SMART Goals: How to Write a Smart Goal.


SMART objectives are a classic that we have all heard of at some point, but how many of us apply the objectives or goals on a daily basis in our life or business?

smart goals that are

Let’s take a quick look at what Smart goals are and what each of the letters in SMART mean along with some practical examples of their use.

Before we start let’s not forget that “having clear goals is the first step towards success”.


SMART goals, what are they?

We owe the first use of the term SMART to George T. Doran who in 1981 published a paper called ” There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives “.

SMART ( ready, intelligent) is a methodology that allows us not to forget the essential elements* when writing an effective objective.

In short, SMART is an acronym of 5 words (*elements) that we will see throughout this article:

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

There are other variants that give the acronym SMART different meanings to each of the letters depending on the context in which they are used:

Variants of the SMART Methodology
Specific _ eStrategic, Significant.
Measurable _ motivator.
Achievable Acceptable, Agreed, Aligned with the strategy.
Relevant Real, Reasonable, Results-oriented.
Time -bound Time-based, Trackable , Tangible, Time-limited.

Advantages of writing Smart goals

  • Smart goals are easy to understand .
  • The Smart methodology is based on setting goals that can be met. In this way we will know clearly when an objective has been reached (completed).
  • Writing objectives serves as a guide throughout an entire project.
  • Defining objectives allows a work group to identify goals and assign tasks and responsibilities to each member.


And finally let’s see each of the five characteristics that cannot be missing when writing a “smart” goal.

1 Specific

When defining a Smart objective, it should not be ambiguous, whether we set personal goals or if we work together with a work team in the form of a company or agency.

A good way to achieve this is to write a specific objective  answering as many questions as possible:

  • What. Detail of what we want to achieve with our objective.
  • Which one. Include possible real obstacles that prevent us from reaching our goal. We anticipate the 3rd point of this methodology ( achievable ).
  • Who. Person assigned to achieve a goal. It may be a delegated job for a third party. In many cases we are ourselves.
  • Where. If the location is relevant to meet an objective, we must not forget the “where”.

SMART goals, examples:

  • Wrong goal: increase our sales for August.
  • Smart Objective: increase sales of X product line by 20% by August 31 of this year throughout the country. The responsibility corresponds to the management of the marketing department.

2 Measurable (Measurable)

If we do not measure the progress of a goal, we will never know how far we are from reaching a goal. A goal to be Smart must be quantifiable.

When writing an objective we should ask ourselves these questions:

  • How many? Many?
  • How will I know when it’s done? (with the objective or goal).

Measurement implies monitoring. Without wanting to abuse anglicisms, being able to measure means being able to track.

SMART goals, examples:

  • Wrong objective: to increase the average purchase ticket of the young public in our online store.
  • Smart Objective: increase the average purchase receipt in our online store by 20%. Target audience: recurring users between 16 and 29 years old (+ other data or name of the segment/target).

3 Achievable

When creating a goal we must seriously think about whether it is something possible to achieve.

Realistic goals should encourage us to move forward and not discourage us. But do we already have the necessary skills and tools to achieve it? Is there not some previous stage or step that we are leaving aside?

An achievable goal should answer:

  • How can a goal be achieved?
  • How attainable is the goal?

SMART goals, examples:

  • Wrong goal: double visits to the company’s website in one year.
  • Smart Goal: Increase visits (not users) to the company’s website from 5,000 to 10,000 per month in order to launch our new service. Deadline August 31 of next year.

4 Relevant

To be relevant, an objective must be found according to the global strategy of our brand, company or personal strategy.

Some questions to define relevant objectives:

  • Why. Asking ourselves the “why” of something helps us realize whether or not it is an important goal. We will give priority to those who really are.
  • Is the individual goal important to the overall goal (strategy)?
  • Is it the right time to set this goal?
  • Is the person assigned to the target the right one? (company, group) Am I the right person? (personal / professional brand).
  • Does the objective adapt to the reality or context in which we find ourselves?

SMART goals, examples:

  • Wrong goal: increase the sales team to be able to grow in sales.
  • Smart Objective: increase our sales team from 5 to 8 before August 31 in order to increase sales by 50% in region X of our country.

5 Time-bound

It is essential to establish a deadline to meet a goal. This is usually more difficult to achieve in the case of personal goals. Being ourselves the ones who “control” ourselves, we tend to cheat.

In any case, in the case of a company or startup , it is important to set a time frame to prevent certain tasks from being postponed due to new problems that seem “apparently” urgent.

When formulating a Smart goal we should ask ourselves:

  • When should it be finished? Set a deadline.
  • What should I do today, tomorrow, the day after…? Avoid emergencies or urgencies.
  • What should I do in 6 months? Avoid putting out fires within 6 months.

SMART goals, examples

  • Wrong goal: increase the list of subscribers to the company (or personal) blog.
  • Smart Goal: Create a new free 30-page lead-magnet . Offer it on the blog/web before August 31 to be able to request contact data against download (name, email) and thus increase the number of subscribers to our business newsletter by 5% per month.

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