Personal Development

SMART goal – how to use it?

How many times have you decided to renew your gym membership and start working out? Or you promise yourself you will start with the new diet this month. Or start learning new skills? And then reality hits, you get stuck with the day-to-day urgent tasks and find yourself you forgot the goals you put in front of yourself.

So why does this keep happening? Is there a way to hack the system?

The good news there is a way: when it comes to achieving success the most important thing is to define a SMART goal.

This acronym serves as a guideline to shape your goals, making them more attainable and grounded. Using this framework, every goal you set should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Now, let’s delve into each of these components:


The foremost principle for setting a goal is clarity. A well-defined goal should be both precise and unambiguous. To ensure specificity, consider these guiding questions:

  • What is the exact outcome you’re aiming for?
  • Who holds the responsibility for realizing this goal?
  • Which actions or steps are necessary for its achievement?


Q: What’s my desired outcome?

A: I aim to read 50 books centered on business and management.


Once you’ve defined your goal, it’s crucial to ensure it can be tracked. As Peter Drucker insightfully put it, “What gets measured gets managed.” If you can’t track your progress, how will you know you’ve reached your goal? It’s important for SMART goals to be quantifiable, allowing you to monitor your progress and maintain motivation.

To set a quantifiable goal, address these points:

  • Define the amount or number you’re targeting.
  • Determine the metrics or units to track your progress.
  • Envision the exact outcome you desire upon achieving the goal.


Q: How many pages do I intend to read daily?

A: My target is a minimum of 20 pages each day.


Having outlined a clear and quantifiable goal, it’s pivotal to ensure it’s within reach. You don’t want to set yourself up for frustration or disappointment. Ask yourself:

  • Is this goal within the realm of possibility?
  • What strategies or steps will I implement to reach it?


Q: Can I realistically read 20 pages every day?

A: Absolutely, I consistently have free time after 5 pm daily.


While many aspirations might flit through our minds, not every goal deserves your energy and time. It’s crucial to select goals that will genuinely enrich your life, career, or surroundings. Streamline your objectives, focusing on those with profound and lasting significance. Evaluate the relevance of your goal with questions such as:

  • Why does this goal matter to me?
  • What drives my desire to achieve it?
  • Will it add value to my life or career?


Q: Do I genuinely value reading 50 business-related books?

A: Absolutely. This endeavor will broaden my expertise and refine my management competencies.


So far you defined a specific and measurable goal, and you did make sure it is realistic and worthwhile. Great! However, there is one important element you have to add to this equation – time. Without time, your little goal stays just a wish or an idea. And ideas get lost and forgotten if you don’t bind yourself and specify a time frame to execute your goal. The good questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is the deadline for this goal?
  • What can I do in one day, one week, a month?
  • When do I want to accomplish this goal?


Q: When do I want to accomplish this goal?

A: I want to achieve this goal in the next 12 months.

Let us make a story from our example:

I want to read 50 books about business and management which can improve my management skills. I have plenty of time after 5 pm, and I will read at least 20 pages per day in the following 12 months.

This is a perfect goal that includes all elements of the SMART goal.

By this time, there has been an upgrade to this model in the form of the SMARTER goal. The SMARTER goal includes all the previous elements with the addition of Evaluation and Readjustment, which can improve a primary model.


Once you dive into accomplishing your goal, the good practice is to step back occasionally and evaluate your progress. This is crucial for long-term goals that can be easily disregarded if are not tracked properly.

Let us look at our reading example.

You have a goal to read 50 books in the next 12 months, however, after one month you figure out that you have read just 2 books. Considering that information you realize that this pace will bring you far from your goal of finishing 50 books in one year. This information brings us to the next step – Readjustment.


If your goal is not developing according to plan it is time to readjust the previous action steps and to review what happened that put you off track. Did you miss some deadlines? Is your goal still relevant to you? Is it achievable?

Once you get the answers to these questions, you can readjust your next moves and maybe break your goal into a few small milestones and track their progress separately.


Remember – A good plan needs to have all these crucial components to be brought to realization. If you miss any of the elements your plan is stuck forever in a phase of an idea and it is usually left forgotten. Even a good idea is nothing without a proper plan and strategy that supports its realization.

So, start planning SMART!

Other BlueGrid blogs can be read here.

Aleksandra Dabic

Aleksandra Dabic

I specialize in aiding IT organizations in their growth journey by formulating expansion strategies, overseeing recruitment initiatives, and cultivating a workforce specifically attuned to fueling business growth.

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