SMART goals: are you setting real goals or just exercising your wishful thinking?

Sometimes we believe we have placed goals in our life, while if they are not SMART, we are only doing some wishful thinking.

The SMART goal setting methodology can help us ensure that our goals are actually… goals! It states that every goal, should have all of the following characteristics:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Therefore, setting a SMART goal involves thorough consideration of each of the above five factors. This is done by identifying the key questions and finding the right answers. We need to be clear about what we want to achieve. Additionally, we have to think by when and how we will know if we have succeeded.

Set your goals SMARTER!

Ask powerful questions

In order to pass successfully through the SMART filter, we have to answer questions like the following:


  • What is the objective we need to accomplish?
  • Who are involved and who is responsible?
  • What are some intermediate steps?
  • Are there any prerequisites?


  • How much?
  • How many?
  • What % improvement do we expect?
  • In what quantitative ways shall we know that we have succeeded?


  • Is it attainable?
  • Is it realistic?
  • Are we aiming too high or too low?
  • In what qualitative ways shall we know that we have succeeded?


  • In what ways is the goal significant or meaningful?
  • Is it worthwhile?
  • How important is it?
  • Is it backed up by enough resources?
  • Are we motivated enough to pursue this goal?
  • Is the timing favorable?


  • Have we set a deadline?
  • Can we set any intermediate checkpoints to help us monitor our progress?

Why not set your SMART goals.. SMARTER?

Our place in life changes daily, the same is true with our needs and wishes. Consequently, every so often it is good to evaluate and review our goals.

Therefore, our goals will be even more attainable if they become SMARTER:

  • Evaluated
  • Reviewed

Set your goals SMARTER!

Ask a few more powerful questions


  • What will need to be evaluated?
  • How shall we evaluate our progress?


  • What phases are suitable to perform a review?
  • How do we review our goal if we are over or under?

In conclusion, if you think you have set some goals without applying the SMART filter, think again. Most probably they are not goals. They are simply wishes!

 See also our article: Eisenhower’s Matrix: An essential time management tool