Why SMART goal setting works

Smart goal setting sets the boundaries from which to roll out your goal setting program. Without knowing your personal basics of SMART goal setting, the end result won’t materialize.

Goal setting in general is not a remedy or magical solution to your problems. The biggest trap of goal setting is just to simply set goals and take no action. This, in short, will not produce the results you dearly want.

But what goal setting does give you is an effective motivational tool by which to keep focused on what you are wanting to attain.

What does SMART goal setting stand for?

I'm sure you've read it all before.......


1. Specific.

Goals must be specific otherwise your subconscious programming will not understand which direction you want to go.

You can't afford to be wishy washy with your goal setting.  A good goal setting program will really help you set out your goals, as well as focus your mind on the task in hand.

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Let’s take an example of a car – what make, model, colour, year, automatic or manual.

If you don’t specify these things then I promise you’ll end up with something else – it might be close to your goal, but it won’t be exactly what you want.

Working on the principles of smart goal setting you will then have an easy goal setting program to follow. In Locke and Latham’s research done in the 1960’s they discovered that time after time Managers and employees knew what the “general” goal was and where they were headed, but when they were told exactly what was required of them, they finally carried out the action necessary. BE SPECIFIC.

2. Measurable.

What do I mean by this? This is where the goal setting worksheet comes in very handy – you constantly need to be updating and adjusting your short term goal posts because over time you’ll find you achieve certain aspects of your goals quicker than others or vice versa – and by being able to measure your goals in this way, you’ll find the process of goal setting a whole lot easier.

Goals change constantly, and there is nothing wrong with setting goals and objectives to then switching goals.  This is why you always need to measure your goals.

Ask yourself

  • Are they the correct goals for my circumstances
  • Are they personal goals that I can keep
  • What goal setting resources should I be using to make sure these goals materialise

3. Attainable.

Don’t let it be a goal that you know is so far out of reach you haven’t got a hope of attaining it. And make sure you keep focused. What happens if it’s too big a goal? You give up. Easy goal setting is about making your life more enjoyable, at the same time as striving for something you really want. You definitely need to be stretched, but not so much that you give up at the first hurdle you come across.

Again, your goal setting process can be measured by having a program in place where you can see and alter your goals as necessary.

4. Realistic.

Do you have a reaslitic goal or is it just pie in the sky?

You need to work out a plan for how you’re going to reach your goal - and this plan will make sure that it is realistic. Goal setting templates help hugely with this task , as you can begin to chart your course of action.

It's very easy to come up with a goal that is totally out of reach, but because you're so excited about it, you see it as something you can achieve.  The problem with this is  that it is so far in the distance you'll only get distracted on the way, unless you have the motivation and inspiration, as well as a workable plan to achieve it.

Therefore, sometimes you have to come down to earth and make sure you set realistic goals.  One step at a time.

5. Timescale.

Finally we will talk about putting a timescale on your goal. Without this you will definitely fail. It makes absolutely no sense to have a goal with no deadline. Without a date you have no commitment to start, or finish.

This is a tricky one as it's a very personal thing.  Only you know how much time you have and how much work you are prepared to put in.  Again, a goal setting worksheet can help with this process.

SMART goal setting takes a bit of preparation, but without these simple basics you aren’t going to get very far in reaching the goals you really desire.

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