SMART Goals: How to Set Achievable Goals

If there were certain actions we could take that would guarantee our success towards our goals, we would almost certainly do them. We all tend to gravitate towards things that we believe to make us successful, but the outcome is never guarateed. What works for one person may fall entirely flat for another, it’s just the way things are.

However, if we’re comfortable with the fact that we can simply try the best we can, then we can try to get as SMART with the approach to our goals as possible. We truly don’t know how capable we are, but there are ways we can use the SMART method to set ourselves up for success. A big part of this is emphasized with setting an achievable goal, which is what the letter A in the SMART method stands for.

The Dream Isn’t Too Big

If you’re familiar with the SMART method but are underwhelmed by its practicality, that’s perfectly understandable. What makes our goals so appealing is their loftiness--one successful goal can completely change our lives. However, just because SMART goals seem to ground you within the realm of realistic possibilities doesn’t mean you have to scrap the ones that just seem too big to conquer. The SMART system simply supplies you a framework to work with, so that you can approach your goal with logical, careful consideration.

Redefining Achievable

When we think about our ultimate goal, we may think of it as a long, hard, uphill battle. In fact, the biggest goal we set for ourselves may not be the most relevant thing in our life. But that shouldn’t deter us away from working towards it. This is where breaking down a goal into milestones can be very valuable. When you have a long road to the biggest dream in your life, there are undoubtedly going to be benchmarks that you’re going to need to set along the way. There’s nothing wrong with working towards smaller goals while keeping your biggest goal in the back of your mind.

This is how you establish confidence in yourself and learn more about what you’re passionate about along the way. You might change course completely, but you can take the work ethic you’ve adopted along the way and work towards the next thing you’re passionate about.

Examine The Paths of Others

While no one shares the same experience on the path to their dreams, it’s important to look at those you admire or those who have achieved the seemingly unachievable so you can get some inspiration and assess your own path better. What did this person have that you don’t? What hurdles did they have to climb? There are a ton of factors that play into their success.  

For example, if you were trying to become a famous actor, it may be hard to connect with someone who comes from a lineage of other celebrities, successful producers, or award-winning directors. Chances are, they grew up wealthy and lived in Los Angeles or New York, prior to being on the big screen. But there are, in fact, some actors who didn’t have the privilege of being the child of an actor or socialite, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Oprah Winfrey, and Jim Carey. (we can use examples we already have the website). Be aware of the advantages one had prior to being in an admirable position.

Break it Back Down

After you’ve gone over the specifics  and established your measurables, you can take the knowledge you’ve absorbed, and transform it into smaller goals that you have deemed achievable. Those smaller goals can serve a purpose to reach the bigger goal you’ve had all along. There are many things that could and probably will change en route to your biggest goal, but breaking it down will make things far more manageable.

Things You'll Gain Along The Way

Everyone has at least one goal that’s way out of scope, seemingly impossible to achieve. Yet you keep thinking of it, and it becomes hard to break up with. Don’t throw it away. Keep it in the back of your mind, and use the SMART method to help you get closer and closer to it. Dissecting the big goal into smaller, achievable milestones will reveal some of your better characteristics that you may have not known were already within you. You may also acquire new skills and characteristics while trying to achieve the benchmarks. Below are some characteristics you may discover while aiming to accomplish your goals:  


The feelings you experience from making strides towards your goal will make you feel better about your ability to achieve your biggest goal, and tackle all the smaller goals in your life.


There are many things that you can gain from simply pursuing your goals, even if it’s not the end result you planned. You might meet someone who can help hold you accountable, a mentor you could follow, or you could read something that helps you change your whole approach. That’s part of what makes the experience of working towards a goal so rewarding.

Learning Experiences

Putting in a genuine effort to chase our goals, whether we ultimately succeed at them or not, create formative experiences that help us learn more about ourselves than ever before. Working towards smaller achievements will enable you to chase your goals more presently without worrying about the bigger result, and you’ll be able to pinpoint these lessons more easily. Instead of saying that you simply failed towards the ultimate goal, you can identify the points where you made strides and try to work harder, or used what you learn to chase another goal.

Fire on all Cylinders

When defining the feasibility of your goal, the best thing you can do is to ensure that you have a chance to make progress. Break the big goal down into as many smaller goals as you want, just keep leaving the door open. You’ll always have an opportunity to raise the bar, just don’t set it too it high for yourself on day one. Every other component of SMART goals is meant to lift the load and help you see your vision more clearly.

Your goal will only become more tangible as you work through it, so go at your own pace and make sure you give consideration to every factor. Soon enough, any goal you give proper consideration to will become achievable.