SMART Goal Setting

Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family and business with expiration dates, and I update them every six months.
— Daymond John, CEO of FUBU and Shark Tank Host

Many people think a goal can be anything from a plan to a dream or wish. And while that’s somewhat true in that you should never limit your dreams or ambitions, the goals you set should also be very intentional. Goals made intelligently have a much higher chance of being achieved than wishy-washy goals. So what is it that you want? What are your milestones for success? Consider the rules for goal setting below:


Goals should motivate you and drive you to work harder. Understand your why and make sure your goals align with your mission and vision. If you are invested in achieving your goal because it has a personal meaning to you, then you’re going to put in 110%. If you don’t have a high interest in the goal, then you might slack off and not put work towards it or abandon it altogether. Commitment and perseverance trumps lofty goals you don’t relate to.


Your time is limited, so follow your own deadlines for achieving a goal. Having a sense of urgency will help you prioritize which tasks to do first and how to best use your time. A good way to make sure you prioritize is to only focus on up to 3 goals at a time, no more than 5! Having too many goals might mean that you’re not devoting enough time to each.


Give yourself room to breathe and to make mistakes. Use reaffirming language like “I will” instead of “I might” when writing down your goals. Keep your goals on paper and nearby so you can always be reminded of what you’re working towards, and don’t be afraid to change your goals either. Progress is progress regardless.


That’s right, SMART is all capitalized because it’s an acronym that can help you remember the key attributes of solid goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. It is a tried and true way of setting thoughtful goals.

  • Specific: which means that the goals are specific with clear steps of how to achieve it

  • Measurable: which means that there are indicators of success that you can measure, like monetary amounts to earn or a date to complete a project by

  • Attainable: which means the goal is achievable, goals should be challenging but not so impossible that you feel discouraged

  • Relevant: which means that the goal falls in line with your mission and vision and brings you closer to your main goal of overall success for your business or organization

  • Time-bound: which means that the goal has a set date for finishing it and for milestones, so you can celebrate little victories along the way

Once you have your SMART goals, you can begin by writing down individual steps towards achieving that goal. You can either print the slides or make your own online copy to reference later on.