How to Create a SMART Goal

For goals to inspire us and continue to pull us forward, they need to be designed to be SMART.

The ‘SMART’ goal setting method is a useful goal setting process by which we can clarify our aim and ensure that it is not only what we want but that we can realistically achieve it within our available time frame.

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Ready to put it into action!? Let’s use our 30-Day Healthy goal.

Below are 15 questions that will help us fine-tune our approach and create a SMART attainable goal.


The more specific your description, the bigger the chance you'll get exactly that.

  • What: What exactly do you want to accomplish?
  • Why: What are the reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal?
  • How: What do you need to do to accomplish your goal?
  • Where: Where are you when you’re making progress towards your goal each day? Where are you when you’ve succeeded?

Now simplify your answers into a single statement of your goal that a 6-year-old would understand.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”


Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of your goal. Picture yourself succeeding in your 30-day goal—identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal.

  • How will you know when objective is accomplished?
  • What will you use to measure progress?
  • Are tools to measure your progress readily available? Or do you need to develop new measures, e.g., surveys, focus groups, etc…?

EXAMPLE: I will log of my weight and mood daily; a profile photo weekly; and blood test before/after the 30 days.


Given your resourcefulness, abilities, and available resources, how can you goal change (if needed) to be more realistic and attainable?

Do you have sufficient time to make consistent progress towards accomplishing your goal?

What other types of resources might you need to attain your goal (i.e., technology, space, equipment, etc…)?

EXAMPLE: I can reduce my extended happy hour lunch breaks in order to make more time to get to the healthy club.


Why is your goal significant and relevant?

  • Why is it worthwhile?
  • Why is this the right time?
  • How does this align with other efforts/needs?


Goals should be linked to a timeframe (like our 30 days) because time creates a practical sense of urgency.

  • When will you achieve your goal?
  • When can you expect to see some short-term outcomes?