Make Your Goals Smart with the SMART Method

Our life requires making decisions constantly. It can be small routine tasks or grand choices which define our future. Setting goals may look like the easiest thing in the world, but if you want to succeed, you need a system which can help you set clear and achievable goal.

Illustration of person thinking on tasks list beside whiteboard

S. M. A. R. T. also may sound like just an adjective, but it can be very helpful when it comes to making decisions. This is your imaginary plan or simply number of characteristics you need to have in your goal to get a desirable result.

What are SMART Goals

SMART goal format is a tool to create objectives that will improve the chances of succeeding in accomplishing it. SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

By defining each of these aspects as they relate to a goal, you can greatly increase chances of success within a certain time frame. This approach eliminates vagueness and guesswork, providing a clear timeline for your goals and increase productivity. It also makes it easier to track your progress and pinpoint where you may have missed a milestone.


If your goal is unclear or it seems to be a general phrase — unfortunately, achieving it is going to be way harder. Instead of “read more books” try to go with “read 3 sci-fi books in a month and make at least 1 review”. You need clarity and narrow focus because this is the only way to know what to do next.


Measurable means that you need to use some metrics, applicable specifically to your decision. Set it directly into your goal, and in the end, it will be much easier to understand your efficiency. You can also track your progress during all the time of realization, which is very important as much as specifics.


Sometimes you can’t do more than your best, so you need to understand realistically what your goal is. It is going to help you when you’ll have to prioritize your resources, especially time. For example, the goal “become an expert in mechanical engineering in a month” for a person who knows nothing about engineering doesn’t seem implementable. You’d better come up with “take an online course about mechanical engineering for a month” – it seems to be more achievable and real in your present conditions.


Your goal has to conform with your understanding of success and bring you closer to accomplishing it. Ask yourself every time making decisions, if it's really worth your time and energy, or maybe you can do something more useful in the long-term.


Also, you have to be time-oriented while making decisions. Create a timeline for your goal and try to stick with your plan. In this case, time will be the agent which is going to help you with the implementation of your purpose. It is important not to forget about your capabilities, and to form your timeline with a view to your strengths and weaknesses. If you will set up deadlines wisely, you won’t have to worry about missing out.

How to Set SMART Goals

The key is to focus on each of the SMART goals acronym and make sure that your goals align with them.

We suggest you try out two ways of setting SMART objectives that will help you to set up clear and achievable goals:

Follow the SMART steps

That means that you write a specific goal for each of the SMART elements. Here's an example of SMART goals related to learning a new language:

Specific: I want to learn Spanish so that I can speak with my coworkers who are native Spanish speakers.

Measurable: I will track my progress by taking a language proficiency test every three months to see how much I've improved.

Achievable: I will set aside 30 minutes each day to study and practice speaking Spanish, and I will attend a language class once a week to supplement my learning.

Relevant: Learning Spanish is relevant to my personal and professional goals, as it will allow me to communicate more effectively with my coworkers and potentially open up new career opportunities.

Time-bound: I will achieve a B1 level proficiency in Spanish within one year, as measured by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Use the SMART formula

For those who want to see one specific goal, we adapted a formula that includes the usage of SMART goal elements. So a SMART-goal statement might look like this:

The goal is to [quantifiable objective] by [specific period or deadline]. To track the progress I will use [choose the metrics or ways to measure it]. I will achieve this goal by [specific steps to accomplish it]. Accomplishing this goal will lead me to [result].

And an example of using the formula related to the situation that we mentioned earlier.

The goal is to achieve a B1 level proficiency in Spanish by the end of one year, as measured by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. To track my progress, I will take a language proficiency test every three months and record my results. I will achieve this goal by setting aside 30 minutes each day to study and practice speaking Spanish, attending a language class once a week to supplement my learning, and engaging in regular conversation practice with my native Spanish-speaking coworkers. Accomplishing this goal will lead me to be able to communicate more effectively with my coworkers, potentially open up new career opportunities, and feel more confident and accomplished in my personal and professional life.

Why SMART Goals are Important

Adherence to this system can eliminate some of your previous goals, or completely change them. Perhaps it won't be similar to the starting point, but now you need to return to the "Relevant": how much this goal suits you? Is there any special need in accomplishing it? The SMART method approach helps to achieve your goals more efficiently and with greater clarity, leading to more meaningful and fulfilling outcomes.

Set Your SMART Objectives

Remember that the main point of your decisions is not a form or condition by itself. Setting goals is a meticulous work with your internal desires, with your special attainments and particular background. It is about personal mindfulness in general, and only after that, you should think about techniques you find personally valuable. Consider S.M.A.R.T. as an instrument or a set of criteria you need to follow to create a clear objective decision with a further plan having a simple understandable structure. Make sure that every single feature is obvious in your goal, so in the future, the work process will be more effective and the result will be forthcoming.