Goal Setting Tip Sheet

Framing the development of a goal using the SMART scaffold increases the likelihood of achieving the goal. It is a blueprint to ensure the goal is well considered, planned and actioned.

SMART stands for; Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely.

Specific - When a goal is specific, it is clear and concise – there is little room for ambiguity. This creates a clarity of mind that promotes attention and focus. The goal and its benefits can be clearly articulated. The attainment of the goal can be envisioned and its benefits palpable.

Measurable - There is a saying attributed to Peter Drucker that; If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.”  The ability to measure progress towards attaining a goal is critical to maintaining motivation. It provides feedback that promotes persistence. It also provides an opportunity to recalibrate the goal and/or to modify actions required to achieve the goal.

Actionable - Goals are not achieved through will alone – effective action is required.

If actions implemented are not sustainable and/or do not create progress towards goal attainment; time and energy is wasted, undermining self-efficacy.

Evidence based practice can provide confidence that any actions undertaken should result in progress towards goal attainment.

Relevant - Purpose and relevance are critical to ensuring that motivation can be sustained to achieve a goal that is valued - otherwise, why would you bother?

It is also rare that someone will be inspired to achieve another person’s goal (except where there is alignment with that person’s values and goals).

Timely - To create accountability around achieving a goal, it should be time framed. The time frame should be challenging, but realistic. Creating a sense of urgency increases motivation and commitment to the achieving the goal.

Here is a tip - use the following stem to frame the development of a SMART goal:

By (date) ……I have/ I am/ I can (goal)……so that (benefits)…………