“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

An innocent enough question to ask a five-year-old often met with equally innocent answers like fireman, police officer, or astronaut. Some have less conventional responses like zebra, or Moon Princess. Regardless of the realm of possibility, most five-year-olds don’t fully comprehend the extensive requirements needed to make these goals a reality.

So, how do we start making our dreams a reality? What do we do when our goals seem too big or straight up impossible? We have to be SMART about it.

Now, we’re not talking about something as simple as saying “be intelligent about our life’s choices.” That much should be obvious to anybody who is looking to succeed in life. This is another one of those acronyms that’s meant to help redefine thought processes.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based with the intent to frame one’s goals within realistic parameters allowing one to see progress in a timely and visible manner.

Ex: I want to have $10,000 in my savings account in five years.

We’ll break down how the example above uses the SMART concept, but first, let’s go into what each letter stands for.


This is the end result. Be specific with what we want to accomplish. “I want to get a job. I want to graduate college. I want to save money.” Find a broad category and whittle it down to a specific thing.

Physical fitness objectives could be weight, cardio, diet, etc.

Vocational objectives could be more hours, pay, projects, etc.

Financial/material objectives could be establishing a budget, investment plans, buying a boat, etc.

Put it down on paper. It doesn’t matter what the objective is. This is the chance to identify the want or need. Just be specific with what that goal is. It doesn’t have to be extremely detailed, but it will establish a clear objective to work towards.


This is the metric of success that we’ll be using to determine if we’ve accomplished a goal or not. Now, there doesn’t have to be a numeric value assigned to every goal. Many goals simply have a yes or no condition. But this can gives us an opportunity to measure goals in a tangible ways.

I want to run a MILE in TEN minutes. I want to have $1,000. I want to write ONE paragraph.


Now that we’ve identified our want and we’ve assigned a metric to our goal; let’s see if we’re being realistic. Can we be a millionaire by the end of next week? Is buying a Lamborghini within our means?

Be aware that just because a goal is daunting or might seem impossible, it can actually be attainable given enough time and effort. Feel free to establish an overarching goal with a series of smaller objectives. Don’t be discouraged, but be realistic while we’re setting ourselves up for success.

Also, recognize that certain goals may be too broad, subjective or beyond our technology to truly ‘attain.’ World peace, time travel, or understanding the meaning of life, while worthy by nature, may be beyond the scope of this practice.


Speaking of overarching goals, ensure the objectives we are setting are all feeding into the same end result. Try not to set goals that are counterproductive. For example: Maybe don’t try to work through every local food challenge while attempting a diet plan. Likewise, taking a bunch of loans out could make achieving financial stability complicated.

To be fair, we are all human. It’s okay to do counterproductive things from time to time, but try to minimize these moments so we can have more progression, and less regression.


Lastly, and this is one of the most important parts, give the goals a deadline. This will allow us to see how far we’ve come. It will give a finish line to look forward to. It will give us the ability to hold ourselves accountable, should we fail to meet our deadlines.

Be reasonable when assigning a timeline. If we’re looking to begin a specific career, or get a promotion, it will take some. Few people step into a job and immediately become the boss. Even fewer do so and understand the position well enough to do the job right. Research averages so we can understand what is reasonable and use the deadlines to reevaluate and adjust as needed.

Please note that if a deadline is broken, don’t give up. Sometimes, we go into processes without fully understanding the effort involved. Any number of variables can delay us. Be honest with what factors came into play and find ways to account for those things moving forward.


So, now that we know what SMART goals are, let’s break down the example above and detail out how we can get there.

Ex: I want to have $10,000 in my savings account in five years.

Specifically, we want 10,000 dollars. We are measuring this goal with the dollar amount being identified. It is feasible to save this amount of money. It’s relevant because we like money and lastly, we have a time frame to hold ourselves to.

We can use this example as an overarching objective that we can work toward without hurting ourselves in the process. Whether that’s establishing a budget that involves monthly deposits, finding items around the house to sell and fund this effort, or researching alternative methods of making money.

Hopefully, now you have a tool available to help you attain your life’s dreams. With SMART goals, we can achieve nearly anything given enough time and effort. Not everything has to happen at once. Chip away at that masterpiece one piece at a time.

Article by: Whooh