S. M. A. R. T. Goal-Setting: What it is, Questions to Ask and more!


It is impossible to NOT set goals. In each area of your life, there is a goal that you wish to achieve in work, business, self-improvement and even your health. The SMART method offers direction, motivation, a clear focus, and clarifies what is important in your goal setting.

What is SMART?

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Relevant and Time-Related by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review with the title of “There’s a SMART way to write management’s goals and objectives”. It is usually used on project-management, employee-performance management and personal development. This method is meant for planning projects and achieving goals by helping participants focus on their efforts and increase the chances of achieving a goal.

SMART Goal-Specific

The first and foremost step to achieving your SMART goals is to revise your goals. This is done, as goals that are much more specific have a greater chance of being accomplished than vague ones. You can check how specific your goals are by cross-checking it with the 5W:

Who: Who is involved in this goal?

What: What do I want to accomplish?

Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?

When: When do I want to achieve this goal?

Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?

SMART Goal – Measurable

Not only must your goals be specific, progress must also be measurable. With no criteria to measure your success and failures, you won’t be able to determine whether you are progressing or whether you are falling short of your goals. To determine the measures to your goals, ask yourself:

How many/much?

How do I know if I have reached my goal?

What is my indicator of progress?

SMART Goal – Achievable

Other than being specific, SMART goals must also be achievable and attainable. What is the point of a goal if it is unattainable? What happens is that the goal will keep being a goals that you will never achieve. It might even dampen your mood and make you give up on the more achievable goal. The right thing to do would be to stretch the achievability a bit to make you feel challenged, but not too much that it will be unattainable.

Ask yourself:

Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?

Have others done it successfully before?

SMART Goal – Relevant

Motivation matters a lot when you are trying to achieve a goal. For that reason, you must also make sure that the goals you want to achieve must be relevant to you and your other goals. 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?

Am I the right person to reach this goal?

Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?

SMART Goal – Timely

Timely-a SMART goal must be time-bound with a starting and finishing date. If there is no time limit to your goals, then it loses its purpose. Other than that, creating a time limit creates a sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal. Ask yourself:

Does my goal have a deadline?

By when do you want to achieve your goal?

If you find yourself failing at the goals that you achieve, it might be that it fails on one of the SMART goal rules. What you can do now is rethink and revise your goals, so that it can follow through with what the SMART goals hopes to achieve: success.

Have you implemented the S. M. A. R. T. method on any of your goals? Share your experience in the comment section below!