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What Are SMART Goals?

Have you ever heard of SMART goals? If you are not familiar with the concept, it can be easy to fall into the trap of setting goals​ that are too vague or unrealistic. That is where SMART goals come in. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. In this article, we will break down what each of these components means and why they are important for setting effective goals.


Specific​ means that your goal should be clear and precise. You should be able to answer questions like “What exactly do I want to achieve?” and “Why is this goal important to me?” A vague goal like “I want to get in shape” is not specific enough. A more specific goal would be “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months by going to the gym 3 times a week and eating a balanced diet.” The more detailed​ and specific your goal is, the easier It will be for you achieve it.


Measurable​ means your goal should be something that you can track and measure, which helps you stay accountable​ and motivated. Continuing with the fitness example, you can measure your progress by tracking your weight and body fat percentage. By having specific metrics to track, you will be able to see whether you are making progress toward your goal or if you need to adjust your approach to achieve better outcomes.


Achievable​ means your goal can be challenging, but it has to be realistic. If your goal is too easy, you might not feel a sense of accomplishment​ when you complete it. In contrast, if your goal is unrealistic, you may lose motivation​ due to a lack of progress. What matters is that you find balance – the sweet spot. For example, if you have no running experience, setting a goal to run a 5K marathon in two months may not be realistic; a more achievable goal would be to run a 5K marathon in four months.


Relevant means your goal should be applicable to your overall aspirations​ and values. You want a goal that aligns with your long-term vision, ensuring that whatever steps you take will move you one step closer to success. If your goal is not relevant, then you are likely to achieve results that have no meaningful benefit to you. For example, if you are not interested in learning a new language, setting a goal​ to become fluent in French may not be relevant to your life.


Timely​ means your goal should have a specific deadline. This helps create a sense of urgency​ and provides you with a manageable, trackable timeframe. Without a deadline, it’s easy to procrastinate​ and lose motivation. For example, setting a goal to lose 10 pounds “eventually” is not time-bound. Setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in the next three months gives you a clear-cut time to work with.

As you can see, the SMART framework is highly effective for reaching obtainable goals. While accomplishing them may not always be easy, setting SMART goals​ is the best way for you to achieve substantive solutions that align with your values, professional endeavors, and personal dreams.

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