Learning how to write a goal is the first important step in the goal setting process. There are good ways and bad ways to write goals.
Your odds of completing your goals go way up once you make the commitment to write them down. When written correctly, they go up even higher.
At the 100 Goals Club, the goals focused on are life goals. The steps in how to write a goal applies equally to goals in all areas of your life, whether personal goals, career goals or in any of the 10 life goal categories featured on this site:
The following are some basic guidelines for writing down a goal:
SMART goal setting starts with understanding the "SMART" acronym:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Relevant
T - Timebound
Each of these is detailed below:
Be very specific about your goals. The following table illustrates a poorly written goal that is not specific, and a well written goal that is.
Poorly Written Non-Specific Goal
Well Written Specific Goal
I want to lose weight
I will achieve my optimal body weight of 160 lbs before my Xth birthday.
I will travel the world
I will travel to a major city on each continent before I turn 50.
I want to get in shape
I will be able to do 50 push-ups and run a mile without stopping, by May 1, 2023.
I want to make more money
I will increase my income by $ 5,000 within the next year by Dec 31, 2022.
Goals need to be measurable in terms of knowing whether or not you have achieved your goal or not. A goal that says “I want to lose weight” is not measurable. A goal to lose a total of 25 lbs is.
Your “Target” goals need to be attainable. Your “Outrageous” goals do not. Select Target Goals that any reasonable person, specifically you, will say that with dedicated effort and time, the goal is an attainable goal given your current circumstances in life.
If you currently have a 65% average in your Senior year of High School and want to go to University to be a Veterinarian or a Doctor, its not realistic to think you could attain that goal due to the high entrance averages required for these programs, typically 90%+.
As an outrageous goal however, if you are passionate about this, definitely write it down.
Smart goal setting needs to be relevant to your life. To use the above example of being a Doctor, if you currently have very little interest in the medical field and want to be a Doctor because of the high-income potential or your parents wanting this for you, I would suggest to you this goal is not relevant to who you are as a person.
Choose goals that are relevant to you and the life you want to live.
The time component of SMART goal setting is to be time specific by saying when you will accomplish your goal.
In setting Life Goals, because of the longer-term nature of these goals, the aspect of time achievement will likely be longer term than if you were establishing goals with a shorter horizon. It is best to establish goals which are a balance of short, medium and long-term goals.
If all your goals can be accomplished within the next year then you are setting your goals too easy. If they will all take a “lifetime” to achieve, then they’re too difficult.
This guide will help you set goals which are a balance of goals you will accomplish within the next year, 5 years, 10 years and within your lifetime.
Goals need a timeline to create a sense of urgency to get them done. Without a firm due date that you commit to, your goals will drift.
You don’t need to worry about doing this for all 100 Goals right now. Pick the most important top 5, 10 or 20 that you will be serious about achieving and give them firm due dates.
Some of the goals you set will have a recurring time frame, meaning that you want to commit to achieving them annually or each decade.
Check out the following poster for how to write a goal . . .
The following goals are examples of how to write a goal:
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS
HEALTH AND FITNESS GOALS
FRIEND AND FAMILY GOALS
GIVING BACK/LEGACY GOALS
The key on how to write a goal is to make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound (SMART).
How your get to your SMART goals is not important. Brainstorm them. Write them down on little note pads or scraps of paper. Record them into your phone. The point is that you do it and you get to the point where you create a consolidated list which you've turned into SMART goals and you review them frequently.
Decide each day that you will do at least one thing to get you closer to one of your goals.
Check out my goal setting worksheet to help.
Return to Life Goals home page.
Last updated: November 9, 2020