Achieving things in life is much easier if one sets up achievable goals. It is impossible to reach a destination if you don't know where that destination is!

So, where to get started? I just love this quote from Mark Twain, it is perfect for setting achievable goals: The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

Before we begin, I want to say that this is how I set my goals and how I see setting achievable goals should be done. This method may or may not be the right one for you.

So, for me setting achievable goals starts from the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. criteria. These letters stand for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Timely

  • Enjoyable

  • Rewarding

This criteria comes from the project management industry, but in my opinion it is useful for all types of goals.

Goals Must Be Specific

First things first, as you set your goal it must be specific. For instance “I want to save a lot of money” is not specific at all, but “I want to have 25,000 dollars saved in my bank account by 1.1.2020” is.

By setting your goals specific your actions will be more specific as well since you know exactly what you want to accomplish.


Goals Must Be Measurable

If your goal is not measurable, it is difficult to see if you are making progress or not.

Going back to our earlier example “I want to have 25,000 dollars saved in my bank account by 1.1.2020”, this is quite measurable. You know the amount of money you want to save and you know your deadline. We can measure both amount of money and time.

This way you can keep track on your progress and will know if you are going to right direction.


Goals Must Be Attainable

Set your goals so that they are attainable. If I would set the money-saving goal for something like 100,000,000 dollars, it would not be attainable at all.

If your goal is not attainable, you are going to get frustrated sooner or later when you notice that it is impossible to reach. If you can't reach your goal, changes are that you give up on your it completely and never achieve anything at all.


Goals Must Be Relevant

If your goal is not relevant with the things you want to do in your life, then why it would be your goal in the first place? Having your goals relevant with your way of thinking makes it more easy to achieve them.


Goals Must Be Timely

You must set a time limit for your goals. Otherwise you easily end up moving your tasks for another day. This has been a big problem for me. For some reason I find myself easily thinking “maybe I do this tomorrow, it does not hurt to do it later.”

When I set a time limit for my goals and break it apart for daily tasks, I know that I must do them in order to get forward and reach my goal eventually.


Goals Must Be Enjoyable

If you absolutely hate trying to achieve the goal you set, then it is very hard to reach it. Of course some things in life are not that fun and we still must do them, but it is best to have the right kind of mindset and try to enjoy doing the things involving your goal.

Setting achievable goals is easier if you like the things you must do.


Goals Must Be Rewarding

And the last part of this criteria is that the goal should be rewarding. If I don't feel that achieving my goal is rewarding, then I don't have motivation to even try to make it happen.


I hope you find the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Criteria useful on setting achievable goals and getting things done. Good luck to you!