Smart Goals -Unleash the Powerful You

Smart Goals

Written by Alan Anderson

Smart goals can be a powerful tool to help you transform your life by converting dreams into achievable outcomes.

 ‘Humans alone have the power to transfer thoughts into physical reality; humans alone can dream and make their dreams come true.’   Napoleon Hill

 This quote captures the exact reason that most people fail to live the life of their dreams, including me.

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I learned how to use smart goals that my life took off. Also, by combining these with self-improvement techniques, my life was transformed.

For the first time, I was able to improve my productivity without extra stress.  Also, this led to me finally completing several long term life and business goals.

Let me share how this was possible.

The Critical Filter

From my experience, I found that there tends to be one key failure point to achieving our dreams.

When we have a compelling dream, it’s easy to get very excited. Often, we fire into action without any real plan. Also, we have no real way of knowing if our dream is likely to be successful. Often, we fail to convert our dream into a written plan of action which is vital for long term success.

Therefore, using smart goals can help us filter our dream and convert them into an actionable plan. Also, using smart goals gives us a great way of separating out dreams that are not likely to be achieved.

Let’s look at the power of smart goals and how you can use it to unleash the life of your dreams.

Smart Goals

Smart Goals

The smart goals concept has been around the corporate world for some time. The word s.m.a.r.t is an acronym which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

Therefore, applying these headings to your dreams can help to filter them into concrete, actionable goals. Also. it become a great way of for helping you develop a clear written plan to achieve your long term dream.

Let’s look at each letter, its meaning and how to apply it to make your Goals effective.

Smart Goals S = Specific

To convert a dream into reality we need to break it down into the specific achievements or goals. Generally-speaking, if you can’t write down the exact detail of what you want to achieve, you are unlikely to reach the desired outcome.

Therefore, getting specific about your dreams and turning them into written, actionable goals is a great way of filtering our dreams. Firstly, this process makes sure that our dreams are not just fanciful ideas. Secondly, it makes us turn dreams into real goals that we are committed to achieving.

The first step is to brainstorm your dream ideas until you can write it down as a specific goal which encapsulates its specific intent. Let’s look at an example to make this clearer.

The Dream

I have talked a lot about wanting to teach other people  creative writing and to support other writers via the internet. After filtering your dream self-talk, we can get specific about our dream and convert it into a long-term goal:

“I want to develop a blog about creative writing to help others improve their writing skills.”

If you find that you are unable to get very specific about your dream you have a choice. You can either drop the dream or modify it over time. Also, you may find yourself unwilling to commit to the specific goals.

If that is the case, you may need to adjust the goals or accept that the dream may not be achievable. Finally, don’t leave all your dreams on the scrap heap. Often, reviewing you dreams list can be a source of inspiration for new dreams.

Smart Goals -measurable

Smart Goals M = Measurable

Now we have a dream converted into a specific goal or outcomes.  Now, it’s time to apply the next part of the smart goals process, which is to make our long-term goal measurable. Overall, making our goals measurable forces us to become even more specific about what we will achieve.

To make our dream measurable, we must look at what we need to do or have in-order to achieve success. So, this continued filtering process should leave us with a range of very specific sub-goals Let’s look at my previous example adding the measurable aspect.

“I want to create a blog about creative writing to help others improve their writing skills.”

Therefore, to achieve this long-term dream goal, I must achieve a range of sub-goals. Also, each of these must also be specific and measurable to make sure they can be achieved.


Here is a list of measurable sub-goals for this dream goal example.

  • Research the best teachers and courses on blogging
  • Raise the money required to purchase the best value blogging course for creative writers
  • Learn to write good presentations
  • Complete the blogging course
  • Apply my new skills to create a new blog about creative writing
  • Commit to a regular writing schedule for my new blog

Smart Goals -attainable

Smart Goals A = Attainable, Achievable and Action Focused

By now you should have a goal that is specific and measurable. Now, you need to consider if it is attainable or achievable. Generally, well set and achievable goals should stretch you. However, they should not be so challenging that they are impossible to achieve.

Many years ago, I had a dream of being a pro-basketball player. During a practice session, I busted the patella tendon on the front of my left knee. All in all, it took two operations and nearly a year of recovery to get back to full fitness.

My doctors said that my dream of being a pro-basket balk player was over as this injury was likely to happen again. So, here is a perfect example of a dream that I tried to turn into an achievable goal. However, in the end, it was neither attainable or achievable due to the likelihood of ongoing injury.

I had to let that dream go and move on to other dreams and life goals.

What’s the Question?

That’s why it is important with every goal to ask the question… Can I really expect to achieve this goal?

This question is not about killing your dreams or passion, but merely being honest about what you are expecting to achieve. Often, it is as simple as adjusting your bar at a height that you can achieve.

After all, you can always work yourself towards a larger goal by taking smaller achievable steps first. By doing this you can build confidence, skills and improve you the likelihood of achieving your larger goal.

Smart Goals -actionable

Also, well written smart goals should not only be achievable, but they should be action focused. Additionally, small actions everyday allows you to make steady progress as well as maintaining your excitement about achieving your ultimate goal.

As the image above states, action changes things. Action brings you a feeling of accomplishment and can help bring you confidence to keep moving forward towards your larger goal.

Smart Goals R = Realistic, Relevant and Resourced

Let’s look at the ‘R’ of smart goals by looking at the blogging example used earlier.

As can be seen, it is obvious that I don’t currently have all the skills and resources to achieve this goal.  So, is it realistic for me to find or acquire these skills?

For this example, I would need to allow time to research, book and take an online course about how to blog.  Therefore, although I don’t have all the resources right now, it is realistic that I can develop the skills and knowledge I need to achieve this goal. Also, I can gather all the resources I need to achieve this goal.

So, this goal is realistic and can be resourced effectively.

Next, we need to consider the relevance of this goal. Therefore, the key here is to make sure that you don’t add activities that aren’t moving you towards your major goal.

For instance, in my example sub-goals I added the goal of learning to write good presentations. Although this is a wonderful goal on its own, it is not relevant to achieving the goal of becoming a blogger. Therefore it is not relevant to achieving the main goal.

So, the key point here is to make sure every sub-goal and action is relevant by moving you forward towards your major goal.

Smart Goals -timebound

Smart Goals T = Time Bound

Every well written goal should have a very clear written time frame. By making a goal time bound you can set regular milestones to allow you to review progress.

Also, creating a timeline with milestones allows you adjust your actions to keep you on track. Furthermore, this allows you to check that the time frames you set to achieve your goals is realistic.

For example, if you were wanting to develop new skills to achieve your goal, you would have to allow time for learning these new skills first.

If you allowed six months to achieve a goal and building new skills or resources were going to take your five and a half months, then chances are you have not set yourself a realistic time frame. So the key here is to be realistic and flexible, as reaching your dreams is a journey.

Final Word

Don’t under estimate the power of setting smart goals. The simple act of writing down your goals, thinking about them carefully and mapping out your actions is very powerful.  Accordingly, using smart goals puts you in the realm of those who achieve real success. Also, converting  dreams to realistic and achievable goals with clear action plans gives you even more chance of real success.

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