Achieving Your Goals with SMART Criteria

Using the SMART goal method allows you to take specific steps that quantify your progress towards your goal, making it specific.


in SMART Goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Limited. This template helps you transform an idea or an initial goal into a SMART goal by using one-off questions related to each of the 5 points of the SMART objective criteria. When you reach the end of the worksheet, you're left with a carefully designed SMART target.

SMART objectives have existed for more than 30 years. In 1981, the consultant and former corporate planning director of Washington Water Power Company, George T. Doran, published an article entitled “There is a SMART Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives”, which presents SMART goal criteria as a way to improve your chances of achieving your goals. SMART lenses ensure that you don't set high or out of focus lenses that are likely to result in failure.

If your goals meet the 5 points of SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound), you are giving yourself an immediate advantage in meeting those objectives because they are tangible and well-thought-out objectives with a clear success plan. A goal that does not take into account the SMART criteria is more a desire or an aspiration than a realistic goal. What are the metrics of success? Make sure your goal is measurable so you can easily track your progress and set achievement milestones. For example, increasing sales lead conversions by 10% compared to the previous year is much more measurable than simply setting a lead conversion goal.

Before you set your goal, make sure that you can actually imagine achieving it and that you can create a SMART goal action plan to do so. Using a SMART goal template can also help you see how each criterion is taken into account in creating this goal. Now that you have a general understanding of what a SMART goal is, let's look at the acronym to help you understand each element:

  • Specific: Be precise about what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: What are the metrics of success? Make sure your goal is measurable so you can easily track your progress and set achievement milestones.
  • Achievable: Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
  • Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant to your overall objectives.
  • Time-bound: Set deadlines for yourself so that you stay on track.
Once you've written your goals according to each SMART feature, you can combine and consolidate all the work you've done into a single SMART goal. Seriously, non-SMART goals are often more like wishes and resolutions that they feel good to do, but they are practically impossible to implement and achieve.

Here's an easy-to-use SMART goal template in Word, along with a template to help you plan and manage your goals in Smartsheet. So this time, Jane plans to leverage SMART goals to set up an action plan and stay on track.

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