Quick guide to setting SMART achievable goals

Written by Varouna Baroud on Tuesday, 12 December 2017. Posted in Life management

goals 1

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash


What is it that you want to achieve in your life? Where do you want to be in 10 or 5 years? And what does that mean for the actions you need to take now? What do you need to do today, this week, this month, this year to be able to achieve your long-term goals? 

If you really want to achieve something, just planning isn’t enough, you need to take action. The best way to do this is to challenge yourself with clear and specific goals.

Research shows that people that have clear goals are more successful and achieve more! Goals help you focus your efforts on what is really important. And because you are focused, you can better use of your resources. This is a simple biuological process that contributes to the findings that just setting a goal can increase your performance in 90 % of the cases.

Goals can be seen as the milestones on your journey through life. Goals are a useful tool to indicate if you are still on the right track and if you are making the right progress towards your long-term plans. Plus, what is more satisfying than checking off a goal you achieve? Achieving something you set out to do, motivates you to keep working hard on the next achievement.  But how do you set a goal? Let’s break this up into 4 simple steps:

Step 1 Think big.

You will never achieve more than you imagine possible. Small goals can only lead to small achievements. Set your goals high so they challenge and motivate you to take action now.

Often people are afraid to set a big goal because they are afraid to end up disappointed if they don't make it. But that's not how it works. If you set a high goal for yourself, even if you don't make it there all the way, you will have achieved and learned a lot more than you would have by setting an easy goal. As long as you work hard on your goal, the result will always be more than you had before setting the goal.

Thinking big means not limiting yourself by starting out thinking about what is impossible or unrealistic. Instead, try to dream as big as possible. Then set a goal with that dream in mind. And then start figuring out how you are going to get there. Thinking big will challenge you to be more resourceful, try out new different things. 

Step 2 Set long-term goals.

In these long-term goals, you define where you want to be in 10 years. Start with setting 3 goals for the next 10 year goals. Next, you break those 10-year goals up into 3 smart 5-year goals.

Smart means each gal needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. So describe your goal as detailed as possible. Don’t say I want to be rich, specify how much money you need to make. The smarter your goal, the easier it will be to measure your progress.

Step 3: Set your short-term goals

These are your smart goals for the next 1 and 3 years. In short: what do you need to achieve in the next 1-3 years in order to be where you want to be in 5 years. These goals often focus on improving your health, wealth, relationships, career or community. These short-term goals are more practical and concrete then your long-term goals.

Short term goals do need to be in line with long-term goals. For example: if your short-term goal is starting a family, a long-term goal that focuses on traveling all over the world might be more difficult to achieve.

 Step 4 Set fun goals

 Make sure your goals include some fun goals. These are fun things you always wanted to do but always postponed, like taking a trip, following a course, buying something expensive. Achieving those fun goals will inspire you. It will give you the feeling that setting goals actually works and that feeling will fuel your engine and motivate you to keep working on your other goals. 


Don’t set more than 5 goals per time frame, otherwise you will lose focus. If you achieve your goals, celebrate your success and move on to the next one.

Write down your 1-year goals down at least once a day to stay motivated and focused on what is really important.

Never believe is too late to start working on your dreams. So start setting your goals today! If you follow these steps you end up with 5 goals for this year, 5 goals you want to achieve in 3 years, 3 5 year goals and 3 10 year goals.  That means you have created a plan for the next 10 years of your life!

If you want more information on the best way to achieve your goals, check out the information on our workshops and see how we can help you set and achieve the right goals. 


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