What is it?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It is a widely used framework for setting and achieving goals effectively. Here’s a breakdown of each component:

  1. Specific: Goals should be clear and specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. They should answer the questions: What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important? Who is involved? Where will it happen? What are the constraints?
  2. Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable and have specific criteria for measuring progress and success. You should be able to track your progress and know when you have achieved your goal.
  3. Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable. While they should stretch your abilities and push you out of your comfort zone, they should still be within the realm of possibility.
  4. Relevant: Goals should be relevant to your overall objectives and aligned with your values. They should be worth pursuing and contribute to your long-term success.
  5. Time-bound: Goals should have a specific timeframe or deadline. This adds a sense of urgency and helps you prioritize your efforts.

Using the SMART framework helps individuals and organizations set clear goals that are more likely to be achieved. Whether you’re setting personal goals, professional goals, or project goals, making them SMART can greatly improve your chances of success.

How does it work?

Here are the steps in defining SMART goals:

  1. Specific:
    • Clearly define your goal. Be specific about what you want to accomplish.
    • Use the “5 Ws” to guide your specificity: What, Why, Who, Where, and Which.
  2. Measurable:
    • Determine how you will measure your progress and success.
    • Ask yourself, “How will I know when the goal is achieved?” and establish concrete criteria.
  3. Achievable:
    • Ensure that the goal is realistic and attainable within your capabilities and resources.
    • Consider the challenges and obstacles you might face and plan accordingly.
  4. Relevant:
    • Assess whether the goal is relevant to your broader objectives and aligns with your values.
    • Ask yourself if achieving this goal will contribute to your personal or organizational success.
  5. Time-bound:
    • Set a specific timeframe or deadline for achieving the goal.
    • Determine when you need to complete the goal and establish milestones or checkpoints along the way.


Let’s use the chocolate shop “Choc-Box” to illustrate SMART goals as an analogy:

1. Specific:

  • Not SMART: “Choc-Box wants to improve its chocolate quality.”
  • SMART: “Choc-Box aims to enhance the quality of its chocolate by sourcing fresher ingredients and refining its cooking techniques to achieve a consistent 4-star rating on customer reviews within the next six months.”

2. Measurable:

  • Not SMART: “Choc-Box wants to increase its customer base.”
  • SMART: “Choc-Box plans to increase its customer base by 20% over the next quarter by implementing a customer referral program and tracking the number of new customers acquired through it.”

3. Achievable:

  • Not SMART: “Choc-Box wants to become the best chocolate shop in the world.”
  • SMART: “Choc-Box aims to become the top-rated chocolate shop in its city by improving its menu, customer service, and marketing efforts to consistently achieve a top-three ranking in local shop review platforms within the next year.”

4. Relevant:

  • Not SMART: “Choc-Box wants to start offering sushi.”
  • SMART: “Choc-Box plans to expand its menu by introducing a new line of Italian-inspired pasta dishes, aligning with its core identity as an Italian pizzeria, to cater to a wider range of customer preferences and increase revenue by 15% within the next six months.”

5. Time-Bound:

  • Not SMART: “Choc-Box wants to increase its profits.”
  • SMART: “Choc-Box aims to boost its monthly profits by 10% through cost optimization and increased marketing efforts within the next three months.”

In this analogy, Choc-Box’s SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This approach ensures that Choc-Box has clear, focused objectives that can be effectively tracked and achieved, just like how SMART goals should work in any business or personal context.