How to write SMART goalsMany people work really hard but they never seem to get anywhere and become frustrated and disheartened. Goal setting is a powerful way to help us get organized and go after what we want in life. It allows us to map out a destination we want to get to, the pathway we need to take to get there and the things we need to achieve along the way.  Learning how to write SMART goals will help you to achieve the life you want.

We can create goals for our personal or professional development. You can set goals to make more friends and become more sociable. Or you can use goal-setting to pursue a new career. Goals also help us to use our time efficiently and effectively. Achieving our short-term goals is a wonderful way to celebrate our successes as we move closer to our long-term goals.

What Are Your Life Goals?

The only way for you to decide what you want in the future and how you’ll get there is for you to know where you are right now and what your current level of satisfaction with your life is. First, you’ll need to take some time to think through your current situation.  Ask yourself whether you’re okay with it or not. Evaluating your current situation gives you an objective way to look at all you’ve accomplished.  It shows you where you are currently, so you can determine where you need to go.

One of the great things that we’ve been given is the desire to dream of a better life and the ability to set goals to live out those dreams. Everyone has dreams. They may be right on the surface, or they might be buried deep down inside of you. Take the time to be quiet and reflect on your dreams and determine how you can accomplish them.

Woman reading Dream Big And Make It Happen on a blackboard

How To Write SMART Goals

When setting goals, they need to be SMART. The word SMART is an acronym that describes the different features you need to consider when writing powerful goals. There is a bit of variation in what the R stands for (relevant or realistic) but regardless they are still powerful, thought-provoking words to help with your goal setting. For this post I have used: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Consider the following questions as you decide on your goals.

* Specific – What do you want to achieve? Why is this goal important to you? Your goal needs to be clear and concise.

* Measurable – Are you able to evaluate how well you are doing? How can you track your progress?

* Achievable – Is this goal realistic? How can you achieve this goal? Is it too big? Should it be broken into smaller goals?

* Relevant – Is this a worthwhile goal? Is this the right time to pursue this goal? Are you ready for it now?

* Time-based – When do you want to achieve this goal by? Establishing a target date helps you to maintain focus and motivation as it gives you something to work towards.

SMART Goal ExamplesHow to write SMART goals

Example 1: Weight loss Goal

I want to lose 11 pounds (5 kilos) in 12 weeks so I can fit into my blue lace dress for my brother’s wedding. My target date is 31 December 2018.

Action Steps: I will achieve this goal by:

  • Drinking water instead of soda.
  • Snack on plain popcorn instead of crisps.
  • Cook all my meals instead of having takeout.
  • Attend an exercise class 3 times a week.
  • Walk to work instead of taking the car.

Specific: This goal is very specific. It says exactly how much weight there is to lose and why the goal is important.

Measurable: Progress can be monitored in two ways: by using bathroom scales and the fit of the blue dress.

Achievable: Losing 11 pounds (5 kilos) in 12 weeks is not unrealistic as this equates to less than one pound (1/2 a kilo) per week.

Relevant: This is a worthwhile goal for the circumstances. This person has an exciting event coming up in only 3 months time and wants to look their best and feel good. They will have a lot of intrinsic motivation to achieve this goal.

Time-based: This goal has a target date so it is a time-based goal.


Example 2: Job Search Goal

I want to find a full-time customer service job in my local shopping district so that I don’t have to travel so far. I want to find a job within the next 9 months so my target date is 1 June 2019.

Action Steps: I will achieve my goal by:

  • Checking and updating my CV/Resume to demonstrate the relevant qualifications and experience I have for this job.
  • Printing copies of my CV/Resume.
  • Registering with online job search websites and checking vacancies daily.
  • Visiting local businesses and leaving my CV/Resume.
  • Spreading my intentions through word of mouth to friends and family by personal contact and via social media.
  • Checking the local newspapers and bulletin boards.

Specific: This goal is specific. It says the type of job required and the location which is important to this person because of travel demands.

Measurable: Progress can be monitored by how many relevant jobs arise, how many job interviews are offered and how many times this person is short-listed.

Achievable: The length of time it takes to find a job varies and depends on many factors such as experience, location, state of the economy and the job market. But if these are generally fine then finding a new job in 9 months is a realistic goal.

Relevant: This is a worthwhile goal for this person as it will be helping to improve their life situation.

Time-based: This goal has a target date so it is a time-based goal.

Tips On How To Achieve Your Goals

Tip 1: Write Detailed Action StepsHow to write SMART goals

A goal by itself is not enough. You need to break your goal down to create action steps. These are the important steps you must take in order to achieve your goal. You can have as many action steps as you like and you can add to them or remove them along the way as new or better ideas come to you.

Tip 2: Form A Support Team

To achieve your goals, you need to have the right support on the journey. You want to tell those people who are supportive and involved in your success, about your goal. They need to have the ability to motivate you when you face doubts or challenges. By sharing your goal, you also hold yourself more accountable to the goals, helping you reach them.

Tip 3: Monitor Your Progress And Tweak Your Action Steps If Necessary

Keep track of your progress. If you are not progressing as well as you would like, look over your action steps and think about what you could change or add to bolster your success again.

Tip 4: How To Stay Motivated

It is easy for anyone to create a worthwhile goal. However, maintaining the momentum and motivation to achieve it is another issue altogether. Be prepared for lapses in your motivation and don’t beat yourself up or give up if you stumble from time to time.

Firstly, figure out a way to celebrate your victories – both the small and big successes. When you celebrate your wins, it can help to inspire you to keep moving forward. Build on the excitement when you succeed, on the positive feedback you receive and the good results you experience. Learn from the experience, make improvements and move on.

Still having trouble staying motivated? Then consider using hypnosis. Hypnosis is a great way to get your unconscious mind working for you by being positive and focused on your goals. Click here to find out more.

Reflect On Your Journey

Take the time to look back and reflect on your journey. Think about what you have achieved and celebrate it. Reward yourself too. Goal setting is a wonderful habit to get into. Not only do you learn from everything that you achieved but you also learn more about yourself. Was that goal easy to achieve or hard? If it was hard then how did you overcome the challenges? You obviously didn’t give up and should be congratulated. Would you have given up in the past? If so, then you’ve made even more progress.

What about the things that weren’t so successful? You can learn lots from them too. Was your goal too big? Do you need to break it down to smaller goals? Are there skills or experience you need first before you can try this goal again? This is all character building stuff so please don’t give up if at first, you didn’t succeed. Go back to the drawing board and try again.





  1. Hi Tanya, thanks for delivering an interesting and very helpful post! I found myself searching through my own smart goals as I was reading. The problem i sometimes have is step number 1. Which is writing a detailed goal, keyword being detailed. I think sometimes many of us write down a one word answer or a less specific goal; and that doesn’t look clear. It leaves a mystery, and doesn’t answer how you’ll get through that road. A support team is necessary because there’s always someone that acts as a mentor or someone that has shown you how to be where you are. As I was reading about the cv resume, it brought me back a week. I had to attend a work source resume builder workshop, in where learning how to update and format a resume. I never really worked on the format, but it does make a huge difference in job searches. I’ll continue to work on that. Thank you for your post!

    • Thanks for your great feedback Michael. I’m glad you’ve found this post helpful. It sounds as if you are putting a lot of thought into goal setting which is great! Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Tanya,

    Excellent post on goal setting. Comes at a great time. The start of the new year where many people make New Year Resolution’s and have problems sticking with it to achieve their goals.

    You’ve outlined the SMART method which can be really helpful in achieving your goals. I will be taking this advice as I plan my own goals for 2019.

    Thanks Tanya.

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