SMART Goals: How to Set Specific Goals

SMART goal setting has become a proven method towards reaching your goals. When you use all of the components together, you have a more solid foundation in your approach to success. According to SMART, there are five components necessary to reach your goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. All of these factors will come to your aid at one point on the path to your goals.

In order to have a concise vision, you need to make sure your objectives are as focused as possible. This is why it’s essential to be specific. Being specific will help you establish what needs to get done, how it needs to get done, and the significance behind your goal.

The Impact of Specificity

All of us at one point have strived for something, we also know what it feels like to fail.  If we look back at what went wrong, a lot of us could probably say that we didn’t really focus in on the mission at hand. The reason for this is that we were most likely stuck focusing on a general result when we need to give more consideration to the entire journey. This is where it’s so important to be specific. If your goal is framed as more of a wish rather than a mission, then you’re far more likely to end up disappointed.

Specificity Driven by Practicality

Specificity pays off in two different types of ways when you’re approaching your goal. The first way is that being specific helps you form your vision from a more practical point of view. The most classic example where this serves a purpose is when you’re trying to lose weight. The first thing you need to do is give yourself a figure to reach so that there’s a specific number to strive towards. Instead of simply aiming to lose weight, aim to lose twenty pounds. Additionally, giving yourself a time frame helps you incorporate more SMART techniques into your goal.

Purpose Driven Specificity

Having a metric for added specificity driven to your goal is a great start, but purpose-driven specificity is what will ultimately generate the most excitement towards your goal and will keep you pushing through each obstacle. How do you generate your purpose before a goal? You ask yourself the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When, and Why).

5 W’s Goal Breakdown

Goal: I want to lose 20 pounds in 15 weeks.


Who is this goal for? In this scenario, the obvious answer is you, because you’re trying to lose weight, but there also might be someone in your corner who you’re doing trying to lose weight for. As long it’s a positive reinforcement for your motivation, there are no wrong answers.


What needs to be done in order for this goal to be achieved? What resources do you need? What do you have to change? Think about the steps that need to be taken in order to be successful. You can always adjust course later. In the case of losing weight, the actions that would need to be taken would be exercising and dieting. You may need to buy equipment, get a gym membership, and look into healthier food options for yourself.


Ask yourself where this goal can be accomplished. What places are going to facilitate your success toward your goal? Where can you find like-minded people to help you stay accountable and vice versa? Again, in the case of losing weight, a gym would be the primary answer, but there also groups both online and in person that you can associate with about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All of these things will do a world of good.


There’s always a purpose behind wanting to achieve something, but often times we need to really pinpoint it so we remained focus along the way. Why would you be trying to lose weight? Is it recommended by your doctor? Is it so you can boost your self-esteem? A combination of both? Figuring out the relevance behind a goal  and constantly reminding yourself of why you’re doing it is essential for your success. Whatever your reason is, make sure your conviction is strong enough so that chasing the goal always make sense.


When are you going to start this goal? When are you going to exercise? When will start a new diet?  When are you stopping eating for the day? Establishing when you’ll perform these tasks helps you form steady habits and a routine that you’ll need to stay focused. 

Build Your Story

When you merge the practical and emotional standpoints of specificity, you start to understand your story more. You figure out who you are before, during, and after you reach your goal.

being specific helps make your goal more tangible and compelling. You not only establish your framework so you can focus on it more, but you also discover more about the motivation behind it, and the significance it plays in your life.

Being specific helps you form the story of who are you now, and who you want to become. It makes you want to achieve your goal significantly more. If the purpose attached to your goal never leaves you, and you’re familiar with your story throughout the whole process, then you’ll derive more meaning throughout the whole process.