How to Set SMART Goals

By Relebohile Sera

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

You have a goal! What then do you have to do to achieve it? The SMART goal setting method is the most popular method used for goal setting and it has great rewards. SMART is a mnemonic acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realist and Time-Bound.

Below are ways in which you can ensure goals you set are SMART:


Write down your goal in specific terms. Avoid putting down a vague goal like, ‘I want to get a job.’ A specific goal should answer the following questions:

  • ‘Who’ will be involved in achieving this goal?
  • ‘What’ is my goal?
  • ‘Where’ will it take place?
  • ‘When’ do I want to achieve it?
  • ‘Why’ do I want to achieve this goal?


A goal you set should be measurable and you must establish concrete, tangible measures you will use to assess your progress. Instead of an ‘I want to ace this exam’, rather go for an ‘I want to get an A+ on my next exam’. How will you know when you have accomplished it? Set targets dates and milestones along the way to track your progress.


Ensure your goal is achievable. It ought to be possible for you to attain your said goal. Setting unachievable goals is only setting up yourself for failure and disappointment. Develop attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach your goal. That soft skill you want to learn; can you achieve it given the resources you have? Or that YouTube video alone is enough?


Unless your goal is realistic and relevant to your overall plan for your life, accomplishing it may not achieve anything. To determine whether it is beneficial to you, ensure it is worth your time and achieving it will provide positive benefits to your life. The goal should be stretching and motivating but not so big or complex that you will end up losing the enthusiasm to complete it. It should be within the availability of your resources, knowledge and time.


Your goal must have a deadline. If it doesn’t, it will be impossible to achieve it. The time set will also push and motivate you to work hard towards achieving it and provide you with a sense of urgency for completing it. Identify a specific period of time for your goal.

Always set your goals in writing, this way whatever milestone you achieve, you can be able to tick it off as a success.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins


Relebohile Sera (Ms) is a Professional Certified Career Coach. My mission in life is to help people be successful in their careers and to provide coaching for those seeking a new career direction.