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5.1 Your own SMART goals

In the following examples, Mike and Charity have made their goals ‘SMARTer’. Read through the following and check whether you think that they are addressing each of the SMART criteria.

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Figure 5 Case study: Possible SMART goals for Mike
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Figure 6 Case study: Possible SMART goals for Charity

Do you think they were SMART? They feel much more clearly defined than earlier, don’t they? You can also visualise them being able to tick each small goal off as they achieve them. It’s very motivating being able to do that, especially when you get past the halfway point to your final long-term goal, and can increase your confidence when you look back and see what you have already achieved – sometimes much more than you thought you were capable of!

Perhaps some of Mike’s shorter term goals could have benefited from a timescale of their own; aiming to achieve them all by the end of the year could mean leaving them all to the last minute and then not having enough time. Charity had some targets for each week and month, which would mean she could see how she was progressing at a much earlier stage.

Activity 4 Writing your own goals in a SMART way

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes for this activity.
  • Remind yourself of all the SMART criteria.
  • Now have a go at rewriting your chosen goal in a SMART way. You may want to start with something like:

    ‘By [put a date here], I will have done/I will be able to …’

  • Check that you have covered all the SMART criteria – even leaving one out can limit your chances of success. If it helps to break the goal down further into smaller goals – like the examples above – then do that. This process will be developed further next week when you draw up your action plan


It might be a good idea to look back at your notes and recheck that your goal meets all the SMART criteria after a few days – sometimes things seem very simple and clear in our heads, but they really aren’t that clear when written down. Waiting a few days allows us to assess them more objectively. You might also want to try running them past a friend or family member.

Next week you will have the chance to finalise the definition of your goal and the steps along the way – so don’t worry if you are still a bit unsure of this.