Are Your Goals SMART Goals?

SMART goals

Every New Year I ask people if they’ve made a resolution, Most people respond with a resounding, “no!” it’s as if resolutions are dirty words rather than opportunities to create positive change. Goals give you a challenge. They help you to grow, not only as a person but toward the fulfillment of your dreams as well. Everyone has goals—or at least, they should have goals. My theory is that people avoid making resolutions because they have grown frustrated with failing to keep them, year after year.  This year, make some resolutions by making SMART goals.

Before we get to what  SMART goals are, let’s build a foundation. I believe that this foundation is the key to success in any goal you are trying to achieve.

The foundation is your passion!

The first thing you need is a passionate reason to go through all the work that’s involved in reaching your goal(s). After all, if the goal was an easy one, you’d be looking at it in the rearview mirror and moving on to the next one. So, a good question to ask yourself is:

“Why do I want to [insert goal here]?”

Then, brainstorm your answers. Keep your list, because it’s going to keep you going when willpower or any other tool in your goal-achieving-tool-kit seems to be weakening.

Now, you can turn your goals into SMART Goals.

SMART goals are written based on criteria using the pneumonic acronym SMART which stands for the following:

  • S=Specific
  • M=Measurable
  • A=Achievable
  • R=Relevant
  • T=Time

Let’s break this down.

Grab a notebook or start a note on your phone (or another preferred device).

Start with, “specific.” This is where you ask yourself exactly what you want to accomplish. What’s it going to take to get it done? Why is it important? An example is when I wanted to lose weight. I wrote down all the reasons as honestly and completely as possible. It was difficult to be that honest with myself, but it was essential. Your brainstorming from the first step will lead right into this process.

Next, look at how “measurable” your goal is. How will you know that you’ve reached this goal? It’s likely that the goal is big enough to involve several smaller goals. Break it down.

Find a way to measure your progress that is relevant to you. Some people like graphs that they can pin in a prominent place, such as above their desk or on their bathroom mirror. There are smartphone apps for recording goal progress.

You can also use some effective low-tech ways to encourage you to keep going. I know a woman who has a weight loss goal. She got a large vase and filled it with 5o small stones, each representing a pound she needed to lose. Each week, she weighed herself and removed a stone for each pound she had shed. When the vase is empty, she’ll fill it with flowers.

Ask yourself, if your goal is “achievable.” Is your goal something that you can reasonably do? For example, if you want to become a brain surgeon but you have a tremor in your hand, you would be better off focusing your energies elsewhere. If you want to become a brain surgeon, and you are already in medical school, you are on your way. You have a lot of work ahead of you, but it is possible!

Is your goal “relevant? How does your goal fit into your bigger life plan? Is now the best time to be working on it? As a blogger and author, I started out trying to learn too many things at once.

I wanted to learn:

Image courtesy of Photokanok at
  • how to create webinars,
  • web design, and
  • how to market my books.
  • Mastering SEO (search engine optimization) to get my blog seen by a wider audience

I had to write:

  • my books
  • content for my blogs
  • posts for blogs where I’m a guest writer

As you can see, I had a lot on my plate, and opportunities abounded for me to get an education on all of the above–and more!

The problem was that I was quickly becoming a “Jack of all trades, but master of none.” I’m sure that your goal isn’t being “adequate” at something. You want to be great! So, pick the most important thing (or 2) and master it (or them). Then you can move on to the next piece of the puzzle.

Finally, SMART Goals have a set “time” or deadline. 

Come up with an ultimate deadline that’s realistic. Then decide on the deadlines for any of the smaller steps that you came up with while crafting your SMART Goal. These deadlines should be realistic but they should also keep pushing you. If there’s no feeling of urgency, it is easy to become complacent.

Now that you have your SMART Goals crafted, write a “Vision.” 

This is how you picture your life once you’ve met your goal. What impact will it have on you? If you’re a more visual person, get a picture (or several), and place them where you can see them as reminders of why you are doing this. Are you trying to save up enough money to buy a boat or take a trip? Get a picture of the ad or flier. Do you want to lose weight? Get an outfit or a pair of jeans that you want to fit into. Hang it right there in your bedroom or bathroom as a reminder. These can be powerful reminders of why you are working so hard.

Finally, if you fall off the horse, get right back on.

People slip up and make mistakes. Allowing yourself to get into a cycle of shame for it will only sabotage your cause. Think of it as a boxing match. You against anything that is standing in the way of your goal. If you take a sharp jab to the jaw, shake it off and slug back—hard.

Best wishes on reaching your goals!


What Are YOUR Thoughts?

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About Heather EricksonThe Ericksons

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

Have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! By commenting, you agree to the terms of my privacy policy.

5 comments on “Are Your Goals SMART Goals?


Lots of great suggestions

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