How to Set SMART Goals

Video Transcript

Use the SMART acronym to set goals and stick to them!

Welcome to Mind Tools' video learning series.

How often do you set goals for yourself that somehow end up falling by the wayside? Chances are, you set out with great intentions and loads of enthusiasm. But then, all of a sudden, you lose track of your goal. Perhaps you got distracted by the pressures and demands of daily life and work. Or, maybe your goal was so overwhelming that you just didn't know where to start.

If you're serious about achieving your goals, though, you can increase your chances of success by making them SMART.

This means that your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • and Time-bound.

Let's look at each of these points in turn.

First, your goal should be specific. Be precise. Ask yourself: "What do I want to accomplish?" "Why is this important?" "Who is involved?" "Where is it located?" "What resources will I need?" "And, what restrictions might I encounter?"

Next, your goal needs to be measurable. If you're going for a promotion, for example, what training courses will you need to pass? How long will these take? And what length of experience will you need in your current role? Setting concrete objectives and deadlines like this can help you to measure your progress, and stay focused and motivated.

Thirdly, make your goal achievable. Your goal should stretch your abilities, but it should also never be out of reach. Ask yourself: "How can I accomplish this goal?" and "How realistic is it?"

Then, examine whether your goal is relevant. Make sure that it matters to you and to your organization. Ask yourself: "Is this goal worthwhile?" and "Is this the right time?"

Finally, make your goal time-bound. Set a target date to work toward. When you have a deadline in place, it will be easier to focus on achieving your goal, and to keep other, less important tasks from sidetracking you.

When you frame your objectives as SMART goals, you take "woolly" thinking out of the equation, and replace it with clarity, focus and motivation. In short, you make it easier to achieve the things that matter most to you.

To learn more about SMART goals, read the article that accompanies this video.

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