Goal Setting: The Ultimate Guide to set S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals

September 11, 2020
paper airplane aimed at the sun with words goal setting the ultimate guide

I remember goal setting being thrown around in my management classes. I understood the reason why we should set goals for business, but it never occurred to me that you should also set goals for yourself. Most of my life I have lived without a clear plan of what I wanted to accomplish or become. I only got into goal setting when I ran into yearcompass in 2017 and since then, I have been actively setting goals. Goal setting is simply drafting an action plan that will guide and motivate you to accomplish a goal. Here are 5 vital tips to guide you through goal setting;

The fewer goals you set the better

Experts on goal setting somewhat disagree on how many goals you should set at a particular time. But one thing is for sure, less is more. Nathan Morris once said, “It is not always that we need to do more but we need to focus on less.” Staying within 3 to 7 goals at any particular time is generally recommended. While 3 goals are on the lower side, they can be easily accomplished with focus and consistency. 7 goals might be a stretch for a day or even a year, but it is likely you will accomplish more when you aim high.

Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals

If you have been in any management class, you have most probably covered how your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. However, in author Michael Hyatt’s book, Your best year yet, he covers 7 criteria which your goals must meet, S.M.A.R.T.E.R;


You must be precise with what you would like to accomplish. The more precise you are, the easier it will be to measure your results. For instance, a goal like learning a new language might seem harmless but unless it is specific you will not be able to measure your success. Instead, Learn German is very specific.


This goes hand in hand with specific goals but your goals can still be specific without being measurable. Taking our previous goal, by adding the level of German you would want to achieve, you make it measurable. That is Learn German until B1 level.


Your goals should always begin with a verb as this portrays it as the actionable plan it should be. Our goal, Learn German until B1 level begins with a verb thus it is actionable. Using ‘will’ is also a great way to make your goal actionable, that is I will learn German until B1 level.


Your goals should be aligned to your values, the current season of your life and to other goals as well. Say you started off the year by breaking your ankle, your goal of running a Half-marathon mid-year will no longer be relevant but you could set a new goal of staying fit regardless of your physical condition.


Your goals should have deadlines or specific time frames in which they should be accomplished. Michael Hyatt claims a goal without a set time frame is simply a dream, so make sure you set time for every goal you set. For instance, I will lose 15 kgs by August 31st is a timely goal with a deadline.


Try and make your goals exciting. Having exciting goals gives you that extra dash of motivation you may require to actually achieve them. For instance, I will lose 15kgs by August 31st via dancing sounds very exciting.


Experts say a good goal should stretch you out of your comfort zone. While this may be difficult for beginners, it is still important to cross your comfort zone regardless. A goal like Make 5 new career connections is easily achievable but it is important to challenge yourself, turn it in to make 20 new career connections.

Always write down your goals for smarter goal setting

writing down your goals for smarter goal setting

Writing down your thoughts and ideas is powerful. Research has shown that those who write down their goals achieve them significantly compared to those who do not write them down. Writing down your goals forces you to be clear on what you would like to achieve and helps you formulate the strategies to achieve them.

Review your goals frequently for smarter goal setting

Many of us set goals and never go back to review and track our progress. This is a common reason why people do not accomplish their goals and which I have been guilty of multiple times in the past. It is vital to measure and track your goals to make sure you stay on track and take the necessary steps to achieve them.

Guard your goals against evil for smarter goal setting

It is important to guard your goals. You do not need to stand on top of the tallest building and proclaim your goals to the world. The only people you should be telling your goals are people who will play an important role in achieving them. Otherwise, you will risk getting demotivated by low achievers or people who don’t share the same vision, values and principles as you do.

I hope this post, will give you a comprehensive insight on how to get started setting your goals and ultimately achieving them. Sign up for my email list to get notified when I release the goal-setting handbook. See 6 hacks that will help you achieve your goals.

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