Write SMART Goals

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The acronym S.M.A.R.T. goals means specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. The concept is often attributed to Peter Drucker and was initially outlined in a 1981 issue of “Management Review.” By taking the time to create the outline, individuals gain a better perspective concerning goals and actions needed to reach their objective. The easily adaptable SMART system can be used for personal life, education, occupational or business pursuits.


Writing the specifics of a goal increases the likelihood that you will follow through and complete the task. When defining the specifics of your objective, consider these six characteristics:

• People involved and necessary to meet the goal
• The desired accomplishment
• Location or locations involved in meeting the goal
• A timeline of events that must be completed
• List the requirements and possible restrictions.
• List the benefits, purpose or reasons to achieve the goal.


By being able to visualize the goal and measure the progress made along the away, you are more likely to stick with the plan, reach or exceed your target dates and experience the joy that each little achievement brings. In this way, you will keep the momentum you need to reach the finish line. In this part of the goal assessment, specify measurable quantities. Consider answering how much? How many? When?


Once desired goals are identified, think about how you plan to achieve them. Put yourself in the right frame of mind. Change your attitude if needed. Consider your present abilities, skills and financial resources. You now have a better picture and begin to see that your goal is possible. By defining each step carefully and establishing a time frame, goals are more attainable. You will likely grow and do what it takes to meet the challenge. SMART goals allow you to see your self-worth and help improve yourself along the way.


To be reasonable, the goal must be something that you are willing and able to obtain. You know your strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. Your goal can be high as long as it is realistic. Sometimes, setting the bar higher makes the end result easier to achieve. Challenges often keep us more motivated. You might also determine realism by gauging your present goal to something you may have accomplished in the past. Whatever goal you choose, make sure that you are able to keep up with your progression standards.


Every goal you ever wish to accomplish must include a time line. Otherwise, there is no need to feel motivated. Once you determine and set a series of completion dates, your mind automatically starts devising the actions needed to make it to the finish line.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Write SMART Goals," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 21, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/write-smart-goals/ (accessed August 19, 2022).