Setting Goals – Don’t forget the ‘A’ in SMART

Setting goals requires some thought, but it’s worth getting right

Can setting goals really help you?

Well, I was recently asked by someone who suffers with chronic pain how they could motivate themselves to get up from in front of the TV or computer.

This person has a number of hobbies that they enjoy, but can only do them for a short time before the pain flares up.

I thought about this for a while, but actually, the answer was staring me in the face.

If you only have a short time available to do something, set your goals to something you can achieve in that time.

It’s better to be set and achieve small goals consistently rather than to have a really big goal that’s so scary you never make any real progress towards it.

The ‘A’ isn’t there in SMART just so the acronym makes a word.

It’s as important as the other letters.

If your goal isn’t achievable, then, well you can’t achieve it can you!

There is no point in setting goals that can never be achieved.

So make sure that ALL of SMART applies to every goal you set.

Setting goals 

Achieving small goals motivates you to carry on

It’s really good to be able to stop when a goal has been achieved!

You can tick it off the list and move on to the next thing.

At the end of the day, it’s better to have finished what you set out to do.

If you work within your limitations, you’ll get there in the end.

Set your goals according to your limitations.

Make sure your overall goal is SMART

Break your overall goal down into a number of ‘key Stages’, and make sure that you set a SMART goal for each of these.

The break your key stages down into daily SMART goals.

Make sure that none of your daily SMART goals will take more than 1 day to complete. If it does, break it down further!

When you’re setting goals, it’s really important to make sure that you make it possible to achieve at least one goal each day.

Here’s an example of how you might do that.

Imagine your goal is to set up a blog.
This is broken down into 8 key stages.
The first of those key stages is further broken down into a number of daily tasks.

Once the daily tasks in the 1st key stage are completed, do the same for the next, and so on.

setting goals


Time passes anyway

Earl Nightingale said it best – “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway!”

If you start today, in 30 days, you’ll be a month closer to your goal.

If you don’t start, you’ll NEVER get closer!

Setting goals and then going on to take action to achieve those goals is a great motivator, and will help you achieve whatever you want

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One thought on “Setting Goals – Don’t forget the ‘A’ in SMART

  1. Paul Wallace

    June 13, 2017 at 8:13pm

    Hi Carl,

    Really like your SMART mind map and it would be a great way to set SMART targets for sure.

    When you talk about achievable goals and time limits, I have to say this is when setting goals within goals is key. Breaking down your objectives using a tool like your mindmap can really help to make them achievable.

    I also read an article you wrote via P2S about study skills which I found interesting, but could not find here on you blog so I will leave this link to Leicester Uni relating to Honey and Mumford as I thought it would of interest to you.

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