How to Make the SMART Goal System Work for You

Updated on April 17, 2020
WiseRabbit profile image

Robin has her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and has personal experience in achieving higher levels of success in life and business.

Start Achieving More With SMART-ER Goals

Maybe you wish were a singer, artist, or poet. Maybe you wish you were a successful entrepreneur, a CEO, or inventor. Or you want to compete in the Olympics. Maybe you just want to be able to pay your bills or lose weight.

You dream of this, maybe daily, and wish it were so, but life gets in the way and time marches on. You think: "Maybe I wasn't blessed with that gift; some people have it and some people don't." Or perhaps: "Some people are just lucky, I guess."

But that thinking is erroneous and will not get you anywhere. Goals WILL get you somewhere, but only if you hone them until they are crystal clear, and then follow up with discipline. You see, goals are only wishes until you make them your reality, and that is very rarely going to happen by some stroke of luck or magic. You have got to follow through with concrete steps you can take each and every day, even if they are small steps, and you have to track your progress.

The following ideas are not new, but I put my own twist on them. Then at the end, I add a couple of things that I think makes this an even better system for achieving success.

"Dreams" | Source

How to Use the SMART Goal System

Most everyone's heard of the system known as SMART goals. But I'm proposing taking it to the next level with SMART-ER goals. Below, I put my own spin on the SMART goal system, with practical advice.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific: But what does it mean to have a specific goal? Is saying "I want to have financial freedom" really a specific goal? Put a timeframe and a dollar amount on your goal, then do the math on what it would take to get there. If your goal is to bank $100k in 10 years, you need to bank $10k per year, so by year five you should have $50k. That means banking $833 a month, or approximately $27 per day. Break it down until you have a daily goal.
  • Measurable: Can you measure your goal? Is it big and long-term? Think big and plan for the future. Don't ever back down. 10 years goes by in the blink of an eye, so figure out where you want to be in that time and what you want to create for yourself—and what you will need to do each day in order to get there. If you want to be a rock guitarist, set your sights on Jimmy Page, then start practicing daily, take lessons, learn riffs, then songs, then learn to improvise, and develop your own style. Experiment and always try to take your skill to the next level. Make a list of things you want to accomplish and don't let your current situation blind you to what is possible, you can do it!
  • Attainable: Is the goal attainable? Don't ask yourself if you need to "adjust your expectations." Ask yourself: "Is it possible, some way, somehow, to do what it takes in 10 years, in five, in one?" And each day do what you need to do to achieve this goal. Remember that all possibilities remain possible always. Instead of hanging your head and thinking that it is too hard, start thinking about how you can adjust your daily activities in order to support the achievement of your goal.
  • Relevant: Is the goal relevant to you, to what you are about? Is it near and dear to your heart? What is the purpose behind saving that $100k? Do you want to buy some item, have money for a loved one's needs, or invest in something that will give you a good return? Make a visual display for yourself, and post it somewhere you will see it daily. Don't skimp on this exercise. Do it. If it is a car you want, post a picture of that car. You could even have someone Photoshop a picture of you into the car! Visual displays of your goals will help them become more real to you.
  • Trackable: Develop a chart or graph to chart your progress. I've created a goal sheet you can print for free. It's at the end of this article—use it! No journey is completed without a road map and compass. There are many examples of goal tracking charts to be found online if you don't like what I made for you. Simple daily points on a graph can help you visualize how well you are doing and keep you focused on your goal. Don't beat yourself up if you miss something any given day or even for a couple of days. Just get back on track at the soonest possible time.

That is my "take" on the SMART part of the goal system everyone knows so well. Now read on for my addition, and make your goal plan SMART-ER!

"Brighter" | Source

SMART Goals Made Even SMART-ER

  • Enforceable: Will you discipline yourself to reach this goal? What does self-discipline mean? Some people confuse discipline with punishment. Discipline is better explained by using the word training. If you are always hitting the snooze button, start training yourself to not do that. Waking up on time starts with going to bed on time. Turn everything off and go to sleep rather than staying up "just a few more minutes." It all starts with one day of doing one thing that you know you can and should be doing. Don't bite off more than you can chew, but don't keep cheating yourself by choosing not to do the things you need to either. Choose one, two, or three things you CAN do, and implement them every day. Keep track. Then at the end of the week, congratulate yourself and even reward yourself in some small way. Even if you managed four out of seven days the first week, you have come a long way. Celebrating your wins will help you stay focused and disciplined.
  • Reached: My last addition. Did you set a goal that you really planned to reach? Everything that has ever been achieved by anyone started as a thought in their mind, progressed to something they believed in, and was developed via positive feelings, inspiration, and a decision to follow through with action. Don't set a goal, and then set out to prove it cannot be done. Get your head right every morning by reminding yourself of your goal. It is easy to say this, but to actually do it and mean it is another thing. Literally writing your goal down every morning will help to make it more real. Then make a decision that you will do whatever it is that you need to do that day to get one step closer to your goal. Also, do whatever it takes to get yourself motivated for the day. That could be a motivational video, some exciting music, exercise, repetition of positive affirmations, or whatever gets you pumped. Don't skimp on this step either. Make your dreams a reality!

Have you gotten smarter yet? Post a goal you've got and what you are doing to achieve it.

Printable Goal Tracking Calendar for Free

Print this and use it!
Print this and use it! | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)