do I know I have reached my goal?
  • What is my indicator to show my progress?

Once you have the numbers for the first month, you can build and progress to new targets involving higher numbers for the business thereon. Always use numbers or statistics while measuring the progress of your goals.


It’s essential to aim high in your goals. However, you need to ensure that your goals are attainable in the located time frame and using the resources at hand.

Ask yourself these questions for setting attainable goals:

  • Do I have enough resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what is the alternative?
  • Who else has done it successfully?

Having a clear answer to the above question helps avoid feeling overwhelmed and enables you to break down the goal into small but consistent, actionable feasible steps.

By defining achievable goals, you give yourself the room to find out what works best for reaching the set goal based on your metrics.

For instance, you can set up daily, weekly, and monthly targets to see progress in achieving the overall goal.

It will help you retain your motivation and reduce your likelihood of giving up before accomplishing your goals.

4. “R” Stands For RELEVANT

The goals need to be relevant to you and align with your core values. Appropriate plans help you identify what you will do specifically to achieve the set objectives.

Once you set the relevant goals, it’s easy to identify and move towards who you want to be, where you want to be, and what you want to accomplish.

You will focus on things that truly matter to you instead of chasing irrelevant things, therefore, saving time and effort.

It’s advisable to focus on one goal at a time instead of chasing to accomplish multiple goals.

Ask yourself the following questions for setting relevant goals:

  • Does the goal look relevant and within reach?
  • Is the goal reachable, given the time and resources?
  • Are you able to commit until achieving the goal?

5. “T” Stands For TIME-BOUND

Setting a deadline on a goal is a smart way to promote powerful motivation. It creates a sense of urgency and keeps you accountable, so you don’t procrastinate.

It makes the process of planning and executing more straightforward and more organized. Also, it gives you insight and helps you make plans for future goals.

Ask yourself these questions to establish time-bound goals:

  • Does my goal have a deadline?
  • When are you accomplishing your goal?

Once you set a deadline on a goal, you need to check your progress and ensure you’re not staling.

6. “E” Stands For EVALUATIVE

When your focus on achieving your goals, it’s essential to keep in mind there will always be setbacks. You need to prepare and evaluate the process and progress your making; otherwise, you’re likely to give up.

When you evaluate the goals, it helps you to keep you in check. It examines your progress and whether you need to change the process to achieve the overall plan.

Always ask yourself the following questions to evaluate your progress:

  • Goals that I have achieved so far?
  • What didn’t work and why?
  • What can I do without?

7. “R” Stands For REFLECT

When you’re pursuing your goals, be ready to make changes whenever necessary in your SMART goals. Be prepared to make revisions to your process in pursuit of achieving your goals.

To be successful in your goals, you need to be ready to adapt to any new scenarios in your journey.

Successful people like Jeff Bezos, Serena Williams, etc., reach their goals in their careers because they adapted to challenges in their journey and kept pushing forward.

Remember that making changes in achieving your goals should not deter you; instead, it should motivate you to be on track.

How To Take Action In The SMART Goal Setting Framework?

setting smart goals examples-alignthoughts

Once you have a clear idea about the basic framework of SMART goals, it’s time to:

  • take the necessary steps,
  • write down those goals and objectives,
  • and finally, bring them to fruition.

1. Write Down Your Set Of SMART Goals

The first step in setting SMART goals is to write them down. When you write down your goals, it helps to create a vision in your mind. Also, you can envision what you want to be in the future.

A study conducted in 2015 by psychologist Gail Matthews indicated that you have a 33% likelihood of succeeding when you write down your goals compared to those who have plans in their head.

When you have the picture of your goals in your mind, you understand what it will take to achieve them. Therefore, you start having clarity and a sense of purpose in what you do in your life.

Goal-setting apps that will keep you on track:

  • GoalsOnTrack
  • LifeLock
  • Way of Life
  • Strides

You can either download these apps on Android or iOS platforms.

2. Set A Plan For SMART Goals

It’s essential to create a plan while setting SMART goals. Without a proper plan at hand, you have a higher chance of failing in achieving your goals.

A survey by KPMG revealed poor project planning as one of the primary reasons contributing to project failure in organizations.

Have a roadmap and plan each step for your goals.

