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S.M.A.R.T Goals: Definition, Importance, Advantages & Disadvantages


Why SMART Goals?

SMART goals means specific, time-based, realistic and achievable goals. These are advantageous for a multitude of reasons. These are basically the factors that help in achieving a specific goal or for smart goal setting.

A certain set of objectives should be achieved after setting up a project. These sets of smart objectives are classified as SMART goals.

SMART Goals Definition Meaning

SMART Goals Definition:

The SMART full form varies with respect to the tasks specified by the project and can vary under different circumstances.

1. Specific:

  • Precise in nature.
  • Intuitive to anyone who has a basic knowledge about the project.

2. Measurable:

  • Predictable about the success of the project.
  • It can measure how completed the project is.

3. Agreed upon:

  • Both the company and the stakeholders agree with the final goal.

4. Realistic:

  • The project should represent an objective on which you are working.

5. Time-based:

  • Should be time bounded in nature.
  • Should have a limited time to achieve a certain goal.

SMART goals are an effective method while setting up for an individual’s objective. This also serves as a form of communication between the employees and the line manager.

SMART goals are used as a form of performance enhancer tools, if not followed properly, it can lead to poor performance and wastage of time for the whole team.

There are a variety of objectives that can be done under the SMARTer format. These include:

What is SMART goal setting?

Smart goal setting gives a structure to your plan of achieving your goal. To attain your goals or objectives, you need to focus on many things and overcome all the hindrances that come in between.

This type of goal setting also helps you track your success rate in the journey of achieving your goals. Though SMART goal setting provides you various advantages but is not widely used incorporates. It gives you a clear objective of your goal. In this goal-setting, the total work is divided into several parts.

This helps the employee to work without much stress, thus completing the assigned task within the timeline. The other thing which I like most in the SMART goal setting, it gives clear transparency to the whole process.

S.M.A.R.T Goals Objectives:

Process objectives:

  • Let’s you know how well the project can be done and how the project can be achieved.
  • Describes the participants, their activities and behaviors.

Impact objectives:

  • Let’s you know what the long term effects are from the project.
  • How well does the project impacts on others?

Outcome objectives:

  • Let’s you know what kind of results are formed during the completion of the project.
  • How it will affect the knowledge and the behavior of the target audience.

Personal objectives:

  • Personal development is an ideal factor for SMARTer goals.

Variations of SMART Goals:

S– Strategic, self-reliable, sincere, simple, straight forward
M– Motivating, manageable, mapped to the result.
A– Agreed, adaptable, ambitious, accountable, attainable
R– Realistic, reliable, result-oriented, recordable
T– Time bounded, time relatable, tangible, team building.

Some versions also add ER to form SMARTer goals

E– Encompassing, evaluable, engaged, exciting
R– Reviewed, realistic, realizable  



  • What – what is the goal of the project
  • Why– why such a method is used
  • Who – who is responsible for the project
  • Where – identify the location of the project taking place
  • Which – identifying the requirements and the necessities for the project to take place


  • It usually consists of indicators. They are quantifiable
  • How much does it cost?
  • How much time will it take?
  • How will I know if it is completed or not?


  • The third type usually revolves around how the goals are attainable and how realistic it is.
  • How can the goal be achieved?
  • Is the goal realistic and affordable?


  • Shows the importance of choosing the right option.
  • Does it seem worthwhile?
  • Is it the right time for implementing the goals?
  • Does it match the efforts and needs?
  • Are you the right person for the group?


  • When?
  • What do I do in six months?
  • What do I do in six weeks?
  • What can I do for today?

Management by Objectives (MBO):

SMART goals are a derivative of management by objectives (MBO). This was an effective way to get work done with the help of prioritizing objectives. SMART goals are widely used to collect feedback and for proper communication between groups of people within an organization. Feedback is necessary within an organization because it shows the development of the current status of the company and also makes room for further adjustments.

Feedback includes regular checking to measure the current development with the theoretical result. Recording the progress of the project is as easy as asking yourself the three basic questions.

  1. Am I following what I planned?
  2. Are my efforts helping in moving the project forward?
  3. Do I have to make changes to the current plan?

Though these questions are up to the point, they usually are not sufficient to get the required results. This is where SMART objectives come. SMART objectives help us setting smart goals and act as a gauge to measure our development and success and helps you to keep yourselves back on track.

SMART goals help us to follow our goals and prevent us from getting distracted by day-to-day distractions. Through SMART goals, different kinds of goals can be set up. These include:

Different Kinds of GOALS:

Long term goal:

These include tasks of having a long-term of planning and thought, usually having a duration of more than 5 years. This means more hours of hard work and more commitment towards the goal. The result of such a goal is usually life long and has its effects on the individual’s life.

For example: Completing a degree course.

Intermediate-term goals:

Usually having a duration between 1-5 years. It is considered less burdensome than completing a long term goal. But still considered as fruitful. Less time is also given for such goals.

For example: Getting a job after a degree course.

Short term goals:

These goals have a duration of usually less than a year. The more focused and hardworking the individual is, the faster the goal will be reached. Moreover, such goals do have a slight impact on the individual’s life but the effects are not long-lasting.

For example: Completing a small project while on a job.

Goal setting is necessary for life and this is where SMART goals come in. The importance of SMART goals is as follows:

Importance of SMART Goals:

1. Clarifies your end vision:

Without a proper vision and goal setting, the individual will be wandering around without a proper aim. Do not try to aim goals that are not definite and are ambiguous in nature. This will only lead to wastage of capital and time.

