The smart goal according to Wikipedia is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan, and commit to achieving. Therefore life without a goal is a life without direction and purpose.

A smart goal in its simplest definition is a written down vision, dreams, and aspirations. The goal is futuristic in that you are looking at the things you will accomplish in the future i.e. something that you have not yet achieved or acquired. It will be difficult to achieve goals that are not well capture or that are put into the wrong perspective.

Goals must, therefore, be S.M.A.R.T if they can be achieved. SMART is an acronym that can be used to guide the process of goal setting to achieve the desired result. SMART means (S=Specific; M=Measurable; A=Attainable; R=Realistic; T=Time bound). Goals that are SMART centered stand a better chance of been achieved than vague goals.


SMART as criteria for setting and achievable goals are commonly attributed to Peter Drucker’s management by the objective concept. The first known use of the term SMART occurred in the November 1981 issue of management Review by George T. Doran. Since then, Professor Robert S. Rubin wrote about SMART in an article for The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He said that SMART has come to mean different things to different people, as shown below.

 An attainable goal must have the following attributes:

  • Specific (Simple, Sensible, Significant)
  • Measurable (Meaningful and Motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, result-based)
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)

Professor Robert S Rubin also notes that the definition of the SMART acronym may need updating to reflect the importance of efficacy and feedback.



The purpose of goal setting is to provide you a target to aim for; guidelines to follow; focus to concentrate on, a dream to achieve, and a vision to pursue. Therefore, the SMART tool is a concept that is used as a guideline for setting and achieving goals because it shows the attributes that will be looked out for. SMART goals are therefore easy to achieve.

SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability into your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective with clear milestones and an estimation of the attainability of the goal. Every goal or objective from short-term to long-term objectives can be made SMART and as such brought closer to reality.


What SMART  GOAL stands for…

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-Bound

NB: Some authors have expanded it to include extra focus areas.

E – Evaluate

R – Reviewed


S.M.A.R.T.E.R, therefore, represents characteristics or attributes or criteria of achievable goals.


The first attribute of an achievable smart goal is clarity. Clear and specific goals direct energy, focus, time, and resources into the right channel for optimization. For a goal to be clear and specific, it must answer the following 5W questions. They are: What do I want to accomplish

  • Why is this goal important to me
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved’

You need to spend time here because getting the above questions right is what will give your endeavor the right and strong footing


This is a must possess an attribute in any goal. It simply means that the progress of the goal must be measured and assessed; this will help you to stay focused on the deadline and the desired result. You must set a deadline when you want to achieve your goal

A measurable goal should answer the following questions.

  • How much?
  • The second question is how many?
  • And the third question is how will I know when it is accomplished?


Set realistic and attainable goals. You must be in control of your goal. Setting unrealistic or unattainable goals leads to frustration. This does not mean that you will set your goals too low as this will lead to demotivation.

Achievable goals will answer the following questions

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • To the constraints at hand, how realistic is the goal?


Relevant Smart GoalsMake sure that your goal matters to you, that you are passionate about it and that it is centered around your values and priorities. Nothing is worth doing without passion. Passion is the fuel that powers of drive and quest for achievement. Goals must be relevant for passion to produce results.

The relevant goal will answer yes to the following questions

  • Does this goal seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Am I with the right association/people?
  • Am I applying the required and right effort?


    Goal deadlineEvery goal must have a target date as a deadline to enable focus. Deadline or achievable dates helps to eliminate doing things that will delay actualization of the set goal. A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions.

  • When?
  • What can I do today?
  • How about the next six weeks?
  • Then. what can I do in the six months?


    Evaluate Smart GoalEvaluate your progress every single day. Make this easier by doing something every single that makes you closer to actualizing your goal. The evaluation will answer the following questions?

  • Am I doing something every day about my goal?
  • How serious am I?
  • At this rate am going, will I be able to actualize my goal?


    review goalThis is a periodic and in-depth look and analysis of the process of the actualization of the set goal to see if you are still on track. This is what gives an indication of the overall process and how to make adjustments as when necessary.

  • How well have I implemented my plan?
  • How efficient and effective are my actions?
  • What is the percentage of work completed
  • Have I spent the required time?
  • Did I make effective use of my time?
  • What are the areas that need adjustment?

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