How can you use the SMARTER formula to achieve your goals more effectively?

Are you achieving your goals? 

Do you stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Do you actually see those plans through? Statistics prove that most of us don’t. After the first week of the new year, 25% of people give up on their plans. 36% give up after one month. 54% give up after 6 months. 

One of the reasons we fail to see these plans through is because we define our goals inadequately. At least that’s what Michael Hyatt thinks. In his book, “Your best year ever,” he suggests his own, improved way of setting goals.


The SMART Formula 

Until recently, the SMART formula was one of the most effective ways to set goals. Let’s explain it. 

S stands for specific. It means that your goal must be specific. So, for example, instead of saying, “I want to go on an adventure this year,” say, “I want to travel to Argentina this year.”

M stands for measurable. It dictates that the goal should be measurable. For example, instead of saying “I will get rich,” say “I will earn a hundred thousand dollars.”

A stands for achievable. It means that our goal needs to be realistic. For example, aiming to earn a billion dollars may be unrealistic, but earning a hundred thousand dollars may be within our reach.

R stands for relevant. It indicates that the goal must be adequate, important and provide value. When it does, we’re more motivated. For example, learning Spanish gives us a chance to develop a career or get to know a new culture, but learning a rarely used dialect of a small community gives us no such value.

T stands for time-bound, which reminds us to set a specific timeframe to achieve our goal. So, for example, instead of saying, “I will learn to juggle four balls in the near future”, say, “I will learn to juggle four balls by the end of the year.”


The SMARTER formula

In any case, the above formula helps us make goal-setting more effective. Following the SMART formula when setting our goals gives us a better chance of achieving them. It’s a valuable formula, but Hyatt thought it could be improved.

So, he developed his own formula – the SMARTER formula. He claims that he has tested it on thousands of people and that the effects were much better than when using the SMART formula.

But what is the SMARTER formula all about? The acronym is similar to the one above, but there are a few additional elements:

S = Specific. Hyatt insists on making our goals as specific and detailed as possible. Therefore, instead of setting a goal of making at least $10,000 per month, he says to make it a more specific amount, such as $10,462.

M = Measurable. Hyatt says that our goals should be measurable at each stage of achieving the goal, not just at the end of the entire process. This means that when you set a goal to read 60 books a year, then at the end of a given month, you can determine the percentage of the goal you have already achieved.

A = Actionable. Instead of setting the goal to “be a better father”, put it this way: “Every day, I will finish work at 5 pm and play with the children.”

R = Risky. Your goal must be a challenge. For example, if you currently read one book per month, reading two or even three may be a challenge for you. And if you think, “I don’t read fast”, shift it into “I’m not reading fast YET.”

T = Time-keyed and triggered. No one likes deadlines. If you set a goal of reading 2 books by the end of the month, it will probably put a lot of pressure on you when you arrive at the end of the month. So, instead, focus on setting the times of day when you will take specific action to achieve your goal, for example, reading every day at 8am.

E = Exciting. You should be satisfied with reaching your goal, not reaching it just for the sake of it. Write down at least 2 reasons WHY you want to achieve this goal. These deep reasons will motivate you even when you don’t feel like taking action.

R = Relevant. It’s worth asking yourself if this is the right time to pursue your goal. Suppose your family just got bigger. With young children at home, it’s hard to take on new challenges. So, is your goal, such as participating in a marathon, a good idea at this point in your life? Some goals may have to wait for a better time.


So, do any of these formulas improve our chances of achieving our goals? Personally, I prefer the SMARTER formula.

Not because it’s smarter. I believe it’s more effective because it requires us to reflect more on how to set our goals. First of all, I like the added excitement elements and how it reminds us to explore the reasons why we want to achieve our goal. Knowing why we want to accomplish this goal will be the biggest motivation in our journey to attain it.


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