Goal Achieved: Setting SMART Goals

By Nicole Norcia Modified on January 30, 2020

Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals will help you succeed.

A graphic with a nearly-filled progress bar reading Goal Achieved, how to make SMART goals.

"New year, new you!"

"2020's the year to become the best version of yourself!"

"Make 2020 your year!"

You've probably heard each of these a billion times, and the year's only just started. Many people see a new year and decade as an opportunity for renewal, enterprise, and the shedding of vices — which means we often create unrealistic goals that never get accomplished.

This doesn't have to be you! In 2020, try adopting SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. By having more focus when creating goals, you're more likely to achieve them.


When coming up with your goals, be as clear and specific as you can. This will make it easier to focus your energy on what you want to accomplish. Break down your goal by thinking about the 5 Ws. What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which resources or limits are involved?


It's important that your goals are measurable so you are able to gauge how well you're progressing towards them. You can track your progress and see where you could improve. By assessing your wins and losses, you'll remain focused. Ask yourself, how will I know when my goal is accomplished?


How realistic are the goals you're setting? The more realistic the goal, the easier it is to achieve. Unrealistic goals are difficult and could threaten your motivation. A goal should be something you need to work towards, but isn't too easy or too far out of reach. Ask yourself, how can I accomplish this goal? And how realistic is this goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?


How relevant is your goal? Does this goal matter to you? How does it align with your other goals? Relevant goals will answer yes to the following questions: does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does it align with my other efforts and needs? If your answers are 'no,' you may want to reconsider your objective in the first place. Goals are easier to achieve when they really matter to you!


Having a date in mind will give you something to focus on and work towards. Ask yourself, when do I want to achieve my goal? What can I accomplish in six weeks? Six months? What can I do today to accomplish my goals?

Taking each of these five factors together will help you meet goals you never thought you'd reach. As you work towards them, remember to reflect on your practice and periodically go through the SMART list to ensure you're on the right track.

To learn more about SMART goals, check out this PDF guide from the University of California.

Good luck!

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