SMART goals can keep you committed and on track to getting what you want and seeing success in your career or personal life. Check out this guide that will help you learn how to write SMART goals for success.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are statements of things you’re trying to accomplish. They’re specific and clearly defined, trackable or measurable, and time-sensitive. Knowing how to write SMART goals will help you define what you want to accomplish, and how and when you’re going to do it.

The SMART Acronym


You need to specifically identify what you want to achieve, how you plan to do so, and who will be involved. Use direct, and understandable terms that make it simple to track your progress at any time.


A SMART goal needs to be measured or tracked so you know how much you’ve progressed and how much is still left to accomplish in your goal. This includes some kind of data or measurement unit and an assessment of how things are going, usually using milestones along the way to your overall goal.


For your goal to be achievable, you need to make sure it’s tangible and realistic for you and your situation. Check that you have the required skills, tools, and resources to succeed and, if not, that you can reasonably obtain them. Set practical time frames for small steps or milestones throughout the process.


Be sure your SMART goal aligns with who you are and what you value, along with your larger goals for your life and career. This makes your goal relevant and more achievable since you’ll identify with it well.


You’ll need to set a time frame or specific deadlines around your goal. This means how long it will take to accomplish each step or milestone along the way, along with the ultimate goal overall. Doing this helps focus you on making regular progress.

Why Are SMART Goals Helpful?

SMART goals go an extra step past typical goal-setting exercises and increase your chance of success. For example, when you generally state something like, “I want to be the best at baseball”, you’re likely setting yourself up to fail. This is because the goal is vague without clear direction.

SMART goals push and challenge you, guide you in the right direction, and hold you accountable so you can achieve your goal when you want to. When you use the SMART approach to planning and working to accomplish your goals, you can:

  • Be quite specific about what you want, why you want it, when you want it, and how you’ll go about getting it.
  • Consistently remember where you’re at and where you should be in the process of achieving your goal.
  • Clearly tell what you need to accomplish at each step of your goal, whether it has to do with time, training or education, research, technology, or financial resources.

SMART goals are very helpful because when you can see and do these things your process becomes tangible and real, so you’re more likely to achieve your goals.

How to Write SMART Goals

Follow these steps when creating your SMART goals, and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.

Be Specific

Answer the five “w” questions: who, what, when, where, and why as specifically as you can. You’ll need to know who will be involved in your process, what you’re setting out to achieve, and when you’d like to do that. As well, specify any locations or events involved and any roadblocks or challenges that could arise. And make sure you truly understand why you’ve set the goal, to begin with.

Quantify and Measure

Note the metrics or systems you’ll use on your journey to know if you’ve actually accomplished your goal. These can be quantitative (like money saved or time reduced) or qualitative (like positive feedback from clients). Doing this will make the goal more tangible since you can see its progress at any given time. For instance, if you’re working on a project that will take four months to complete, create a few milestones with the tasks you want to tackle at different intervals. Milestones will help you stay on track and guide you in achieving your overall SMART goal.

Set Yourself Up for Success

It only makes sense that the more important your goal is to you, the greater your chances are of accomplishing it. You’re only human, and most of us thrive on some inspiration or motivation to stick to our process and see our goals through. Also, consider how you can make your goal as easy to achieve as you can – this could mean learning a new skill, getting a product or service to speed things up, changing your attitude, accepting help, or any number of other things. The bottom line is knowing how to get what you need to achieve that goal.

SMART Goals Example

There are many common types of SMART goals, especially at work. Here’s an example, so you can see the process in action and have a starting point for creating your own.

I want to get one new client that will spend at least $2,000 by the end of the year. To achieve this, each week I’ll make 20 cold calls and distribute 5 proposals.

Specific: This specifically states how many clients I want to land and how much revenue I’d like them to bring in.

Measurable: The work needed to achieve this is measured in 20 cold calls and 5 proposals each week.

Achievable: Depending on my company’s performance each month, I can probably achieve this goal.

Relevant: Landing a new client and more revenue is relevant and worthwhile since it will help make the business more successful and sustainable.

Time-Bound: I’ve clearly stated what I need to do each week and how long the overall goal will take (end of the year).