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How to set realistic goals (SMART)


Have you ever heard of SMART Goal 1 ? Simply put, it’s a goal-setting system that will enable you to be successful? By utilizing SMART goals, you can simplify your goals and ensure that each goal you are setting is important to you and that there is value in achieving it. SMART is an acronym, and although there are several slight variations, it can be used to provide a comprehensive idea of what an achievable goal should be:


A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To make sure your goal is specific, ask yourself the five “W” questions:

  • Who is involved?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where will this happen?
  • When will this happen?
  • Why should this happen?

For example, a general goal would be “Lose weight and get in shape.” But a specific goal would be “Sign up for an aerobics class at the local gym and participate at least 3 times a week for one month.”


It’s important to establish a way to measure your progress toward achieving your goal. If your goal is to get in shape, perhaps a method of measuring your progress would be to track how many pushups you can do in one session.


When setting your goal, ask yourself if there is anything outside of your realm of influence that could stand in the way. For example, if your goal is to have the members of your basketball team be able to do 50 pushups in a minute, you’ll need to make sure your team is also committed to the goal. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time making it happen.


Set goals that you are able and willing to work toward. While you should always set goals that will challenge you to be better, it’s important to take a realistic approach. For example, if you don’t have any experience with long-distance running, perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to set a goal to complete a triathlon. That doesn’t mean you won’t complete a triathlon in the future! Try setting a goal to run a 5K first, and then build up to the more intense competition. Get more ideas about how to set realistic goals in this blog post.


Give yourself a time frame for accomplishing your goal. Without a time frame tied to your goal, there isn’t a sense of urgency and you’ll be less motivated to make it happen. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, set a realistic date for when that goal could be accomplished. “Someday” won’t work.