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Setting SMART Goals

It’s the new year and even the start of a new decade. It’s that time again where we take some time to reflect and think on what we want to achieve this year. We’re sure that you have big plans — but how can you design your goals so that you can achieve them? 

Let’s make them SMART.

SMART stands for:

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Achievable
R: Relevant
T: Time-bound

S: Specific

The more specific your behavior, the more achievable it will be.

Instead of saying “I want to drink more water,” say “I want to drink 6 cups of water a day.” This will help you know what you need to change to make sure that you can stay on track.

M: Measurable

Measurable goals means that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements. You’ll need evidence.

Measurable goals can go a long way in refining what exactly it is that you want, too. Defining the physical representations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach.

If an average book has 200 pages, you can guess that Edith will finish a book around every 10 days. If she steadily follows her specific goal of reading 20 pages everyday, she will have read 35 books in one year (depending on the length of the book!)

A: Achievable

Make goals ambitious, but not outrageous.


  • Do I have the tools and/or resources I need to complete this goal?
  • Do I have the skill set to accomplish this goal?
  • Is this goal possible, and if so, what is my action plan?

Chege’s goal is to exercise more to be healthier as he’s a new dad and wants to be strong for his family. He currently does not do any exercise. It would not make sense for him to start running 10 Km every day for 2 hours. He should start small to make his habit more doable. Here are some options that make sense to get him started:

  • Play football once a week with a local club
  • Do 10 push-ups everyday
  • Commit to walking to work three times a week

These are small actions that will begin to build his habit in living a more physical lifestyle.

R: Relevant

Of course you are setting goals to improve your life! However, in addition to that,  it’s also important that it aligns with your other life goals. It’s super important to know clearly what your why is. Ask yourself:

  • Why do you want to achieve this goal?
  • Does that why align with other life goals?
  • Is this the right time?

Spend some time reflecting to ensure that this is the right goal to be pursuing.

T: Time-bound

Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This will ensure that everyday tasks do not get in the way of you achieving your longer-term goals. Ask yourself:

  • When do I want to achieve this goal by?
  • What can I do today to achieve my goals?
  • What should I be doing in the next 3 months to achieve my goal?

If your goal is to bring a new habit into your life, you need to stick with it for at least 90 days. That can feel like a long time but it’s how we code new behavior into our brain.

Achieving your goals is a journey. You may stumble once in a while, but don’t let it get you down. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. Try your best and know that you have the strength and will to make it happen in your life!

Let’s make 2020 the year you achieve your dreams!

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