SMART Goals: What Are They and How Do I Set Them?

Updated: February 13, 2024
by TJ Salvatore

Setting goals is an essential step in any endeavor, whether it's personal or professional. But how can you be sure that your goals are achievable and meaningful? The answer lies in the SMART Goals model. SMART – the five key components to setting effective goals. In this blog post, we will look at what each of these components means and how to use them to set effective SMART goals. We’ll also provide some tips on setting SMART goals and discuss how they can help you reach your desired outcomes.

SMART Goals: What Are They and How Do I Set Them?

What are SMART goals?

Setting goals is a critical part of any successful individual or organization, yet many people fail to set effective goals. One reason for this is that they don't understand the concept of S-M-A-R-T goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. In other words, a SMART goal is a specific goal that is measurable, achievable, relevant and has a specific timeframe for completion.

Here are some examples of SMART goals:

  • I will lose 10 pounds by the end of April.
  • I will save $2,000 for a new car by December 31st.
  • I will complete my college degree within 4 years.

As you can see, all of these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This makes them much more likely to be accomplished than goals that are not SMART.

Now that you understand what SMART goals are and why they're important, it's time to learn how to set them. The first step is to identify what you want to achieve. Once you know what your goal is, you can begin breaking it down into smaller pieces that fit the criteria of being specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

For example, if your goal is to get promoted at work within the next year, your SMART goals might look something like this:

  • I will complete all assigned tasks on time by the end of the month.
  • I will attend all mandatory meetings and training sessions by the end of the quarter.
  • I will develop a comprehensive understanding of my current role by the end of the year.

By setting SMART goals, you can ensure that you are taking action to achieve your goals in a way that is both effective and efficient.

The Elements of a SMART Goal

Many different elements go into a SMART goal. To start, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

Here's a closer look at each element: 


A specific goal is clear and well-defined. It answers the question, "What do I want to achieve?" 

It is imperative to identify what it is you want to accomplish before you can set a specific goal. Once you know what your goal is, you can then begin to develop a plan for achieving it. Your goals should be clear and concise. They should be well-defined and easy to understand. 


When it comes to setting goals, it is important to make sure that they are measurable. This way, you will be able to track your progress and see whether or not you are on track to achieving your goal. To measure your goals, choose a method that will work best for you, for example;

  • Use a goal tracker app. There are many different kinds of goal trackers available, so find one that works best for you and start tracking your progress.
  • By setting milestones and writing them down. Milestones can help you break down your goal into smaller pieces so that you can better track your progress.
  • You can also ask yourself questions about your goal regularly. This will help you reflect on your progress and make sure that you are still on track to achieving your goal.

Your goals should have measurable milestones that you can track progress against, so any of the above will do, but a combination of two or more of them will help you stay on track and see how close you are to achieving your goal.


When it comes to setting goals, it’s important to make sure they are achievable. This means that you set goals that are realistic and within your reach. If you set goals that are too high, you may get discouraged and give up. On the other hand, if you set goals that are too low, you may not see the benefits of achieving them.

To ensure your goals are achievable, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I realistically achieve this goal?
  • Do I have the time and resources available to achieve this goal?
  • Am I willing to put in the work necessary to achieve this goal?

If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then you have an achievable goal!

Your goals should be realistic and achievable. This means that you should set yourself up for success by setting attainable goals.


Your goals should be relevant to your overall vision or mission. Ensure that your goals are aligned with what you want to accomplish in the long term.

For example, if your goal is to increase sales, consider ways to;

  • Improve customer service, 
  • Launch a new product or service, or 
  • Invest in better marketing strategies and tactics. 

Make sure the goals you set are relevant and meaningful to your overall mission.



Time-bound means setting a deadline. A deadline will help you stay on track and motivated and without one, it's easy to push your goal off until tomorrow, next week, or even next month.

There should be a specific timeline for achieving your goals. This will help you stay accountable and motivated to achieve your goal within the given time frame.

Why Do You Need SMART Goals?

Because the principle will much more likely to help you achieve your goals. Without SMART, risks such as the following can arise.

  • Lack of resources: If you don't have access to the necessary resources needed to reach your goal, then achieving it may seem impossible.
  • Failure to plan: Without a proper strategy in place at the beginning, you may lose track along the way and therefore are unlikely to succeed.
  • Unclear objectives: It’s also difficult to succeed without a clear understanding of the goal. The path may lead you astray.
  • Unrealistic expectations: When setting unrealistic expectations for yourself or others, it can be hard to stay motivated and on track with reaching the goal in mind.

