Pennwell web 100 150


Jan. 10, 2012
Don't Just Set Any Kind of Goal; Set a SMART Goal by Kristine Hodsdon, RDH

When creating a vision for your life, and setting goals to help you obtain that vision, you don’t want to set just any kind of goal, you want to set a S-M-A-R-T Goal.

What is a SMART Goal? A SMART Goal is an acronym that captures all the necessary components of a goal that is well thought out, planned and articulated. It’s the criteria that a goal needs in order for it to be achieved. SMART goals are:

  • Specific — Very clear about what will be accomplished.
  • Measurable — Include a quantifiable way of tracking progress from start to finish.
  • Achievable — Challenging, and at the same time realistic.
  • Relevant — In harmony with core values and passions.
  • Timely — Have deadlines attached to it.
“S” — Make Your Goals Specific
In order for you to achieve a goal, you must be very clear about what you’re after. This is to help you focus your efforts and clearly define what you are going to do.When being specific in setting your goal, clearly define what are you going to do?What do you want to ultimately accomplish and how are you going to do it?“M” — Make Your Goals Measurable
It’s crucial to be able to track your progress towards reaching a goal. That’s why all goals need to be measurable. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. By making it measurable, you will know whether you are on track. Being able to measure progress can also motivate you to keep going, help you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement. So it’s important to include exact amounts, dates, etc. in order to establish the amount of success you are meeting with. “A” — Make Your Goals Achievable
A good goal is one that, on the one hand, challenges us, but on the other hand, is not so unrealistic that we have absolutely no chance of accomplishing it. Make sure the goal can be achieved. Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won't stick to. Although you may start with the best of intentions, you will become demoralized and your confidence will wither away. A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. “R” — Make Your Goals Relevant
Do you really, really want this goal or does it just sound nice? Goals need to be relevant to what you really want for your life. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. By keeping goals aligned with your values, talents, and passions you will develop the focus you need to get what you want. Goals themselves do not provide any happiness. Instead, it’s when we achieve goals that are in harmony with our values and talents that we experience fulfillment. “T” — Make Your Goals Timely
The greatest motivating force is when there’s a sense of urgency. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards. If you don't set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. This means you must define deadlines in order to get things done. Without deadlines, you have no real compelling reason or motivation to even start working on your goals. Set a fixed year, month, day, and even hour for accomplishing your goal. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

Kristine A. Hodsdon, RDH, is an oral health strategist, executive coach, writer, and speaker, with scores of public speaking appearances to her credit. Through firsthand experience and a combined clinical, sales and marketing strategy, she offers a synergy of knowledge and real world history making her uniquely equipped to empower individuals and businesses through the delivery of educational programs and evidence-based messages. Kristine welcomes comments at