What are SMART Goals?


SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It is a widely used framework for goal-setting that can help you to clarify and achieve your objectives. Here’s a breakdown of what each of these terms means:

  1. Specific: Your goal should be clear and well-defined. You should be able to describe what you want to achieve, why it’s important to you, and what steps you need to take to accomplish it.
  2. Measurable: Your goal should be quantifiable, so you can track your progress and determine when you have achieved it. You should be able to identify the metrics you will use to measure your success.
  3. Achievable: The goals should be realistic and attainable, given your current resources and constraints. You should be able to identify the skills, knowledge and resources to achieve your goal and determine whether they are within your reach.
  4. Relevant: Your goal should be aligned with your values, interests, and priorities. It should be meaningful to your life, so you can stay motivated and committed to achieving it.
  5. Time-bound: Your goal should have a deadline or timeline associated with it. You should be able to specify when you want to achieve your goal and create a plan that outlines the steps you need to take to get there.

By setting SMART goals, you can improve your chances of success by making your goals more focused, measurable, and achievable. Tracking your progress and celebrating milestones helps you stay motivated and focused on achieving your goal.

Setting achievable goals is significant for everyone, but especially for people with ADHD who may struggle with organisation and planning. It’s helpful to break down goals into small, medium, and continuing ones and to prioritise them based on importance and urgency.

Managing thoughts and taking actionable steps towards achieving goals can also be challenging for people with ADHD. Some questions to ask oneself when setting goals include: What actionable items or tasks do I want to be held accountable for? Is this goal realistically attainable in the time frame? What is the biggest challenge preventing me from achieving this goal? What three steps can I take to reduce or remove that challenge and succeed in reaching this goal?

After setting goals, create an action plan using the SMART formula. Evaluating the SMART goal and activating help with accountability. An accountability agreement can also help achieve goals–A code of conduct, roles and responsibilities, communication expectations, and personal and professional boundaries. Connecting with an accountability partner and making an effective plan can further increase the likelihood of achieving goals.