In order for goals to be successful, rather than just ideas, it is best to write them down and follow a clear structure ensuring that they are S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T is a mnemonic that can be used to help ensure that effective objectives or goals are 


set and guide progression, it stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timebound

An objective is a sub-goal. It identifies a short-term, measurable step within a designated period of time that is moving toward achieving a long-term goal.

Example phrases for you to consider


Specific objectives are clear and well-defined.

Significant, Stretching, Simple.

I want to be “good”

I want to be “better”

I want to “improve”

How much better?  How good?


Progress towards objectives often need to be to be monitored whilst work is under way.

Meaningful, Motivational, Manageable

How will you measure progress? Who will measure it?


Achievable objectives ensure that everything is in place and that if the person does not reach their goal they cannot reasonably point the finger elsewhere and would need to reflect on why the desired outcome/goal was not achieved.

Appropriate, Agreed, Assignable, Actionable, Action


Objectives should also add useful value within the context where they are being set, being aligned with strategies and higher goals.

Relevant, Results/Results-focused/Results-oriented, Resourced


Giving a time scale adds an appropriate sense of urgency and ensures that the objectives meet agreed time scales.

Time-oriented, Time framed, Time-based, Timely, Timetabled, Time limited, Trackable, Tangible

When (date) will you re-assess your goals?

How do you measure your progress?

An update on the smart mnemonic is the addition of ‘ER’ which makes them SMARTER and includes:

  • Evaluate
  • Review

This is good practice and ensures you continue the cycle.


Ethical, excitable, enjoyable, engaging.


Reevaluate, rewarded, reassess, revisit, recordable, rewarding, reaching

How do I get started?

Commit to starting and when you start this is the order M-A/R-S-T that is proven to be the best way to write objectives.

Measurable is the most important consideration. You will know that you’ve achieved your objective, because here is the evidence. Make sure you state how you will record your success.

It is important that if you are setting a goal or an objective for other people that everyone involved can understand it – your objective is free from jargon – you’ve defined all your terms.  This will ensure clarity and a consistent language.

Finally when reviewing always consider:

The Leap Team hope that this will provide you with a good foundation to begin creating your own meaningful goals and objectives that will bring you future success. We would love to hear your own success stories that have come about with the help of implementing SMART.

Check out the online CPD Hub or stay informed with our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Thanks for reading and please do comment and share, should you have anything you want to ask us, please do get in touch here:

Karen Waite


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