How to Set Powerful SMART Goals Within 5 Minutes

The SMART goal setting structure is a powerful tool that you can use to make your goals more effectively. It’s a very simple way to make your goals more meaningful. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

I recommend you to find out why you need to set goals before continuing to make them SMART.

Now you’re ready to make your goal SMART. If you follow the short process you’ll have some high-quality goals within 5 minutes.

What kind of goals can you make SMART?

Any goal you’ve got should be SMART. This includes goals in your career, finances relationships, and personal development. You can manifest anything in your life if you’ve got clear goals that drive you forward.

Smart Goal Example

To illustrate the whole SMART goal setting structure, we’re taking this simple example.

Let’s say that you’re trying to lose some weight. In this case, losing weight would be your goal.

But this goal isn’t clear enough on its own. You’re lacking crucial elements to make the goal effective. Together we’re going to make this goal SMART.

SMART Goals – Specific

Losing weight is an undefined goal. What this means is that If you would go to the toilet right now and pee, you would achieve your goal.

It’s needless to say that this isn’t the kind of goal you set out for.

How do you define the goal? You’ve to start by making the goal more specific.

Making a goal more specific isn’t difficult. The question you’ve got to ask yourself is the following: what exactly do you want to achieve and how are you going to achieve it?

Being specific is an important aspect of the SMART goal setting process. If you’re not specific, you won’t be effective.

The more specific you can be in describing your goal, the more likely you’re to succeed.

Example – Losing Weight

How can you make this a specific goal? The first step is easy and it’s to think about a number.

Let’s say that you’re 220 pounds (100 kg) and want to lose 40 pounds (18 kg) then your goal is to get to 180 pounds (82 kg).

That’s already much more specific than before. But how are you going to get there?

Being specific also means to create a plan. You decide that you’re going to jog every day for 20 minutes in the morning, and you decide to eat smaller amounts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There is one big obstacle though. Every Friday you eat out with friends. You don’t want to skip this, because it’s a great social event. Instead, you’re going to skip breakfast on this day.

Now you’ve got a specific goal and a plan to get there. You’re on your way to setting a SMART goal. You’ve decided exactly what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it.

SMART Goals – Measurable

Measure Goals To See Where You are

You need to measure your goals to navigate yourself to your desired outcome. It’s great to have a clear destination and knowing how to get there, but you’ve to make sure to stay on track.

Let’s say that you’ve booked a hotel for a week. You plan the route to get there, get in the car and start driving.

At some point, the roads start to look like each other. You start to doubt yourself and you wonder if you’re still on the right road?

You need to measure if you’re still on track. Maybe you’re thinking: “does this person not have a GPS device?” It’s a silly example, but realize that a GPS also measures where you are.

Measuring your results is super important. It keeps you focused and it can increase your motivation levels when you see that you’re on the right track.

Example – Losing Weight

You decide that you’re going to measure yourself on a scale. You’re going to do this every Sunday morning. You also decide that you’re going to measure your body fat percentage.

SMART Goals – Attainable

Your goal must be attainable. This means that you need to look at your goal in a realistic way.

It’s great to set big goals for yourself but make sure that you don’t set goals that are going to discourage you down the track.

While your vision in life can be unrealistic and big, you should keep your goals achievable but slightly outside of your comfort zone.

Figure out what you need to change to achieve your goal. Do you’ve to learn new skills? Do you need to change your beliefs?

Try to break the goal down into smaller steps and see if each of these steps are achievable.

Example – Losing Weight

If you set the goal to lose 40 pounds, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to achieve this within 2 weeks. This isn’t an achievable goal.

But what if your goal is to lose 40 pounds over the next 10 weeks?

If you break this down, it means that you’re going to have to lose 4 pounds (1.8 kg) every week. This is achievable but you’ve to stretch outside your comfort zone.

You want to start jogging so you buy a book about jogging, so you learn the basics about jogging. You also read that you need to buy a pair of running shoes to prevent injuries.

SMART Goals – Relevant

Did this ever happen to you? You set out an amazing goal for yourself, but you fail to stick through?

Most likely the reason for you to set this goal wasn’t clear for yourself. Your desire wasn’t strong enough.

It’s important to understand why your goal is important to you. How is this goal relevant to your life? What are you trying to achieve with this goal?

Understanding the reason why you set the goal in the first place, can help you through tough times. It can be the difference between achieving your goal and giving up.

Let’s take this to our example.

Example – Losing Weight

Your friends are going for a hike in the mountains every Sunday. You’re never able to join them due to your level of fitness. You know that if you would lose some weight, you could join your friends.

Or what about this amazing girl. You feel so attracted to her. You know that she likes you but she loves the outdoor life. She wouldn’t commit to a relationship, because you’re values aren’t aligned.

Would this be a good motivator for you to achieve this goal?

These are 2 solid reasons for you to get through your goal.  Even in tough times.

SMART goals – Timely

Goals are most effective when you set a time frame.

Time frames stimulate you to keep working and also help you to stay focused. Because of this, you’re less likely to procrastinate and procrastination is a big reason why people give up on their goals.

