Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Living a life without setting goals is like sailing a ship without having a planned course–you’re likely to end up somewhere you don’t want to be! This is why you need to set goals to develop yourself and achieve your dreams.

When setting goals, it’s important to make them simple, measurable, action-based, realistic, and time-based.  

Specific. What do want to achieve in your area of focus? Maybe you want to improve your relationships or improve your health? Picking a specific goal that is measurable will help you focus on one defined goal instead of a blanketed goal. Ask yourself the five “w” questions:

  • What do you I want to accomplish?
  • Why do I want to accomplish this goal?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where: identify a location.
  • Which: identify requirements and constraints.


Meaningful. Why is this goal important to you? Set goals you are passionate about. You are more likely to complete a goal that you care about. Ask yourself if the goal seems worthwhile? If so, you will have more determination and drive to finish what you set out to do.


Action-oriented. What steps will you take to achieve it? Having an overarching goal is good, but now you need to break up that goal into smaller goals that you can plan out and implement into your daily routine. Packing a healthy lunch the night before or setting up an automated deposit into your savings account are smaller step that set you up to achieve your goals. Steps require you to create a plan of action.​


Results-based. Having concrete criteria for measuring your goals creates an end goal. You are able to know how close or far away you are from reaching your goal. By setting smaller target dates, and reaching them, adds a sense of achievement that spurs you to continue on with your goal.


Timely. When do you want to achieve this goal? Grounding your goal within a specific time-frame gives you a target date. This allows you to focus on the goal even when day-to-day chores seem to pile up. This creates a sense of urgency to complete the goal.

Make sure you write your goal down and put it somewhere you will see it daily. When you write the goal down it becomes concrete-before it was only an aspiration. Seeing it daily will keep the goal on our minds more throughout the day making it more of a priority. It becomes more important on your daily to do list and hopefully turns into a habit. ​

Another way to keep track of your goals is to check in with yourself regularly and evaluate how you are doing. It may also be helpful to set mini goals that break up a larger goal into weeks or months. These regular check-ins can put you back on track when you’ve strayed from keeping your goals.

Reward yourself when you’ve completed small and large goals. Having a reward for yourself when you reach your goal can be a great external motivator when you are lacking internal motivation. The key to rewarding yourself is only using the reward you set for when you accomplish your goal. If you reward is to get a new car after you reach your goal, you can’t actually buy the car until you accomplish your goal. If you do, you’ve set a behavior that is hard to change. And now that you have the new car, it is easy to lose the motivation to continue on with your goal!

We at Lion Heart hope that you are regularly setting goals. It is a great way to build confidence, and improve your overall wellbeing. Whether you set financial, physical, or personal goals, it is important to always be pushing yourself to learn and grow.


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