How to set SMART goals


Setting goals is a vital part of any successful business plan. Now that you know the characteristics of a SMART goal, let’s look at how you can set one for your business: 

  1. Start by identifying what you want to achieve. Ask yourself what specific result you want to achieve with this goal. (Specific)
  2. Determine how you will measure success. What is the target number or percentage you want to reach? (Measurable)
  3. Set a realistic target. Can you actually achieve the goal with the resources available? Establish what resources and support you need to accomplish the goal, such as additional staff or increased funding. (Achievable)
  4. Ensure that your goal is relevant to your overall business objectives. Is this going to help you reach your desired outcome? Ask yourself how reaching this goal will help move your business forward. (Relevant)
  5. Set a timeline for achieving your goal. When do you want to have achieved the result by? Do not underestimate or overestimate what can be achieved within a certain timeframe. Give yourself a timeframe so you can stay on track and measure your progress over time.  (Time-bound)
  6. Take action towards achieving your goal! Break down the steps needed into smaller goals and make sure you are working towards them regularly.

By following these steps, you can set SMART goals that will help ensure the success of your business plan.

Examples of SMART goals

There are countless examples of SMART goals, but here are a few to get you started:

  • A goal to lose 10 pounds in 3 months is a SMART goal because it is Specific (10 pounds), Measurable (using a scale), Achievable (with diet and exercise), Relevant (to your overall health), and Time-bound (3 months).
  • A goal to save $500 over the next 6 months is a SMART goal because it is Specific ($500), Measurable (by tracking your savings), Achievable (by making small cuts to your spending and/or increasing your income), Relevant (to your financial wellbeing), and Time-bound (6 months).
  • A goal to run a marathon in 1 year is a SMART goal because it is Specific (running a marathon), Measurable (by training schedules and race times), Achievable (with dedication and hard work), Relevant (to your fitness level and interests), and Time-bound (1 year).
  • A goal to increase sales by 20% in the next quarter is a SMART goal because it is Specific (20%), Measurable (by tracking sales data), Achievable (with focused marketing efforts and customer outreach), Relevant (to your business growth objectives), and Time-bound (next quarter).
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Challenges of Setting SMART Goals

Here are some of the challenges of setting SMART goals.

  • They can be difficult to measure. For example, a goal to " improve customer satisfaction" can be hard to quantify.
  • They can be too specific, and it can be difficult to know where to start. 
  • They can be time-consuming to set up, and it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture.

Applying SMART Goals To Your Online Business


Be specific in your expectations. Be clear on the objectives you want to accomplish each day and set yourself a timeline for completing tasks. Make sure that the tasks can realistically be completed during the time allotted, and ensure you have access to all of the necessary resources or information needed. 

Prioritize what needs to get done first so that deadlines are met and productivity remains high. Establish boundaries between work life and home life by setting aside designated times for both activities. 

Remain mindful of how technology affects remote work such as having a reliable internet connection and using appropriate online communication tools when collaborating with others remotely.


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Your goals should be measurable when working alone from home.

Set measurable goals by setting deadlines and tracking your progress. Additionally, create a system to help monitor the metrics associated with each goal and use them to determine success or failure. For example, if you want to increase online sales, use data-driven analytics software to measure how effective specific strategies are at driving conversions.

Here are the examples;

  • Complete x number of projects per week
  • Respond to client inquiries within 24 hours
  • Track progress on all tasks using a project management system 
  • Develop and implement new processes to streamline workflow each month 
  • Increase productivity by 10% each quarter 
  • Reach out to potential clients twice a week 
  • Research industry trends and best practices weekly 
  • Take one hour of learning or professional development every day


When freelancing from home, it is important to have realistic goals that you can accomplish in the time frame that you have available. This helps to ensure motivation and productivity throughout your work day. 

If goals are too unrealistic for the amount of time and resources you have, it can lead to frustration and a feeling of failure. 

Set reasonable expectations for yourself on what projects or tasks you want to achieve each day so that they are achievable while allowing room for growth as well.


Setting relevant goals is an important part of any online marketing strategy. Goals provide direction and motivate us to take action. 

When setting goals, it's important to be creative in order to differentiate yourself from the competition and stand out in the crowded digital landscape. Relevant goals should clearly state what your desired outcome is and how you plan on achieving it.

Additionally, having measurable objectives allows you to track progress over time and adjust as needed for better results. By setting relevant goals, you can unleash your creativity in developing innovative strategies that will help drive more leads, conversions, engagement or whatever other metric needs improvement within your business.


Establishing realistic timeline frames is important when working remotely, as it keeps you accountable and motivated towards meeting deadlines efficiently. Create a schedule for yourself detailing what needs to be accomplished each day and when. This will help to ensure that tasks are completed on time without sacrificing quality. 

Additionally, it’s important to assess your progress at regular intervals and adjust the timeline as needed. This way you can stay on track and make sure that goals are being achieved in a timely manner.

SMART Goals: What Are They and How Do I Set Them? Wrapping Up

SMART goals provide a clear and structured approach to setting both short-term and long-term objectives. By understanding the key components of a SMART goal, it is possible to create realistic goals that define success with greater clarity than traditional goal setting. As such, SMART goals can be an invaluable tool for individuals looking to achieve meaningful progress towards their desired outcomes in life.

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About the Author

A freelancer. A nomad. An LGBTQ and animal rights activist. Love meeting new people, exploring new styles of living, new technologies and gadgets, new ways of making money.

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