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What are SMART Goals

SMART goals are established using a specific set of criteria that ensures your goals are attainable. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.


In order for a goal to be effective, it needs to be specific. That’s why the first letter of this acronym is dedicated to digging into those nitty gritty details.

What exactly does it mean to be specific? A specific goal should answer questions like:

  • What needs to be accomplished?

  • Who is responsible for it?

  • What steps will you take to achieve it?

Thinking through those prompts will help you set a highly-specific goal that not only lays out what you’re aiming for, but also gives any necessary context.


Why is it important that goals be measurable? Well, quantifying your goals makes it that much easier to track progress and know when you’ve reached the finish line.


Goals should be empowering — not high pedestals from which you eventually tumble. That’s why this letter of the acronym is dedicated to ensuring that your goal is achievable (you’ll also often see this letter dedicated to the synonym ‘attainable’).
Put simply, this is the point in the process when you give yourself a serious reality check. It’s important to consider any conditions or limitations that might impede your goal.


Nobody wants to set goals for the sake of setting them. There should be a real benefit attached to actually reaching that target.
That’s what’s meant by ‘relevant’ here. During this step, you evaluate why the goal is actually important to you.  Once you identify that key benefit, it’s helpful to incorporate that into your actual goal.


Goals can’t stretch into infinity – they need a deadline. That’s the important final piece of SMART goals. They need to be time-bound (also frequently referred to as ‘timely’).

This is another important piece of measuring success. You and your team need to be on the same page about when a goal has been reached.