S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Updated: September 11, 2015


Get clear on your goals, and make them better.




Asking generative questions

Listening actively

Acting strategically


  1. Pick a project. If you’re working out with others, you can each pick the same or different projects.
  2. Take five minutes to write down the goals of your project. If you’re working on the same project with your partner, check to see how aligned your goals are.
  3. Review each goal with your partner (5 min each). Specifically, are they:
    • Specific?
    • Measurable?
    • Attainable?
    • Relevant?
    • Time-bound?
  4. Discuss: What would your project look like if it were successful beyond your imagination? (5 min each)
  5. Discuss: What would your project look like if it failed? (5 min each)
  6. Revise your goals based on your discussion, and quickly share your changes with your partner. (5 min each)

Design Notes

In order to do your work in a high-performance way, you have to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve in the first place. Setting an intention, remembering it, and holding yourself and others accountable to it are the first steps toward acting strategically.

But simply having goals isn’t enough. It’s important for your goals to be good. The S.M.A.R.T. framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) is an excellent guide to helping you improve your goals.

Even having S.M.A.R.T. goals is not enough. The art of setting good goals requires constant refinement, reflection, and — you guessed it — practice. The biggest value of this exercise isn’t the framework, but the opportunity to pause and reflect on your goals, ideally with a workout partner.