Smart Goals: Guide, Importance, and Examples

Goal Setting, A Guide To Achievable Yet Efficient Work Plan 

Setting a goal is crucial. What’s equally important is to ensure the achievability of the same. To make these objectives more practical, a set of factors can be assistive. These can pave a clear path of what needs to be done in a perfect sequence. 

One such idea is SMART goals. With five different attributes to ensure all dimensions are polished, this concept assists students or even adults in making their goals further achievable. In this article, we will look into all about these goals in detail for your comprehension. Each step in it is explained well, suiting for implementation. 

SMART Goals: Breaking down the acronym 

While crafting a goal/objective, five distinct traits must be ensured. Commonly known as SMART goals, here is what it actually implies:


While these goals are focussed on priorities and long-term achievements, SMART goals are directed more toward day-to-day tasks, allowing a rather structured and committed way towards the long run. With that being said, let’s get into the details of the thought process they represent:

  • Specific(S): The specificity of a goal involves a crisp idea of what needs to be achieved without the steps involved to do so. The answer to this may cover the “WH” family to get the answer we might be looking for. 
  • Measurable(M):  To estimate the time and efforts to achieve, the goals need to be quantified. The goal must have certain criteria to measure the progress made in order to achieve the goal. This makes each objective measurable and also individuals can make accurate track of their progress. 
  • Achievable (A): This factor ensures the reality check of the goal. When finish lines are real, the path can get unveiled with proper analysis. Accordingly, any objective needs to be achievable to accomplish.  
  • Relevant (R): This requires us to keep a perspective that aligns with the wider aspects of our tasks. If the goals being set aren’t interlinked to what we aim to achieve in the bigger picture,  then the direction we have chosen is definitely leading us away from our goals instead. 
  • Time Bound (T): Working aimlessly is never considered hard work. Realistic timelines and an even realistic perspective toward what can be achieved in that duration is what sets apart the efficiency of one’s plan using SMART goals. 

Components of SMART goal setting exemplified 

To better explain the steps of SMART goal setting, let us have a look at an example that would clear out the haze of confusion and helps in creating them for yourself. 

Michael wants to score the first position in his grade, and he plans to study during the summer vacations for 2 months to get ahead of the school syllabus, at least by a chapter in each subject and scoring more than 92% in each practice test, that’s supposed to happen every Sunday evening. 

Here, the specific goal is to achieve the first position in the grade without any ifs and buts. 

The measurability of this goal can be achieved by scoring 92% in all the practice tests.

With constant practice through the week before Sunday, Michael can achieve his goal by enhancing his skills and eliminating his mistakes eventually.  

Similarly, looking to excel in studies can ensure a bright future, thereby making this goal relevant in terms of its tangibility. With a deadline of two months, it makes the goal rather timebound, instilling motivation to make sure all the other steps are adhered to in the meanwhile. 

Implications of setting goals, the S.M.A.R.T. way

While goal setting might seem like a task that revolves only around the education of work-life, it is a sure-shot way to organize other tasks as well. 

This way, growth may be ensured with specific planning. SMART goals are not bound to help in a particular domain of life, when employed carefully, one can use them to maintain healthy relationships, track one’s health progress, prioritize important aspects while managing time to gain experience in every domain of life, one wishes to. 

SMART goals have proven to be a great way to promote clarity and focus of an individual’s priorities. It gives a clear view of what needs to be done, thereby developing our knowledge around what shouldn’t be done, allowing us to master the skills and gain knowledge around our goals well in time. 

For example, we can understand the same by an instance of SMART goals in Medicine: Consider choosing a profession in medicine and not knowing that the life you have chosen will never be solely yours again. It will be dedicated to patient care at almost all hours, and the educational part of it is similarly a long-running task too. In such cases, the amount of passivity it brings to someone’s life apart from the time that got wasted on something one doesn’t feel passionate enough for is beyond imagination. 

In such situations, this could have been eliminated if the student would have followed the routine of setting SMART goals, thus making sure he/she had the apt knowledge before setting such a committed goal and whether it would be realistic for them in the future. 

Examples of SMART goals for students 

With a very apt example in hand, it makes sense to consider that the practice of setting SMART goals should begin in student life. It will not only allow the students to enjoy the benefits[1] it brings along but bring them into a healthy practice of using this technique which would eventually go on to become an integral part of their lives. 

1. Dividing the strength of the goals 

Students can divide their goals into three categories that are long-term goals, intermediate-range goals, and short-term goals. With a template like this in hand, elaborating these objectives  SMARTly becomes easier and allows them to manage time and seek the required skills and knowledge beforehand. Moreover, the goals may be curated fitting the pace of the learner ensuring the best implications. 

2. Infuse extra skills apart from the Curriculum 

Student life is about education, for the most part, is also often about experiencing and experimenting. It is imperative to not just set goals just around academic success but also around sports, socialising, and working on relationships as one grows. This can help instill confidence in a student’s life and allow them to experience a fuller and organised face of life. 

3. Sharing Objectives to Ameliorate

The life of a student, even if it is arduous,  with the right kind of support it may be transformed and manageable. Nonetheless, not everything a student chooses or decides might take them onto the desirable path. It is SMART to share your goals with parents or mentors and ask for their feedback. 

Simultaneously, the other way to share goals could be to find a study partner or, let’s rephrase it to a SMART partner with similar goals and curate a supplemental timeline and motivate each other to work on them and find success. 

SMART goals- Can they work for adults too?

With age comes responsibilities; thereby, needing to better plan for a goal is often obligatory for adults as well. Accordingly, we have some insights to share about how this practice can be utilized in adult life and the unique advantages it brings to the table at various stages of life. 

1. Redefining values and habits:

Values, Habits, and Goals are three pit stops of a circular track, where all of them are somehow linked to each other and allow the continuous evolution of the other. The values an individual believes in, form the basis for their habits, which in turn can decide the pace and the realistic destinations of their goals. 

Nonetheless,  SMART goal setting can help an adult identify the gaps between their past and present personal growth and help them bridge that gap with a plan that’s realistic and motivating as it is congruent with their values and, thus, leading to a fulfilling life. 

SMART Goals for adults

2. Review and consider different aspects of life.

This could effectively allow an adult individual to focus on the major and minor aspects of life efficiently, all managed into a bundle of carefully curated plans that has space for their ifs and buts, pushing them to opt for a healthy lifestyle, work on relationships and strive for a work-life balance,  and hone skills that one might have always wanted to learn. 

3. Reframe standards of success:

Life may bring about multiple changes and challenges. Accordingly, reframing the measurements of success at each of these phases, considering the responsibilities one has, can help an adult prevent any sort of anxiety that comes with the already built up stressors and strive for a life that is more personalized than being measured on the basis of standards set by the society. 


While one may clearly comprehend that putting in the effort is important. Nevertheless, a certain path and strategy may also be equally pivotal. Combining the SMART features to the goal makes it further achievable and aligned.

Check out the above-stated insights to get a better idea of crafting a goal. Further, it may be crucial to note that these attributes work for all age groups. One may need to analyse their goal and settings and then determine these factors to ensure custom-tailored objectives.               


  1. Lawlor, K. B. (2012). Smart goals: How the application of smart goals can contribute to the achievement of student learning outcomes. In Developments in business simulation and experiential learning: Proceedings of the annual ABSEL conference (Vol. 39).                              

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