The SMART-System for goals simply explained
With the SMART method, goals can be perfectly planned and implemented. Photo: iStock.com/SIphotography.

SMART Method: How to achieve your goals

Most of the time, goals are not achieved because they are formulated incorrectly. With the SMART method you can effectively prevent this. Here you find Smart Goals Examples and functionality.

Most of us have goals. Some more, some less, some professional, some athletic, some private. But often we fail in our goals without knowing exactly why that is the case. One of the most common reasons we fail at our goals is that we set our goals wrong.

Want some example? Sure you know the New Year’s resolutions of our fellow human beings, which were propagated loudly at the end of the year, and which are usually forgotten a few days or weeks later. It’s not for nothing that 60% of gym members are passive members. Make a contract, do a workout 3-4 times and never come back. For the owners a princely business: the membership fees flow, without that it comes to a consideration.

Often a lack of self-discipline isn’t the problem

The SMART method simply explained
The SMART-Method explained

Of course, sometimes it has something to do with a lack of self-discipline that we don’t achieve our goals. But often the reason is simply that we haven’t planned our goals well enough.

With the so-called SMART method, which can be applied to almost all goals, your projects can be planned effectively and implemented much easier. In 5 simple steps, which you can remember by the word “smart”, you will be able to achieve real goals in the future and improve your productivity.

Try to apply the following smart method examples to your everyday life. Have you perhaps proceeded similarly or in exactly the same way so far?

Smart Method Examples and explanation

1.) Specific goals

One of the most common mistakes made by people setting goals is that they don’t define exactly what is actually to be achieved. There can be two reasons for this.

Sometimes it is on purpose, if we do not pinpoint ourselves. So we always have an excuse to ourselves and to others that it was meant differently. Often we are very motivated, but still haven’t exactly described our goal. But if we have not precisely defined what we actually want, it becomes difficult to achieve our goal.

Examples for specific goals
Goals must be defined and specified as precisely as possible.

Examples of unspecific goals

  • “My goal is to get a more beautiful body.”
  • “I want to live healthier.”
  • “I want to be able to afford more.”

Without question, the goals just mentioned are all praiseworthy and you’re allowed to reach them. But by not really telling you how you want to achieve that goal, it’s going to be hard for you to start.

Examples of specific goals according to the smart method

  • “Losing weight is my goal.”
  • “I want to smoke less.”
  • “In the future I want to have a higher income.”

You see, your goals have changed very little, but now you have a direction to go.

2.) Measurable Goals

The second point of smart method is that your goals, if you want to reach them, must also be measurable. If you set yourself goals that can not be verified at all, it will be difficult to motivate you in the long term.

Examples of measurable goals using the smart method
According to the smart method, goals must be imperative and clearly measurable

Examples of non-measurable goals

  • “I want to lose weight.”
  • “From now on I want to go to bed earlier.”
  • “In the future, I would like to spend less time with my smartphone.”
  • “Smoking less would be great.”
  • “I want to earn more money.”

Again, all goes well and well, but what does “smoking less” mean, for example? Your goal is clear, but your wording leaves many options for interpretation. In this way, you would have already achieved this goals if you only smoke one cigarette a week less.

Examples for measurable goals according to the smart method

  • “I would like to lose 5kg.”
  • “In the future I only want to smoke 3 cigarettes a day”
  • “My goal is to earn 50% more than current.”

Looks better, right? Now you’ve clear goals that can be verified not only for you, but also for every outsider.

3.) Achievable goals

Next, when setting goals, make sure that you can actually achieve them. For example, the following goals may be out of reach if they are not what you are.

Examples for achievable goals
Goals must be challenging, but also really achievable.

Examples for unreachable goals

  • “In the future I will never drink alcohol again.”
  • “I never eat sweets anymore.”
  • “I’ll do sport daily now.”

If you can do that, respect! But normally this won’t work and won’t be fun for very few people. So make sure that the goal remains attractive for you.

Examples for achievable goals according to the smart method

  • “I don’t drink alcohol during the week.”
  • “I don’t eat sweets in the office anymore.”
  • “From now on doing 2-3x a week sport.”

How important it is to define attractive goals, you know from the whole diet programs, which are rehashed over and over again. Having to do without something for 2 weeks or 1 month isn’t very attractive. And so it often comes afterwards directly to a weight gain, because we had so little fun that we want to reward now once (without diet).

4.) Realistic goals

When we think about something, our ambitions are often so great that we think we can rip trees out. Unfortunately, in this phase we often set targets that are far too high that we can hardly achieve.

Examples for realistic goals
According to the smart method, goals must be realistic

Examples for unrealistic goals

  • “I currently smoke 1 box of cigarettes a day, from now I stop completely.”
  • “Even if I have an average job today, I want to be a millionaire in 6 months.”
  • “I haven’t done any sports since school, but from now on I will go for a run every day.”

Sure, there are (few) exceptional cases that could really go through that, but for most people, those goals would be much too high. Stay realistic so that you don’t fail after only two days with your project.

Examples for realistic goals according to the smart method

  • “I will only smoke 2/3 or half a pack of cigarettes from January 1st.”
  • “From now on I walk twice a week for as long as I keep up.”

Sounds more reasonable, right? The advantage here is that you do not have to change everything from now on, but you can slowly approach your goal and continue to increase it.

5.) Time-based / Terminated goals

Another common mistake in setting goals is simply not setting a precise time until when the goal is supposed to be achieved.

Examples for time-based or terminated goals
With the smart method, it should be clearly defined by when the set goals are to be achieved.

Examples for not terminated goals

  • “I will lose 5 pounds.”
  • “I will read 10 books.”
  • “My goal is to graduate.”

Perfect, nice. So that means that you can reach your goal in two or ten years, right? After all, you didn’t say when you wanted to make it. Of course, such goals make little sense, so you should set clear times.

Examples for time-based and terminated goals according to the smart method

  • “I will lose 5 pounds in 8 weeks.”
  • “I will read 10 books this year.”
  • “My goal is to graduate next year.”

Sounds much better right? Now you know how much time you have to reach your goal and you can work with it accordingly.


That’s it. So you know the 5 elementary components of a real goal. So if you set goals in the future, try using this method. You will see that this will make it much easier to reach your goals afterwards.

In a nutshell

Often we set ourselves goals that we won’t achieve – for reasons unknown to us. The problem here, however, is usually not in a lack of self-discipline, but often in the fact that we have run off aimlessly.

With the SMART method, which is also used in project management, goals can be easy and quickly defined precisely. Referring to the initials of SMART, your goals must be

  • specific
  • measurable
  • attractive
  • realistic
  • time-based

to reach them. Try it!

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