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SMART Goals – How To?


Every now and then we craft goals for ourselves; every new year we take a resolution and all the time we procrastinate achieving our goals or we simply do not meet them. Every time we go and speak to someone that we are unable to meet our goals or fulfil our resolutions, we hear a lot of advices.

A common advice I often used to get was to make my goals/resolutions SMART i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Although, I never used to get any advice on how to really make the goals SMART.

I always had following questions –

  • How do I make my goals more specific?
  • Should I detail them, fine-tune them to every single word?
  • What are the right measures for my goals?
  • How can I say that the goals I am planning are really relevant?
  • Why putting a time-box is necessary?
  • Is the time-box I decided good enough for my goal?

If you are also struggling with similar questions, here are few tips that worked for me over a period of time and I have found them extremely useful while crafting a goal.

  1. Making your goal specific:
    • Define your goals always in a positive tone. It should always be something that you would want to achieve and not something that you would want to get away from. For ex: If you are planning to change your job, then instead of stating – “I will resign from my job in next three months”, you could state the same as – “I see myself working for XYZ organization as a consultant earning a package 3 times my current package”.
    • Always ask yourself – “What do you want? or What would you rather have?”
    • Make your goals compelling; motivating so that they drive you towards achieving them.
  2. Make it measurable:
    • Determine how would you know that the goal has been achieved?
    • Define you success criteria. In the above example – 3 times my current package – is a success criteria; thats how I can measure if I achieved my goal.
  3. Goal needs to be achievable:
    • Do not define vague goals or goals that are humungous in definition.
    • Break down the goals in smaller, short-term, specific chunks so that they are easily do-able. For ex: To cultivate a habit of reading books if the goal is defined as “I will read 5 books every month”, it could be a huge ask for someone who is starting off; instead I would suggest to define the goal as “I will read 10 pages of a book in an hour every day”.
    • Identify and determine any resources that would be required to achieve the goal.
  4. Relevant goals:
    • The context within which the goal is stated is very important. You cannot define a personal goal in a professional context. Your professional goal needs to be aligned with your organization’s needs else it will not matter.
    • The goal needs to self-initiated and maintainable. It should not be dependent on external factors. For ex: I want to get married in next two months. This goal is highly dependent on an external factor – the person who would be ready to get married. Instead, this goal could be re-structured to – I will ensure that I am always well groomed and prepared so that I can present myself as an eligible spouse.
  5. Goals need to be time-bound:
    • Goals need to be time-bound else we end up in student syndrome i.e. doing a planned procrastination.
    • Do not define goals that are long term.
    • Create smaller goals and smaller time-lines.
    • Your goals should be like – “If I do not wake up tomorrow, what would I like to achieve today”.


Defining your goals in a specific, well formed manner is the first step towards achieving them. I believe above tips could be useful to get started. If you are having challenges in defining your outcomes; I am more than happy to do “free” goal setting session with you. Connect with me.

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