That’s Right, it’s SMART Goals Time

compass 16With 2010 upon us (I am so ready for a new decade), it’s a good time to set some goals for the coming year(s). Of course, any time is a good time to set new goals, but the near-universal slack time of December’s end seems to spark the desire in many to look ahead.

Goal setting is a double-edged sword of activity. Used correctly, it can result in life-transforming effects.  Unfortunately far too many people set goals in such a way that they are not only ineffective, but can even be destructive to growth.

Sort of like griping the sword at the wrong end.

A poorly defined goal is slippery and creates confusion.

Confusion breeds inaction and stress.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, I suggest a simple framework for setting your goals. It’s called The SMART Goal Setting System


I have no idea who first came up with it, but it works.


S.M.A.R.T. stands for the elements of an effectively defined goal.


SMART Goals Are…


Dr Evil from Austin Powers wanted “A billion dollars.”

That’s far more specific than “I want to be rich,” which is what a lot of people aspire to.


If your goals aren’t specific, there’s nothing to aim at.


When you get on an airplane, you do so expecting a specific destination. If you were to stand over the pilot’s shoulder during the flight (which these days would get you tasered), you might might notice that the plane is rarely heading directly toward the destination.

The wind is blowing.

There are other planes in the air.

Stuff happens.

But all the while, the pilot adapts to the current circumstances with the goal in mind.

The closer the plane is to the destination, the more directly aimed it is.

At the very end, the approach comes down to a specific channel as the landing gear comes down and the ground approaches.

Based on this literal application of what I’m using as a metaphor, thousands of planes land at their selected goals every single day.


Imagine what air travel would be like without “goal setting.”


Here are some other examples of specific goals.

  • Do 100 pushups in under 5 minutes
  • Reduce my waist size from x inches to y inches
  • Spend 2 hours with my kids every day
  • Install crown molding in every room of the house
  • Win a blue ribbon showing my horse


SMART Goals Are…


Your goal should be measurable.

This means that you can tell if you’ve achieved it.


I want a pony is a measurable goal.


You don’t have a pony.


You do have a pony.


I want to be happier is NOT a measurable goal.


How can you really know if you’re there. How do you know you’re not there already? The waters are too muddy for something like that. Work harder to decide what your goal looks like so you can navigate towards it better.


Better still is a goal that allows you to measure how close you are to getting there.


Imagine you’re an archer.

To make the Olympic team, you need to hit the bulls-eye 95 out of 100 times (I have no idea if that’s how it works, but deal with it). You currently can achieve 80 out of 100 bulls-eyes. After a month of practice, you’re up to 85 out of 100 shots.

Ok, you’re not at your goal, but by measurement you know you’re improving.

You are approaching your goal.

That’s a good thing.


SMART Goals Are…


I know people like guru-of-all-things-under-the-sun Oprah have declared that “The Secret” and the “Law of Attraction” (should be the Law of Attention) are THE WAY.

  • Set your intention.
  • Sit on couch.
  • Wait for doorbell to ring.

Seriously, I saw her segment on The Secret. I never thought the already over-distilled message of the Law of Attraction in The Secret could be reduced any further.

If you want results, you gotta take action.

That doesn’t mean you have to know EXACTLY what needs to be done.

You simply need to be in motion.


Planning to do 100 pushups? Do 5 right now.


Want that crown molding for every room in the house? Break down pricing for each room. Study how to do it yourself. Practice doing it in a closet where no one can see. Call around to find someone else to do it.


Want to make an extra $25,000 by the end of the year? Read The 4-Hour Workweek and then apply what you’ve learned. Redo your resume, or have a professional do it for you. Then seek a job that pays $25,000 more than you’re making now.


Do something.


SMART Goals Are… 


I have a small problem with the word “realistic” when it comes to goal setting.

It’s a loaded word.

Now, chances are if you set a goal to replace Simon Cowell as judge on American Idol before the start of the next season, that’s just not going to happen.



Says who?

Someone is going to replace him.

They let Paula Abdul on the show…the bar seems low. (hehe)

So why not you?

Henry Ford pushed his engineers for years to build a V8 engine before they succeeded.

He was told he was nuts for requesting such a thing.

He was told his goal was unRealistic.

Well, he showed them.

You get to be the barometer for your own goals.

You get to decide what is realistic.

Careful though: “helpful” people will come out of the woodwork, like magical gnomes looking to steal socks from under your bed.

Instead of socks, they steal dreams.


SMART Goals Are…


What do you want and when do you want it?

Do you want to be a cash millionaire “someday” or before Dec 31, 2010?

There’s a difference.


Do you want to shed 20 pounds before summer or over the next 5 years?

It matters.


Author Joe Vitale says “Dare something worthy.”


That’s what effective goal setting is about.


Just because you set a goal, does that mean you’re going to achieve it?




Sometimes you’ll exceed it.


Sometimes you’ll fall short.


That’s awesome.


If you know, it’s because you actually had a goal. Unlike many who just wade through the waters of life.


If you find a new job that pays $20,000 more than what you’re making instead of the $25,000 you were shooting for, are you going to cry?

Or are you going to celebrate because you took a step and got results?


If you set out to lose 20 pounds and loose 19, is that really a failure?

I’d say congratulations are in order.


Tis the season to step up. Set some goals. Take some action. Have an awesome year.


Do you have any goal setting tips, success stories or lessons learned? Leave a comment below and share.


  1. achohadi on May 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you for the help

  2. achohadi on May 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I need a help for this question because i don’t have the book please

    How would you define the “entrepreneurial mindset”? Be sure to discuss each of the five factors.

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