SMART goals

effectively set and achieve your goals

SMART goals

when to use

when you need to create an action plan for an idea or goal

when not to use

when trying to explore a problem, get deep on a subject or explore creative options

why it works

it focuses teams and individuals on developing goals with specific characteristics making them more likely to be accomplished


  • a display for the goal: a whiteboard, posterboard, or flip chart paper
  • a marker: used to write the SMART goal 

how to do it

  1. identify the goal or target 
  2. write out the acronym SMART so that each letter creates it's own row or column for each characteristic (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely)
  3. break down the goal by the characteristics written out
  4. when complete, present your SMART goal 

the SMART goal explained

  • S = specific 
    • concicely and directly write out the goal  
    • the more vague, the more difficult it will be to achieve
  • M = measurable 
    • define how you will measure success - identify a KPI or metric and write it here
  • A = attainable 
    • outline the steps you will take to achieve the goal 
    • this will surface potential barriers you will need to overcome
  • R = relevant 
    • write out why achieving this goal is relevant to you and/or your team 
    • this will align the value with the goal
  • T = timely 
    • set a realistic time frame to acheive your goal 
    • this will motivate actions towards acheiving the goal

things to note

  • its important to socialize SMART goals for accountability either as and individual goal or a goal for a team - so display it in a public place
  • check-in with progress on your SMART goal reguraly and encourage call-outs to actions gain progress to acheiving the goal
  • there are a few variations of SMART goals; this is one we found works across any application