What Are the 5 SMART Goals?

goal setting smart goals success formula Feb 23, 2022

It's essential to set goals to achieve success in anything. But not just any goals - SMART goals. What are SMART goals? They are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In this blog post, we will discuss what each means and give you examples of how to apply them to your own life or business. When you use the SMART goal approach, you'll increase your chances of reaching your targets and achieving the success you desire.

The SMART goal framework

SMART goal setting is a way of creating goals that follow each of the letters in the acronym: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. When you create SMART goals, you follow a specific framework based on the five letters of the acronym. Goals that follow the SMART framework have a higher chance of success since they are more structured and well-thought-out compared to making vague goals like the following:

  • I want to be rich
  • I want to be healthy
  • I want to be better
  • I want to be happy
  • I want to be admired

Vague goals sound more like wishes or dreams. It's not clear how you are going to achieve them. When your goals are unclear, you become more prone to not fulfilling them because you don't know what to do to achieve them. SMART goals require planning and ensuring they are within your capabilities to achieve them. For example, you can have a SMART goal saying:

"I want to retire by the age of 60 and have a savings of $500,000. To do that, I want to save $1,000 per month and do side gigs to complement my income."

Specific - Specific is very self-explanatory in the SMART acronym. You have to put details about what you want to achieve. In our example, some indicators serve as clear targets for you to achieve: retire at the age of 60, save a specific amount of money by then ($500,000), and the activities you would do on a smaller scale to help achieve your long-term goal, having a specific amount of monthly savings ($1,000) and doing side gigs. You can break down your targets even further if you want. Having clear targets for your goals makes it easier to work hard because you know what you have to achieve.

Measurable - Setting SMART goals means making sure that you can quantify the results of your accomplishments, and some things can serve as indicators of your progress. Using our example again, it's a goal that you can easily track progress due to its financial nature. You have a monthly target for savings, so you can keep track of how much money you are saving at the end of each month. Then, by the end of a year, you can see whether you are hitting close to your annual target of savings. If you are not hitting your targets, you can course-correct your actions and make adjustments since you have visible gauges that show if you are making progress.

Attainable - Looking at the $500,000 amount in our example, it might look like a staggering amount and can make you question whether the goal is possible to achieve. However, if you make this goal when you are 30 years old and plan to start it right now, the goal will fall into the realm of being attainable. So let's do some math here.

Let's say your monthly salary is $7,000. Your monthly expenses total around $6,000, including bills, daily necessities, and some purchases for leisure, and that leaves you with $1,000 more or less for savings each month. Multiply $1,000 by 12, and you have around $12,000 for savings each year. If we multiply $12,000 by 30, we have $360,000 in savings by the age of 60. Now, this is just for the basic pay of your job. Bonuses, salary increases, and job promotions are not even counted yet. And then, if you are doing a side gig, which you started while you were 30 years old, it can add even more money to your savings. Let's say you are earning $400 monthly on your side gig, multiply it by 12, and you get $4,800 each year. Finally, multiply $4,800 by 30, and you get $144,000. Add $144,000 to $360,000, and you get $504,000 by age 60. Assuming no major setbacks put a dent in your target savings, the goal is attainable. And even if problems do occur, you can always make adjustments and put effort since your end goal is clear.

Relevant - One reason SMART goals can work well for you is to set goals pertinent to your values and the things that matter to you. If you value financial freedom and security and gain peace of mind after retirement, the example we stated can make great sense to you. You will feel more inclined to settle debts and avoid haphazard decisions that can ruin you financially, and you will also be wiser in how you spend your money for the sake of gaining greater satisfaction later in your life. It's easier to focus and work hard on a goal that's relevant to you, thereby increasing the chances of success.

Time-bound - When you know that you can achieve a goal within a specific time frame, it's easier to get motivated and put in the effort knowing there is a deadline for achievement. In our example, you have the long-term target of achieving what you want by the age of 60. Before that, you have your annual and monthly targets for savings. You have milestones for hitting specific targets, so you know what you should have accomplished by a particular time. When a goal is time-bound, it becomes a realistic goal because you don't end up with a dangling target that you don't know when to achieve.

Setting SMART goals are effective.

When you set goals using the SMART formula, your chances to succeed become higher. However, just because you have set SMART goals doesn't mean you will automatically gain success and achieve whatever goal you desire. The goal-setting process is only the first part; the second part is hard work to make sure you hit your goals. SMART goals help put structure in your plans while taking action to make sure you accomplish what you have set.

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