In our lives we all strug­gle with achiev­ing our goals. Some­times we are not spe­cif­ic enough, it “took too long”, or the goals were com­plete­ly unre­al­is­tic. SMART goals are the best way to cre­ate goals that are achiev­able. Whether you are set­ting a goal for your­self, you employ­ees, or your finances be sure to be SMART. SMART is an acronym for Spe­cif­ic, Mea­sur­able, Attain­able, Real­is­tic, and Time-bound. 

Spe­cif­ic: A spe­cif­ic goal has a much greater chance of being accom­plished than a gen­er­al goal. To set a spe­cif­ic goal you must answer the six “W” ques­tions:

  • Who:      Who is involved?
  • What:     What do I want to accom­plish?
  • Where:    Iden­ti­fy a loca­tion.
  • When:     Estab­lish a time frame.
  • Which:    Iden­ti­fy require­ments and con­straints.
  • Why:      Spe­cif­ic rea­sons, pur­pose or ben­e­fits of accom­plish­ing the goal.

Mea­sur­able - Estab­lish con­crete cri­te­ria for mea­sur­ing progress toward the attain­ment of each goal you set.

When you mea­sure your progress, you stay on track, reach your tar­get dates, and expe­ri­ence the exhil­a­ra­tion of achieve­ment that spurs you on to con­tin­ued effort required to reach your goal.

To deter­mine if your goal is mea­sur­able, ask ques­tions such as……

How much? How many?

How will I know when it is accom­plished?

Attain­able – When you iden­ti­fy goals that are most impor­tant to you, you begin to fig­ure out ways you can make them come true. You devel­op the atti­tudes, abil­i­ties, skills, and finan­cial capac­i­ty to reach them. You begin see­ing pre­vi­ous­ly over­looked oppor­tu­ni­ties to bring your­self clos­er to the achieve­ment of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wise­ly and estab­lish a time frame that allows you to car­ry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach even­tu­al­ly move clos­er and become attain­able, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see your­self as wor­thy of these goals, and devel­op the traits and per­son­al­i­ty that allow you to pos­sess them.

Real­is­tic- To be real­is­tic, a goal must rep­re­sent an objec­tive toward which you are will­ing and able to work. A goal can be both high and real­is­tic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal rep­re­sents sub­stan­tial progress.

A high goal is fre­quent­ly eas­i­er to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low moti­va­tion­al force. Some of the hard­est jobs you ever accom­plished actu­al­ly seem easy sim­ply because they were a labor of love.

Time-bound – A goal should be ground­ed with­in a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Some­day” won’t work. But if you anchor it with­in a time­frame, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your uncon­scious mind into motion to begin work­ing on the goal.
Your goal is prob­a­bly real­is­tic if you tru­ly believe that it can be accom­plished. Addi­tion­al ways to know if your goal is real­is­tic is to deter­mine if you have accom­plished any­thing sim­i­lar in the past or ask your­self what con­di­tions would have to exist to accom­plish this goal.

 SMART expla­na­tion from topachievement.com