A Simple Approach to Goal Setting: SMART Goals

A Simple Approach to Goal Setting: SMART Goals

Goal setting plays a large role in many athletes’ lives and provides direction, motivation, focus, and clarity. By setting goals for yourself, you’re providing a target to aim for. One way that is used to set goals is SMART. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Therefore, a SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help athletes focus their efforts and increase the chances of achieving that goal.

S – Specific  

The first step in setting a SMART goal is being specific. Goals that are specific have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific it can be beneficial to think of the five “W” questions:  

  1. Who:  Who is involved in this goal?
  2. What:   What do I want to accomplish?
  3. Where:  Where is this goal to be achieved?
  4. When:  When do I want to achieve this goal?
  5. Why:  Why do I want to achieve this goal?

Example: a general goal would be “I want to get faster.” A more specific goal would be “I want to train with EForce 3x per week to help me get faster for the Nike Opening in May.”

M – Measurable  

The next portion on a SMART goal is making it measurable. If you don’t do this you will not be able to determine your progress and if you are staying on track. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:

  1. How many/much?
  2. How do I know if I have reached my goal?
  3. What is my indicator of progress?

Example: building on the specific goal above: “I want to train with EForce 3x per week to help me get faster for the Nike Opening in May.” You could add… “Every month, I will aim to drop .05sec off my 40yd dash.”

A – Achievable

A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This helps you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. Your goal should challenge you, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it with hard work… Ask yourself:

  1. Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
  2. Have others done it successfully before?

R – Realistic  

Goals being set must be realistic you know the goal can actually be achieved given the available resources and time. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished… Ask yourself:

  1. Is the goal realistic and within reach?
  2. Is the goal reachable given the time and resources?
  3. Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?  

T – Timely

A SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal doesn’t have a time constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal… Ask yourself:

  1. Does my goal have a deadline?
  2. By when do you want to achieve your goal?

Example: building on the goal above: On January 1st, I will start working with EForce. In order to get faster I will train with EForce 3x per week. Every month, I will aim to drop .05sec off my 40yd dash. By the beginning of May, I will have realized my goal of dropping .2sec off my 40yd Dash over the course of the 4 months.

The Importance of SMART Goal Setting

Oftentimes, athletes set themselves up for failure by setting general and unrealistic goals such as “I want to be the best at X.” This goal is vague with no sense of direction.

SMART goals set you up for success by making it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The SMART method helps push you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals.

Share this post