Monday , 19 February 2018

IT’S A GOAL! Setting SMART goals by Dr Egwim Ndubuisi

2015 is a year filled with possibilities. Are you ready for it? Setting practical goals will help a lot to guide you. The original version of this article was published on on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009. I got a great number of feedbacks from readers who found it useful and a few who read it mid way into 2010 felt they would have set better goals for 2010 if they had read it before the year commenced. I have published it here again in a modified version. Hope you find it useful. Keep Hope Alive!


The game of football is one that arouses all manner of passion from its fans all over the world.

One of the high moments is whenever a player succeeds in getting the ball into the goal post of the other team and then the field really erupts in unbridled excitement and shouts of “it’s a goal!”

Just for a while, imagine a game of football without a goal post or basketball without a Rim or even Golf without a Cup (hole).

If these games will make no sense without set goals, then why should anyone want to live, run a business or lead an organization with a goal-less approach, knowing full well that life is not a game but serious business.

It’s important that we sit down and set clear goals, dream bright dreams, cast great visions and aspirations for the next year. The beginning of the year offers us the best opportunity to garner momentum to launch into a new dimension of impact and fulfillment. It’s also an opportunity to break old habits and acquire new healthier ones.

I went through my written down goals for 2007 through 2010. I look back in amazement today as I discovered that most of the dreams, visions and goals I had written down had materialized that same year and some later. I even took some for granted.

It’s a funny thing, even strange; but the truth is that life will give you exactly what you persistently ask for and not a dime more. No wonder Master Jesus kept insisting that we ask and we shall receive, we seek and we shall find, we knock and the door will be opened to us. He insists that we have not really asked for anything in His name.

Don’t be carried away totally by the festivities that accompany the yuletide. Enjoy the moment, celebrate the season but never forget to sit down and commit to paper your goals and plans for the incoming year.

Setting SMART Goals

Whatever you dream or aspire to be is fine but it is not a Goal yet, until you commit it to paper (Physical or digital). Write the Vision. Make it clear!

A very simple way to check the viability of your goals is the SMART goal check method. If you have been in management or any form of Leadership, you probably have come across the mnemonic-SMART.

• S-Specific

• M-Measurable

• A-Attainable

• R-Realistic

• T-Time bound

Check your Goals for these:


Are your goals Specific. By specific, I mean the What, Why and How of the goal.

What– refers to the action you want to take: Write, Study, Learn, Start, Build, Develop, Lead, Organize, Discover, and Make. Examples: “I will write a new book”, “I will study French Language”, “I will learn Web design”, “I will start a Charitable Organization for Prisoners”, “I will build a new library”, “I will organize a Youth Conference”, and “I will make a million dollars”.

Why– refers to your motive. This will be your primary motivation. Motivation =motive + action. It is the reason behind the action that drives you. An example of Specific Why is this: I want to lose 10kg in 2015 so that I can be healthier and live longer. When you have a strong enough WHY, you will find a HOW somehow. If you say you want to lose weight in next year, that’s not a SMART goal. It’s not specific. If you declare, you want to make a lot of money by 2011, it is not specific. It is not SMART. A specific goal will be more like, “I will lose 10kg in 2011”or I will increase my annual income by $100,000 in 2011.

How: The how of your goal ensure it’s not just a dream but a real goal. It includes step by step details on how you are going to achieve the goal. How are you going to achieve the goal? Example: I want to lose 10kg in 2011 by jogging for 30 minutes every morning and watching my diet. Is your goal specific?


Great people and organizations measure their goals and results objectively. Without measurement, there can hardly be any objectivity. If you don’t measure, you might deceive yourself into believing that you are progressing towards achieving your goals while you are busy running around in circles. On the other hand, you might be depressed at your apparent failure, not knowing that you actually improved.

Let your goals be measurable. It is even better to set sub-goals that are measurable within each main goal. For example, you might want to read 24 personal development books in 2015. 24 is a measure. It’s better than saying I want to read a lot of books. A better way is to have a goal of reading 2 books every month in order to enable you reach your final goal of 24 books. Is your goal measurable?


The word Attain comes from the Latin word “atingere’ meaning to “reach to” and also “tangere”-“to touch”.

While I don’t believe in setting uninspiring, impotent goals that that will not motivate me, I also believe in setting Attainable goals. Don’t set Untouchable goals that will only frustrate you.

While it is great to dream and everything is possible through God, you must realize that even great dreamers like Joseph in the Bible didn’t jump to their dream palace in one night. There is always a process. If you are still a freshman in the University with no political background, a goal of becoming the next Governor of your state in the next year’s election sounds quite unattainable. What do you think,duh?


Most Cynics are gonna love this one. All our lives growing up, we have had people telling us-“Wake up!”, “Stop daydreaming!”, “Be realistic, and grow up!” Your dreams are like your wings that allow you fly beyond your present circumstances but there seems to always be a good supply of dream killers who are more than willing to clip your wings. Dreams have the capacity to propel you to a height of achievement and impact you only dreamed of. I believe it’s great to dream.

But no matter how beautiful a dream is, it is not yet a goal. As much as I believe in dreaming big dreams and daring for more, I still think our goals should be do-able.

Our training, resources, and relationships should be able to realize our goals without breaking us. The idea is to stretch yourself and your imagination, not to break you.


This is a very vital ingredient in the goal setting soup. If the goal is specific, measurable, attainable and realistic but not time-bound, then it can best be described as a dream.

Let your goals be time-bound, not just as a whole but in segments. A salesman may set a goal like this: I want to get 100 new clients for my company in 2015 by December 31, 2015 (specific time).

Subgoal: Get at least 10 new clients by the end of every month.

Invite God: I learnt from a friend to sign at the end of my goals, “Lord you are welcome to interrupt my plans and goals for you know what’s best for me”. I encourage you to also pray this prayer for God sees the end from the beginning.

Take Action!

If you set the best goals and do not take action, you will just keep riding on your wishy horses. Until you start taking action on those beautiful goals you set, they will just remain wishes, a long wish list which a beggar will gladly ride if only they were horses. Get moving! Act Now! I wish you a Golden year. Keep hope alive!



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