5 Key Elements to Setting Achievable Goals

focused woman

#Goals. We all have them. Whether they are career goals, financial goals, or relationship goals, the only way to accomplish them is to have a solid plan in place. Small actions each day will drive the results that you desire. If you take a look at your past year, can you clearly see what you accomplished or where you fell short? Do you know, specifically, how that happened? Chances are ... you may not have had a clear and actionable goal plan to get ahead.

Setting goals is a pretty exciting exercise to complete if you're looking to get ahead of some of the challenges you may be facing with your career, health, finances, or your relationships. An important piece of successfully getting that promotion, losing body fat, improving your finances or relationships includes getting specific about how you are going to improve that situation. You need a plan and your goals must be SMART. OK, so what does that mean?

SMART stands for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)

  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)

  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)

  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)

  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)

When your goals are SMART, this increases your chance of successfully accomplishing your goal with a clear, actionable plan. You don't want to look back in hindsight and regret not being more specific upfront. You can save so many headaches by getting real about what you really, really want. #spiceupyourlife.

Here is a breakdown of each area with examples of how you can apply this to your situation:


  • Why is this goal important?

  • Who is involved?

  • What do I want to accomplish?

  • When do I want to accomplish this?

  • Which resources or limits are involved?


Imagine that you are currently an individual contributor, and you'd like to become a department manager. A specific goal could be, "I want to​ gain the skills and experience necessary to become a department manager within my organization, so that I can​ build my career​ and lead a successful team within the next 2 years."



It's important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Reviewing your progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How much?

  • How many?

  • How will I know when it is accomplished?


You might measure your goal of ​acquiring the skills to become department manager by determining that you will have ​completed the necessary training courses and gained the relevant experience within the next 2 years' time.

Be sure that you have a solid plan because distractions can happen and I guarantee that you'll want to go back to your goal plan, remember the specifics of your goal, and probably make some adjustments along the way because ... life.

30 rock



Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities, make you uncomfortable AF, but still remain possible. When you set an achievable goal, it means that you're putting a solid plan into action with the variables that matter. It's great to have a pie-in-the-sky attitude and dream big, but your dreams won't become a reality by wishing. How are you actually going to make this happen?

An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?

  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as experience?


You might need to ask yourself whether ​developing the skills required to become a department manager is realistic, based on your ​existing ​experience and qualifications. For example, do you have the time to complete the required training effectively? Are you building the right relationships with those who have influence over your career path? Are the necessary resources available to you? The key here is to strive for success. Don't allow for a past failure to keep you from moving forward because even Oprah knows that success is the best revenge, and I subscribe to ANYTHING that she has to offer. How do you think she was able to get to her level of success? She set some pretty risky, yet achievable goals and connected with the right people.

oprah success


We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it's important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you're still responsible for achieving your own goal.

A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?

  • Is this the right time?

  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?

  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?

  • Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?


You might want to ​gain the skills to become a department manager within your organization, but ​is it the right time to start training, or work toward additional qualifications? Are you sure that you're the right person for the department manager role? Have you considered your other personal or family goals? Timing is everything.

dwight the office


Goals should all have a due date to ensure that you stay focused, on target, and know specifically what you should be doing and when. This part of the SMART goal setting process helps to ensure that when life happens, it doesn't take over your longer-term goals or push them off to the side.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When will this need to be done?

  • What can I do six months from now?

  • What can I do six weeks from now?

  • What can I do today?


Gaining the skills to become a department manager may require additional training​ or experience​, as we mentioned earlier. How long will it take you to be ready for that role? It's important to give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieving your overall final objective. #yougotthis


Brittanni Below, MBA is a coach, speaker, and trainer based in Houston, TX that provides services to help fierce and self-driven women to live a more balanced, healthy, and more fulfilling life. By fully understanding your unique talents and gifts and what is distracting you from being successful, Brittanni helps you transform fear, lack of confidence, and life challenges, into lessons that push you to crush the goals that you've set for yourself. If you're interested in personal coaching, book a session with Brittanni here.

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