Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Making your goals SMART

In this article, Heather Jacksic explains how to make your career goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound).
A coffee mug, a pen and a napkin with the letters S M A R T, the word goal setting and words describing the meaning of each letter in the SMART-goals

Having goals are important, but instead of just keeping goals simple, let’s make them SMART – literally!

You might have already heard of SMART goals. If not, they are another tool that you can use to define your goals in more detail, making them more effective and impactful.

Essentially, SMART dictates that your goals should be:

Specific – What exactly do you want to do?

Measurable – How will you know that you have met your goal? Oftentimes you need to include a numeric or descriptive measurement.

Achievable – Is it in your power to achieve this goal? It should challenge you a bit so that it is actually a “goal” and not just something that you do easily.

Relevant – Make sure that the goal is consistent with your vision.

Timely – Set a realistic deadline for when you want to meet your goal. When exactly do you want to accomplish your goal?

Let’s practice!

Write down at least one goal for yourself towards your career, then add details to it and make it SMART by asking yourself the following questions for each of the aspects:


What do you want to accomplish? Who needs to be included? Why is this a goal?


How can you measure progress and know if you’ve successfully met your goal?


Do you have the skills required to achieve the goal? If not, how can you obtain them? What is the motivation for this goal? Is the amount of effort on part with what the goal will achieve?


Why are you setting this goal now? Is it aligned with your overall objectives?


When do you want to do this? What’s the deadline and is it a realistic one?

Have you encountered the concept of SMART goals before? Share your thoughts about SMART goals with other learners in the comments section below.

This article is from the free online

Career Planning Essentials: Unlock Your Future

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education