SMART Goals – Specific

If you are like me, the end of the year means time to reflect on the prior year and plan for the upcoming one. Goal setting should be a big piece of that planning process.

We recommend using SMART as a primary tool when  goal setting, and hope this five part refresher series on SMART goals will be of value to you and your organization as you begin to outline what you want to accomplish in 2009.

SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time Sensitive

Today’s Focus: Specific

To be most effective you need to ensure your goals are very specific. The more specific you are in defining your goal, the better chance you will have in getting it done. At the very least your goal should define the following:

  • What are you going to do exactly
  • When are you going to do it
  • How will it get done

In other words, what is it exactly that you want to accomplish and what are the details.


Bad Example: “I’m going to get more sales in 2009”

This is a goal, but not a very specific one to say the least. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and does not set the framework for what I want to accomplish.

Good Example: “I’m going to get 25% more sales in 2009 by making 5 more sales calls per day on average.”

Much better. It tells me exactly what I am going to do, when I am going to do it, and how.

See the difference? The good example clearly states what it is I intend to do in order to make more sales. It also helps ensure that I am making progress towards my goal (did I or did I not make the additional calls?)

Tips for Success

  • Avoid “non committal” type language (ex. I’m going to grow my business”)
  • Keep in mind you are answering the questions what are you going to do exactly, when are you going to do it, and how will it get done?
  • The goal is clear and concise. Anyone should be able to read your goal and understand what you want to accomplish


You can see the “S” in the SMART goal process is pretty important. Think of it as the foundation by which the rest of your goal setting process will be built upon.

Take the necessary time to think through what you want to accomplish. It cannot be over emphasized that the more specific you are the more chance you will have in achieving your goal.

Up Next: Measurable

photo credit: procsilas

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