How To Make Your Goals Achievable Using The SMART System

4 of every 5 New Year resolutions fail

The reasons for that happening can be different, often even a combination of many. Some of the resolutions given don’t really reflect what actually matters to us, they are given because it feels like the right thing to do, to give in to social pressure, please others, etc. In this case, it’s for your own good to let those resolutions be forgotten. 

But sometimes our heart is in the right place when we promise to change our lives in a certain way but the goal is too big, too time-consuming, and too far out of reach. The overwhelmingness of it starts eating away the motivation and when life happens you fall off the wagon and that’s that.

So what can you do to make sure that the goals you have won’t become just those 4 New Year resolutions that are going to fail?

Instead of just having goals, you want your goals to be SMART. SMART is an acronym for the following words: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based

If a goal meets those requirements, its definition of done becomes more clear thus making it easier to understand what kind of effort and how much of it is needed to put into reaching the goal.


Your goals should be defined as clearly as possible. If they still have vagueness in them, invest some time to think about them a bit further. What is the desired end result? Definition of done? For example, if your goal was: „Become your own boss“ a more specific version of it would be: „Start a business selling online courses“


A goal that is measurable means you will be able to track its progress, keep your motivation up, and analyze if your strategy is going in the right direction to reach the goal by the deadline you set for yourself. Instead of having a goal: „Start running“ you might want to have a goal „Run 10km under 1h“. Or instead of „Start a business of selling online courses“ you may want to define it as „Create an online course and have 10 people take it“


Your goals should challenge you but instead of scaring you with how big they are, they should inspire you. Turning your goals into ones that are attainable means looking at them realistically and asking yourself if they make sense knowing your previous experience and the time and energy you can realistically invest into them. If a busy parent of three kids and a 9-5 job sets a goal of „Working out 6 times a week 1h per day“ the chances that life will happen, energy and motivation will burn out, is pretty high. 

Keep in mind that everything you do that resonates with the changes you want to have in your life, drives you a bit closer to them. Ok, the speed may not be 100km/h but you’re moving still in the right direction. So if realistically you have only 15 minutes of time to exercise per day or only one day in a week to work on your side project it’s still better than gritting your teeth for a month to meet your original unattainable goals and then quitting it completely because you burned yourself out


Your goals should be something that you do for yourself because they matter to you at this very moment. If a goal is there to please others, your motivation won’t be the same. If you have other things in your life that matter to you the most, it could be that the timing for this goal isn’t right. 

For example, you have just started a new business that takes all your energy and time right now to get it running smoothly. It wouldn’t be good timing to set yourself an additional goal that would compete for the same time and energy that goes into that business, such as learning a new skill that is unrelated to your business.


We touched on the setting of deadlines already yesterday when you learned that putting a deadline on a dream turns it into a goal. Bill Gates has however said that people overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 3 years. 

Stay honest with yourself and think of the measurable part of your goals to give them a deadline. You don’t want to go too gentle there to trick your brain into thinking – aah there’s still plenty of time, no rush, we can take it easy. By putting rather aggressive than mild deadlines you force yourself to focus on the important and not give yourself too much slack. It’s a good idea to break the goal into smaller steps. 

If your goal is to release a book, you might give yourself a day per chapter, completing 5 chapters per week. Next think how much time would go into post-editing, design work, finding a publisher, etc