If you don’t hit your goal this week, it becomes hit your goal for the month. If it becomes harder to hit your goal this month, it becomes even harder to reach your goals for this year.

Set a time frame for yourself and act today to get closer to your goal.

Example – Losing Weight

We’ve already decided that we’re going to lose 40 pounds in 10 weeks. If you wouldn’t set 10 weeks as the time frame, guess what would happen?

You would do great the first 2 weeks.

In the 3rd week, you decide that you can eat the normal amount of food on Monday because you’ve done well.

On Tuesday you think it wouldn’t harm too much to do the same thing. After all, you did well for 2 weeks.

You’re standing on the scale at the end of week 3 and you can’t believe what you see. You’re back at your starting point.

It’s important to make your goal timely. Set up a realistic timeframe for your goal. Then break it up into smaller goals with smaller time frames.

SMART Goals – Bonus #1 Write It Down

Writing down goals on paper

These goals aren’t going to be helpful if you don’t write it down. Writing down your goals is going to help you to stay on track.

Writing your goals down prevents you from changing the goals unconsciously.

You tell a story to your friend, who then tells it to their friends. Weeks later someone you know asks you if the story is true.

You’re surprised and ask them what story they’re talking about. They tell you the story and you understand that’s the same story, but it’s not the same at all!

I’m sure this happened to you before and you know that this wouldn’t have happened if you had written down the story instead of telling it.

There’s also something magical happens when you pen hits the paper. Written goals have been much more effective for me.

Make sure to review your goals every day to implement them into your brain.

Example – Losing Weight

Let’s write it down:

Specific – I want to lose 40 pounds in 10 weeks. I’m going to do this by eating less food and I’m jogging every day for 20 minutes. I allow myself to enjoy my dinner on Friday when I eat with friends, but I won’t eat breakfast in the morning to make up for that.

Measurable – I’m going to measure myself with a scale every Sunday morning. I’m also going to measure my body fat percentage every Sunday morning with a body fat clipper.

Attainable – It’s an achievable target and I’m going to buy running shoes today. I’m going to buy the body fat clipper as well.

Relevant – I want to be able to go into the mountains with my friends every Sunday for a hike. I’m also increasing my chances of dating that girl because she’ll see that we share the same values.

Timely – I set out to do this in the next 10 weeks. This means that I’m going to lose 4 pounds of body fat every week.

Bonus: Reward – I’m going to reward myself every week if I hit my goal of losing 4 pounds. I’m allowing myself to have my favorite ice cream if I hit this weekly goal.

SMART Goals – Bonus #2 Accountability

Accountability can help you to push you through tough times. Most people are afraid to fail in front of others. You can use this to your advantage.

According to this post, you can increase your chance of success by 95%, if you set an accountability appointment.

Keeping yourself accountable is easier than ever with social media. Put your goal on your social media timeline. Doing this increases the odds of success.

Example – Losing Weight

You decide to post your weight loss goal on social media.

You’ve also noticed that another friend is trying to lose weight. You reach out to this friend and decide to share your progress every week.

SMART Goals – Bonus #3 Celebrate

Congratulations! You’ve set SMART goals and understand how to increase your chance of success. This is already something to celebrate by its own.

When you’ve got a specific goal and break this goal up in smaller pieces, it’s a great first step.

But reaching goals is difficult. Celebrating your small successes is important for you to achieve your big goal.

Celebrations tell your mind that you’re currently on the right path.  If you’re going to do everything on willpower, you’re much more likely to give up.

Example – Losing Weight

You love the desert you’re eating every single night. You’re thinking about how hard it’s going to be to give up your favorite dessert.

But what if you don’t have to?

Make this desert your motivation for reaching the smaller goals.

If you’re able to lose 4 pounds by every Sunday, you allow yourself to have that dessert.

Don’t approach this in a way where you don’t allow yourself anything. Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite things, but use them as an incentive to reach your goals.

Key Points

Set SMART goals to increase the chances of your success. SMART stands for:

Specific – what exactly do you want to achieve and how are you’re going to get there?

Measurable – everyone uses a GPS on the road to get to an unknown location. Why not for goals? What gets measured, gets done.

Attainable – it’s good to dream big but if your goals are too unrealistic for the time frame, you’re more prone to give up.

Relevant– is this goal something that suits your bigger picture in life?

Timely – set a deadline for yourself. This keeps you working towards your goals and protects you from procrastination.

You’re now able to make your goals SMART. In addition, I’ve given you some extra tips on reaching your goals:

Write it down – people that write their goals down are much more likely to achieve their goals.

Accountability – find an accountability partner and increase your chance of success by up to 95%.

Celebrate – enjoy the small successes and celebrate them. This motivates you to keep going.

Congratulations! You know everything you need to know about setting SMART goals.

Don’t forget that setting goals are only the first step. Without action, you won’t succeed.

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  1. pierre April 13, 2018 at 6:34 am

    mooi voorbeeld Mick, best wel herkenbaar ;]]

    1. Mick de Boer April 17, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Thanks 🙂 good to hear!