You need to have concrete plans with details breakdown into smaller, more manageable goals that culminate in attaining your main goal. This also allows you to avoid distractions that usually make you lose focus on your overall end goal.

3. Focus On One Or Two Goals At A Time

You have to concentrate on pursuing one goal at a time in a SMART goal-setting framework.

The Four Burners Theory indicates that you couldn’t be 100% dedicated when you spread yourself thin.

It’s important to limit it to one to two goals at a time to achieve long-term and healthy growth. Therefore, SMART goal setting provides you with more clarity, helps you stay motivated, and enables you to manage time efficiently.

4. Be Accountable


A study conducted by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found that you have a 65% likelihood of completing a goal if you commit to someone.

You also increase your success by 95 % when you have one on one specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed.

When you hold yourself accountable, it helps to keep you in check in pursuing your goals. Also, it will help you to stay motivated in your SMART goal-setting journey.

It helps to guide you ultimately where you want to be in life. Do consider making a pact with someone to hold you accountable.

The Do’s And Don’ts For The SMART Goal Setting Framework

In a nutshell, here are the dos and don’ts while following the SMART goal-setting framework. Keep these in mind whenever you set or write SMART goals and objectives.

The Dos of Setting and Achieving SMART goals:

  • Initially, set small goals while implementing the SMART technique.
  • Tell your goals to a close pal who will help you stay committed to your vision.
  • Visualize yourself daily to achieve those goals.
  • Reflect regularly on the progress you have accomplished so far in your journey.
  • Reward yourself once in a while after attaining specific goals.
  • Practice positive self-talk as they help you boost confidence and keep you motivated in attaining goals, say studies.

The Don’ts of Setting and Achieving SMART Goals:

  • Never wait for motivation to strike you to accomplish your goals.
  • Don’t fill your plate with big goals at once. You won’t ever accomplish them.
  • Refrain from feeling hesitant while seeking help.
  • Don’t succumb to procrastination and bad habits.
  • Never beat yourself up while encountering setbacks.
  • Don’t permit yourself to give up on your journey.

A Word From AlignThoughts,

Achieving a goal takes hard work, commitment, perseverance, and patience. Whether you want to be a professional runner, a good programmer, or just want to lose weight, you should put in the work every day to see positive results.

When you use the SMART goal framework to set your goals, you make it easy to achieve your objectives.

Key Takeaways On How To Set SMART Goals

  • Setting SMART goals is associated with self-efficacy, confidence, and motivation.
  • People who set SMART goals can attain higher levels of success.
  • You can achieve any set of goals if you follow the SMART framework.
  • But before setting SMART goals, you need to assess your current situation.
  • In a SMART goal setting, you have a higher chance of success if the goal is specific.
  • Ensure that your goals are measurable and allow you to keep track of your progress.
  • Attainable goals give you the room to find out what works best for reaching the set goal based on your metrics.
  • Furthermore, your need to set goals that are relevant and align with your core values.
  • Don’t forget to set deadlines for each goal, as it acts as a motivator.
  • Also, studies claim that writing down your goals increases your chances of achieving them by 33%.
  • Never proceed to set SMART goals without creating a plan in hand.
  • Moreover, limit to one to two goals at a time to achieve long-term and healthy growth.
  • Lastly, hold yourself accountable. It helps to keep you in check in pursuing your goals.

What do SMART goals stand for?

SMART goals stand for:

  • Specific Goals
  • Measurable Goals
  • Attainable Goals
  • Relevant Goals
  • Time-Bound Goals

What are the examples of writing SMART goals and objectives?

  • Specific: I will improve my overall percentage so that I can apply to my dream college.
  • Measurable: I will attain 90% in my class tests.
  • Attainable: I will daily solve three sums from mathematics so that I finish two chapters a month.
  • Relevant: Studying daily with focus will help me enroll in my choice of course in the future.
  • Time-Bound: I will spend one hour daily to complete three important sums from Math.

What are SMART goals?

SMART goal settings are set while keeping in mind that those goals are attainable within a specific time duration.

Nihar B
Nihar B
With a decade of experience as a woman in tech, Nihar has worked with a range of companies from Fortune 500 corporations such as IBM, Accenture, Ericsson to H&M Group. Her diverse work-life enables her to share her knowledge to develop, grow, and succeed both professionally and personally in today's ever-changing world.

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