4 Simple Steps to SMART Goals

By Tim Cummuta

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

“True success in life isn’t rare because people are weak or lazy or lack willpower or fear success. True success in life is rare because too often people use flawed strategies for success.”

To accomplish anything of significant value, you must begin by establishing smart goals.

Deciding Where You Want To Go

As you think about your goals, write them down. It may seem unnecessary, but it is a key element in achieving goals. You may keep your written list of goals private because they are designed to make you, as an individual, happy and successful. However, from a team perspective, it may be important to share some of the goals to give your team a clear vision.

Consider your favorite professional sports team. Will they accomplish a championship without clear and concise goals? Not likely. In fact, it’s most certainly not going to happen. Whether it’s business, sports, politics, or any other worthwhile endeavor, goals are a must for success.

Setting Goals is the Road to Success.

One goal to include is building a good attitude. As you grow and change your self-image, be flexible enough to change your focus and reach new, expanded capabilities. Also, remember that the goals you set can be changed or revised at any time; they can even be removed from your list.

Every time you reach a goal, whether it’s big or small, it’s another step up in growing your self-image, both personally and professionally. You should celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments. If it is a team goal that is accomplished, then the team should be included in the celebration.

Breaking it Down the SMART Goal way

Break each goal down systematically, listing what needs to be done in order to keep you moving forward to accomplishing the ultimate goal – your success!

Let’s say we start with a four-year goal. Break it in half, and you will know where to be in two years. Break it in half again, and now there is a one-year goal. Do this one more time, and now you have a six-month goal. Continue this process until you know what to do in the next month. What you end up with is a SMART Goal. Download our free SMART Goals Worksheet.

About Leader Goal Planning Sheet

Once you’ve written down your goals and broken them down into bite-sized SMART objectives, you’ve actually mapped out an action plan. Now you know what has to be accomplished in the next 30 days to begin accomplishing the goals.

Step by Step

Start focusing on completing the smaller steps on your daily breakdowns immediately. If you do that each month, you’ll eventually get to your six-month goal, then to your one-year goal, and finally, you’ll accomplish your four-year goal. Is it that simple? Yes!


Concentrate on the goals that can be reached the fastest or easiest, forgetting about the rest until those goals have been reached. Once completed, be sure to mark them off your list to acknowledge your accomplishment. Continue to do this until you reach your long-term goals.

Focus on Tomorrow

If you concentrate on the whole long-term plan from the start, you’ll get discouraged and be unable to gauge your progress properly. Keep in mind that a long-term, long-range goal is really just a group of smaller steps that lead to one conclusion.  This will keep you forging ahead. I know it is old and worn out, but you know Rome wasn’t built in a day.

An occasional review of your overriding long-term goals will keep you going on the right track. Remember, if you focus on the final destination rather than taking one step at a time, you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed and intimidated. Instead, try to break goals down by levels until you know what needs to be completed tomorrow, which should be the focus.

The Process of Establishing SMART Goals

  • Write down your long-term goals and things you want to accomplish in three to five years.
  • Break down your three to five-year goals to one-year intermediate goals.
  • Then take each of those goals and write down a six-month breakdown.
  • Then a 30-day breakdown of each of the six-month goals.

Life is Extremely Fast

Things happen all of the time we’ve not planned for. It’s difficult to keep track of all that one desires to do. The plans we make and the end results we hope to attain are all in jeopardy throughout our lives because we can lose focus on long-term hopes and dreams because of the immediate fires we must put out now. How do you keep on track when the track is moving all over the place in front of you?

Competitive forces, in business and life in general, are often at odds with day-to-day operations.


You stay on track by having and writing your goals down, turning them into SMART goals and objectives, and revisiting them. Many people think there is no sense in writing goals down. They have them in their minds. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly keep track of tomorrow, let alone stay on top of what I want to do in ten years!

There is Magic in Writing Out Your Goals

When you write down your goals, something takes place inside of you. You unconsciously begin a path toward those goals. Something changes and you become a person who stays on track with your plans, dreams, and hopes.

Writing Down

I am not talking about anything crazy here. I just know personally that having SMART goals changed my life in many ways and in many areas. The research on goals also shows that people who write down their goals are far more successful than those who do not write down their goals.

I teach my own staff to visualize their goals through pictures or words. Keep that visualization near at all times so that when times are tough, that picture or those words can reorient one back onto the path to success once again.

Why Do Goals Help So Much?

Because you always have a map to see if you are still on track. No matter what happens in life, you can always look back to your written goals and see if you are tracking them. If you’re not, you can correct your path and get right back on the journey toward your goals.

How Do You Set Up Your Smart Goals?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to contribute a post?

Tim Cummuta
Tim Cummuta
Tim is a Business Consultant in Strategic Planning, Productivity, HR, Sales & Marketing, and Risk Management. He has a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning and is pursuing a Ph.D in Organization & Management at Capella University.
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