2. Lets you focus:

With the setting up of goal, it lets you focus on what you should really aim for. Moreover, it will prevent you from getting distracted in the day to day activities of life and prevents from wasting resources.

3. Moves you forward:

Setting up a long term goal can help you motivate to reach towards the goal and drive you forward. Whenever you feel like losing motivation, think about the goal, get motivated and try moving forward again.

4. Instils self-discipline:

If the individual doesn’t have any proper discipline, then it will be hard for them to achieve a certain goal. Try to discipline yourself and focus on the method that you could use to achieve this goal.

5. Reminds you of your priorities:

Knowing what your priorities are is a sure way of achieving a goal. Set up your priorities and know what your priorities are. List them if possible and try to achieve these goals one at a time.

6. Lets you do your best:

Setting up your goals can help you to grow beyond your limits and be a stronger and reliable person.

7. Gives you something new to think:

Setting up goals makes it more creative and innovative with the course of time. Hence it helps in creative thinking. This will help you get a new perspective of things and helps you achieve your goals in a consistent manner.

8. Helps manage your time:

Set your own timeline, and try to achieve as many goals as possible within that timeline. This will help you to be more adaptable under pressure.

9. Obliges to take action:

Simply just setting up a goal won’t help you to reach anywhere. Try to take action along with it. Goals make you feel obligated to take action to reach the goal.

10. Gives a sense of containment:

When achieving a goal, it will give you a sense of gratification, when you set up your goals. This will make you happier and satisfied as an individual.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SMART Goals:

Advantages of SMART goals Disadvantages of SMART goals
They aren’t vague in nature Achievement addiction
Plans are incorporated Spiritual starvation
Quicker to identify missed targets Identity confusion
Easier to visualize what success looks like Goal setting failure
Divide large goals into small attainable ones Goal setting idolatry
Try to complete each goal one at a time Goal setting marathon lifestyle
Overly ambitious approach
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Advantages of SMART goals:

1. They aren’t vague in nature:

Vague goals don’t help you to keep on track. Specific ones help you to focus on what you want to achieve. This will also help you to make modifications along the way when you attain your goals.

2. Plans are incorporated:

Multiple activities can be incorporated into a single goal. For example, when you set a goal (in this instance, let’s say riding a bike), we need the right equipment (helmet, shoulder and knee padding), and something to track your goals (fitness tracker). Hence multiple tasks are coming together.

3. Quicker to identify missed targets:

Easier to measure what the status of the goal is. Moreover, it is easier to recognize who is performing well and who needs assistance in the long run.

If you have missed a step during the process, it is easier to map and identify which step it was when you have a specific goal. For example, it is easy for sales executives to keep track of what is happening on a week-to-week basis rather than keeping track of sales in an annual basis.

4. Easier to visualize what success looks like:

Progress is easier to monitor and acts as a gauge to evaluate yourselves. Hence, it is easier to predict what the results are in the long run and how the results are in the end.

5. Divide large goals into small attainable ones:

Try to solve the problem in successive manners. The first step is to divide the set goal into small attainable goals. Do not try to exhaust yourselves by taking up a very large project. Try to divide the project within yourselves within the group.

6. Try to complete each goal one at a time:

Try to achieve the set goals into small and intermediate achievable goals. This will help you to narrow the distance between the start and the finish line.

Disadvantages of SMART goals:

Setting up of SMART goals also makes you ignore the underlying results of goal setting. This includes spirituality, wisdom, and getting happy about what you do. Too much of SMART goal setting can set you up in a trap into being greedy in success. This can cause discord among employees. This includes:

1. Achievement addiction:

Achieving goals periodically might lead you to an achievement addiction, where the individual is solely focused on attaining the goals alone and ignoring other aspects such as health, social relations, and spirituality. This might lead the person to be isolated from the rest of the group and in severe cases, may cut off ties with people.

2. Spiritual starvation:

While constantly achieving goals, there can be an underlying effect on the individual that is, a form of spiritual starvation. When constantly working under the clock and under pressure, the person ultimately loses the value and the purpose of life.

3. Identity confusion:

Being under constant pressure can make the individual question his/her identity in the society. This causes a form of an identity crisis within the individual. Hence the repercussions cause the individual to perform in their private life and ultimately feel sick of it.

4. Goal setting failure:

When a person who is repeatedly achieving goals, through goal setting, does not achieve a certain goal due to certain circumstances, it causes a serious case of feeling depressed. This causes a dire and substantial drop in one’s self-confidence. Hence it causes the individual to think that he/she is useless. Just because you didn’t achieve a goal, doesn’t mean that it is the end of the world.

5. Goal setting idolatry:

Another factor of this goal-setting method is setting up goals just for the sake of goals and tries to engross themselves in activities that do not even match with the task itself.
For example: Just to make money, people try to consort to practices that are not even congruent with their ideals. Usually, these kinds of activities have a negative impact on their social status and how people see them in society.

6. Goal setting marathon lifestyle:

Constantly working under a constant fast-paced and time-bound environment causes drastic changes in the lifestyle of the individual. This causes deterioration in health conditions and causes too much stress on the individual. Long-term goals require lots of energy and focus. So it is advisable to take sufficient rest in between after successive projects.

7. Overly ambitious approach:

Do not try to set and achieve goals at once. This won’t let you anywhere. Try to focus on what your priorities are and then take singular steps to maintain the final objective.