Turn Your Average Goals into SMART Goals

Goals, we all have them…but few of us know how to set proper goals. The problem is that we don’t make SMART Goals.


I was facilitating a workshop recently about goals, and participant after participant shared their goal with the group. They went something like this:

My goal is to be happy. 

My goal is to be rich. 

My goal is to go to college. 

Some would think these goals are great goals, but as I set there listening to others share, I could only think about how poor these goals were.  Most people’s goals are ridiculously ambiguous. How do you measure happiness? When do you want to graduate from college? And with what degree? Where do you want to go to college? If you set a SMART Goal, you will answer these questions by removing the ambiguity and making it specific.


One way to make your goal a SMART Goal is to make it more specific. I typically lead workshop participants in the Triple S activity. The Triple S activity takes your goal and makes it much more specific. Go ahead and try it out…write your goal down. I will use the “Go to College” goal as my example.

Original Goal: Go to College
1st S: Make it more specific.
Example: Go to the University of Georgia.

2nd S: Make it even more specific.
Example: Go to the University of Georgia and major in Accounting.

3rd. S: Make it even more specific.
Example: Go to the University of Georgia and major in Accounting and minor in Financial Planning.

The Triple S Activity will help narrow your scope and improve your goal. Isn’t the third example a much better goal than the original goal? Make your goal much more specific and you will be on the first step towards making your goal a SMART Goal.


Have you ever had the goal to lose weight? It is one of the most common goals on the planet (well, maybe just the USA), and is rarely achieved. One reason is because if your goal is to lose weight, you have a poor goal.

If your goal is to lose weight and you lose 0.0001 pounds, did you achieve your goal? Of course you did! Your goal was to lose weight and you did! Congrats! Go ahead and eat that burger…you deserve it.

The truth is you need to make your goals measurable to make them SMART Goals. If you change your weight loss goal to “I want to lose 10 pounds,” you immediately have a better goal. A goal does not have to be measured by a number to be measurable. When finished, you want to able to say, “I have finished this goal.” In our previous example, if you change our college goal to “I want to graduate from the University of Georgia and major in Accounting and minor in Financial Planning,” it makes it measurable. You will either graduate or you won’t graduate, either way it is measurable.


When you make your goal attainable, you are really determining if you can actually achieve this goal. Let’s be honest, some people are either super secure in their ability or just plain crazy. When we determine if our goal is attainable, we must also be realistic.

I would love to be the starting QB for the OU Sooners. I have always loved the team, and I think I could be the guy to help Bob Stoops win the next elusive BCS title. However, if I was making a SMART Goal, I would check to see if it was attainable. Can I throw a football more than 15 yards? No. Can I run faster than a 7.5 40-yard-dash? No. Can I read defenses without getting smashed by a 250 lb. linebacker? No. I could try with all my might and try to make my goal a SMART Goal, but I would never be the starting QB for the Sooners.

Regardless of your SMART Goal, it is utterly important to remember that it is 100% up to you if your goal is attainable. I can not tell you that you can’t achieve your goal. Neither can your parents, or your teachers, your friends, or even your enemies. I think if you are realistic with your goals and passionate about what you are doing, then you are the only one to decide if you can do it.


When making SMART Goals, you must always ask the “Why?” of goal setting. This is the reason why you are aspiring to complete this goal. Why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for? Why are you busting your tail, pushing away nay-sayers, and staying up late nights to achieve this goal?

I encourage you to write a list of why this goal is relevant to you. Even better yet, create a scrapbook of the “why.” Include pictures of your family, your dream house, your ideal job, vacation destinations, etc. This will be a visual reminder when the going gets tough and you feel like giving up.


So far we have made our goal more specific, we have made it measurable, we know that it is achievable, and why we are trying to complete this goal. When are we going to finish our goal?

Without a deadline a goal can last years and years…seeing no end in sight. Statistics have proved time and time again that if you set a deadline you have a much higher success rate. Check out this SMART Goal from our original goal.

Original Goal:

“I want to go to college.”


“I want to graduate from the University of Georgia and major in Accounting and minor in Financial Planning by the Spring of 2017.”

Which of these two goals do you think will be achieved? Set SMART Goals and see huge results. Write your goal down, put it in your wallet or on your mirror, or on your phone. Review it weekly, if not daily, to see the best results.

What is your SMART Goal? I would love to share with you in your success.

Ryan Eller


2 comments on “Turn Your Average Goals into SMART Goals

  1. Pingback: Bucket List by Threes | Ryan Eller

  2. Pingback: Shout It From The Mountaintop | Ryan Eller

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