The SMART goals criteria are a guideline that can be used to describe goals in enough detail to help monitor progress toward achieving them.

The acronym for SMART Goal Setting stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and have a Time-Frame for completing. These will be discussed in more detail below.

View Goal Quotes for motivational quotes associated with goal setting.


Be very specific in describing exactly what you want as a result of the goal. The clarity that comes from knowing exactly what you are shooting for harnesses the power of your dreams sets your subconscious in motion to empower you to achieve your goals.

This specificity will also help you to establish your priorities for decisions and how you spend your time. Vague or incomplete goals produce vague or incomplete results. What do you specifically want to achieve?


Describe your goal in a quantifiable way so you will definitely know if you have achieved it or not. As you are working toward your goal, you should be able to tell that you are advancing and by how much.


Setting goals that are attainable can be a very fine line. A goal set too high invites failure and may cause you to give up, yet a goal set too low artificially limits your success. The best advice I can give you is to be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you can commit to achieving your goal given your other areas of life and responsibilities.

Our goals should be set so they are just out of our reach. This will challenge us to grow as we strive to achieve them.

Always remember that you can adjust your goals higher as you grow and develop. A goal that may be unattainable today could very well become attainable a year from now as you progress in your development and growth.


A goal has to be something that we can reasonably expect to make a reality in our lives. Although we want our goals to stretch us, there are simply some goals that are not realistic. You have to believe, even if it is a stretching goal, that it is entirely possible for you to achieve it. This, as with all of goal setting, is highly individual - a goal that may be realistic for one person may be unrealistic to another.

CAUTION: When determining if your goal is realistic, consider not only the final result you desire, but also have a realistic time frame. This is probably the area that we are more likely to falter.

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!
(Anthony Robbins)


Associate a time-frame that defines when you should complete the goal. If you don’t have an expectation of how much time a goal should take to accomplish or when you want to have it finished, you will not feel the sense of urgency that will help you complete it.

Setting a time-frame also provides you with checkpoints so you can evaluate your goals to ensure you are making progress toward your dreams. You may also want to break down a big goal into smaller goals, each with their own time-frame.

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