Often is recommended to have your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound). Is this recommendation a good one? Why I should use SMART-goals? What is the benefit of them?

2 Answers 2


One of the benefits of SMART goals is that it is possible to measure that they are done. Ensuring that they are realistic also ensures that the goals can be achieved. Continually making unachievable goals such as "I want this program completed in 4 weeks" means that you are training your workers to ignore your goals.

I want to lose weight

This sort of resolution is made every January 1. And is useless as it doesn't say how much weight. Adding "measurable" to the goal would be "I want to lose 10 pounds." This now becomes a goal that can be measured: you lose 10 pounds or not. Adding a time frame of 3 months, this becomes "I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of March" which is a reasonable goal. In contrast, "I want to lose 10 pounds by sundown" is unrealistic, even though it has a time frame.

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    The time frame also allows you to gauge progress. Losing 10 pounds in 3 months means monthly target should be like ~3 pounds/month. If you miss this 1st month's target, you can try harder next month to catch up. Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 17:35

Sticking with the SMART discipline to the point of where everyone habitually, immediately thinks in terms in SMARTifying all goals is what makes SMART goals useful ... SMART is useful when no one has to think about being SMART, when you can trust others to be SMART without being reminded ... and you can't build discipline by messing with the formula, it is never useful to replace "Attainable" with "Adjustable."

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