The SMART Plan for Effective Goal Setting

While we are sure you have heard of SMART goal setting,  sometimes the challenge becomes how we actually execute on a SMART goal.  Below we outline not a SMART Goal but a SMART Plan for effective goal setting:


Step 1 – List your goals A to Z.  The Art of Goal Setting begins with writing your personal and professional goals from A to Z.  Don’t hold back.  Write down whatever comes to your mind. You may wish to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is my purpose and mission in life?
  2. How do I want to focus my time and energy?
  3. What are my developmental needs at this point in my life?
  4. What does my ideal lifestyle look like?

Step 2 – Prioritizing your goals.  After you have gone through the A to Z exercise, begin listing your goals on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most significant to you at this point in time, and 1 meaning it is not a priority right now.  Here are a few questions that should help you prioritize your goals:

  1. Which goal(s) will give me the most energy?
  2. Which goal(s) am I most committed to?
  3. What goal(s) offers the most value to me?
  4. What goals are fully within my control?
  5. In five years, how important will this goal be to me?

Step 3 – Setting your execution strategy and achievement time-frame.  By prioritizing your goals, you have set the stage for an execution strategy through which you are able to define the following plans:

  • Lifetime plan
  • Five year plan
  • One year plan
  • 90 day plan
  • Weekly plan

As I look at my career, the Weekly Plan is an essential key to my success.  I have made it a habit to come to work each week with a Plan to accomplish specific objectives that support my 90 day and one year plans as well as my “big picture” future vision.

beyond insuranceStep 4 – Visualization – Mental imagery is essential to goal setting.  Your ability to see yourself at the point of goal actualization is a key component to successful goal setting.  Goal setting breaks down unless you have great clarity about your vision.

Step 5 – Goal Actualization.  When you achieve a goal, take time to enjoy the satisfaction of what you have accomplished.  Celebrate the moment and absorb the implication of the goal as it relates to your future self.  If your goal is a significant one, reward yourself appropriately.

The SMART plan for effective goal setting may be one of your most important life skills.  Good luck and have fun!