SMART Goals

An aspiration is, by its very nature, more abstract and long-term. It is the vision we have for ourselves—our purpose, dream, or why. For your aspirations to be actionable, however, they need to have specific and time-bound goals.

This is the purpose of SMART Goals. It teaches us how to set effective goals—goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Specific means that the goal is concrete enough that you know what success looks like. “I want to be healthy and full of energy” is an aspiration, and it’s not specific—you can’t know when you have achieved it. A specific goal for that might be, “To sleep at least 7-8 hours every night.”

Measurable means that the success is quantifiable, so you can track your progress. There may be a single variable that you are measuring (e.g., money saved, pounds lost, hours practiced, people contacted); or, for more complex goals, you’ll need to break them down into milestones (phases).

Achievable means that your goal is realistic and attainable for you. You need to feel that you can actually do it; otherwise, it will hard to keep yourself motivated. Think of the steps, attitudes, skills, and resources you need to make it a reality. If the goal is not achievable, either get the resources you need to make it achievable or set a different goal.

Relevant means the goal is aligned with your deeper values and aspirations, and it is challenging enough to keep you interested. Goals are relevant if they move you toward your aspirations. 

Time-bound means the goal has a (realistic) deadline. If you don’t have this, you may end up procrastinating forever.

SMART goals are clear goals—and with clarity comes strength, conviction, and the motivation to be disciplined in your chosen journey. If your goals are SMART, it’s more likely that you will achieve them.

Here are some examples of aspirations in different areas of life, and possible SMART Goals:

AreaAspirationSMART Goal
HealthTo live to 100 with perfect health and mobilityTransition into a permanent 16:8 intermittent fasting regime within the next 30 days.
CareerBe recognized as a leading voice in the field of XYZBuild some thought-leadership by publishing a short article every week for the next 6 months.
FinancesOwn a four-bedroom house with a large yard in a beautiful locationSave 20% of my income every month until I get X amount of dollars.
Personal GrowthBecome fully confident, grounded, and free from anxietyDo 20 minutes of meditation every morning, and one hour of self-reflection every Sunday.

Once you have achieved a goal, you get another goal connected to the same aspiration. The aspirations remain the same, while you cycle through short-term goals. Goal by goal, you are living your aspirations and getting closer to their fulfillment.

It might be hard to create specific and measurable goals connected to less tangible aspirations regarding personal growth, relationships, and spirituality. That said, it is possible—and equally necessary. For example, if your goal is to be more positive and optimistic, you could keep a diary of how many times per day you complain or worry needlessly; then your goal would be to diminish that to a specific number.

So your next step is to create at least one SMART Goal for each of your aspirations, and add them to the aspiration page in the app.

Doing this makes your goal more “official”, and more real for your brain. In fact, research from Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, indicated that simply writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them. Now imagine that you not only write them down, but have them always in your pocket and review them regularly. That is what this app can help you do!

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