What’s the big deal about how to create a SMART goal? It’s the smartest way to set yourself up for success when you’ve got a dream, desire, goal, intention, or New Year’s resolution.

A SMART goal is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

A SMART goal helps you create the roadmap you’ll need to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

And if you get detailed enough with your SMART goal, you’ll have the first steps already right there in front of you. No wasted time wandering around in the fog clueless about where or how to start moving.

Getting Started With Your SMART Goal

This one’s pretty easy. Start with what you want. Make a list of 3-4 things you’d like to have, or you’ve been dreaming about.

I want to feel __________.

I want to be ___________.

I want to have _________.

I want to go ___________.

I want to do ___________.

Another fun way to settle into what’s true for you is to use this writing prompt from Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. It’s called “10 Things.”

Give yourself eight minutes to fill in the blanks for each of these three things. Yep, set the timer — go!

  • If it weren’t so risky, I would try [list 10 things].
  • it it weren’t so arrogant, or selfish, or stuck-up, I would try [name 10 things].
  • If it weren’t so expensive, I would try [write down 10 things].

Using all the ideas you’ve got, circle your top three choices.

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Great. Now. Highlight the ONE that’s either jumping out at you, or feels the most practical, or seems to be the easiest.

Guess what? It’s OK if it seems easy. If you begin by scheduling a trek to summit Mt. Everest without even taking daily walks around the block, you.will.fail.

Plug in SMART

You’ve got one goal, one resolution. Great! Using the SMART plan, now you’ll plug each of the steps.

  1. What’s the SPECIFIC goal?
  2. Is it MEASURABLE? (I want to live out of the country someday vs I want to have the names of three possible locations to live in by March of 2022 — you can measure that.)
  3. Can you realistically achieve the goal? Summiting Mt. Everest isn’t a realistic goal for most people. Running in a 10k marathon is more realistic goal for a lot of people, but maybe it isn’t for you. That’s OK. What’s realistic for you, right now? Taking a 30-minute walk five times a week may be your just-right goal.
  4. Is it relevant for you? Do you really care about it? How does it matter in the bigger picture of what you want and need in your life? Just be honest.
  5. Finally, what’s the specific date you want to have achieved your SMART goal?


Start at the End to Make Your Weekly Success Map

When do you want to be finished? Get clear about that date. 

When will you begin? Be realistic, but don’t leave yourself too much time to get distracted with other things.

Now you’ve got a very rough map, using a beginning date and a completion date.

Next, take the end goal and make a list of the things that you need to do in order to reach that goal by the end date.

  • How much time do you have between the start and end dates?
  • What has to happen for you to get from here to there?
  • Break up each of those things into small, bite-sized, baby steps that you’ll work on every week.


Try These When You Get Stuck

When you get stuck, lose momentum, feel lost and overwhelmed or too tired to keep moving forward, here are some ideas to help you.

Remember your “relevant,” the “R” in SMART? Why was it important to you? How did you think you would benefit as you worked to achieve the goal? What were the benefits to you once you fully achieved it? 

And be honest with yourself … does the resolution still matter to you? It’s OK if it doesn’t. It’s OK to let it go, you’re not a bad person.

If the goal still matters, but you’ve gotten off track, one of the biggest reasons for this is because you’re trying to do something big, make a change, all by yourself. Having an accountability or productivity partner — a buddy — can be super helpful.

Also, watch your words. Watch your negative self-talk — it’ll get loud very quickly. The ego doesn’t like to make changes, it like to stay safe and comfy right where it is. 

You, the Wise One of you, knows better. The mature part of you knows this is the right change to be making. And you may need to remind the rest of you 30x a day about that. That’s OK.

Gradually, the scaredy-cat parts of you will get quieter. Think of puppy training — you never hit a puppy, you’re not mean to a puppy. Rather, you gently re-direct the puppy to the behavior you’re reinforcing. In this case, watching and correcting negative self-talk.

SMART goal counseling Santa Fe life coach

If your resolution means a lot to you, if it’s a really important and you know it’s going to change your entire life if you can just make these changes, think about working with a professional. I’m partial to psychotherapists, because we’ve got training that no one else does.

You don’t have to be in crisis to work with a psychotherapist — one of my specialties is helping high-functioning people who are ready to take things to the next level, either professionally or personally.


I’m the Santa Fe Therapist, and I’m Here to Help You Achieve Your Goals

I’d love to help you get started achieving your goals and manifesting your dreams. Give me a call — 505-699-4197 — to schedule a free 15-minute consultation. You can also send me an email: melanie@melanieharth.com.