Smart Goal Setting

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How to Set Smarter Goals…

Whether we realize it or not, we are all setting goals each and every day. Of course some of these goals are small, short-term and quite insignificant. These are goals that you set daily about the things you will do, what you will eat, when you plan to sleep, etc.

Yes, these goals might not seem all that significant in the greater scheme of things, but there is something very significant about them. What’s significant is that you consistently achieve these goals without even thinking about them. And the reason why you consistently achieve these goals is because they follow the SMART goal setting formula:

Your daily goals are specific, measurable, attainable, ready and timed.

This is significant because if you already use this goal setting formula to set daily goals, then you can also use this formula to set larger scale goals that can measurably transform your life for the better. But before we get into that, let’s first take a look at what these five elements of goal setting actually mean.


When your goals are specific you are very clear about what it is you want to achieve. In fact, there is no question in your mind what it is you want. And it’s this clarity that drives you forward.


When your goals are measurable you have clarity about what it will take to achieve your goal. There are no questions about the path you will take because you know exactly what you must do every step of the way in order to get to your end destination.


When your goals are attainable this means that you wholeheartedly believe that you are capable of achieving these goals. In fact, there is absolutely no doubt in your mind that you have the necessary confidence and commitment behind your actions to achieve them.


Being ready means that you are at a point in your life where you will accept this goal. You are fully ready and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal right now. This means that you are ready to make the necessary sacrifices that the goal will require of you.


When your goals are timed it means that you are clear when you will begin working on your goal, how long it will take you to accomplish your goal, and when you are likely to complete it.

Let’s now take a moment to think about all those little goals you are achieving each and every day. I’m talking about the little things such as planning what you will eat for dinner, washing your teeth before going to bed, taking a shower, calling a friend, etc. Have a think about all these seemingly insignificant goals and identify whether they fit into this SMART goal setting formula.

It’s likely that most of your goals actually do fit into this formula quite conveniently, even if you’re not consciously aware of it throughout the day. This is of course very significant because all you need to do now is use exactly the same formula to achieve your most significant lifetime goals.

The lesson from all this is that we already have everything within ourselves to accomplish whatever we desire. We have the necessary resourcefulness and tools at our disposal to bring those bigger lifetime goals into our lives. We must however bring our thoughts to the little things — those seemingly insignificant things that we take for granted. Because it’s within those things that we will find the answers to a better life.
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Action Points

Have a think about your most important lifetime goals and ask yourself the following set of questions. These questions will lay down the foundations of the SMART goal setting process to help you set goals with more purpose:

  • Do I know what I want specifically?
  • How will I know I’m making progress?
  • How will I know when my goal has been achieved?
  • Do I believe I can achieve this goal?
  • Am I ready to pursue this goal?
  • Is this the right moment in my life to do this?
  • When will I start working on this goal?
  • When will I complete it?

Ask and then answer these questions for each of your long-term goals over and over again, and you may quickly discover that those big lifetime goals are closer to realization than you ever realized was possible.

IQ Matrix Maps

Here are links to complementary IQ Matrix posters that go into more depth about this topic:

Download 30+ Free Self-Growth Posters

2 thoughts on “Smart Goal Setting”

  1. Hi Adam

    Very good this site. I am also an info Doodler from my reading of the books The Doodle Revolution Sunni Brown and the Sketchnote Handbook Mike Rohde. I am also Associate of the Academy Napkin Dan Roam. This site is the result of your tremendous work with IQMatrix. You do not stop to amaze me and you are my role model. Really thank you for your work.

    Très bon site. Je suis également un infodoodler depuis ma lecture des livres The Doodle Revolution de Sunni Brown and the Sketchnote Handbook de Mike Rohde. Je suis également Associate de la Napkin Academy de Dan Roam. Ce site est la suite de votre énorme travail avec IQMatrix. Vous n’arrêtez pas de m’étonner et vous êtes mon modèle. Vraiment merci pour votre travail.


    1. Thank you Gilles. I appreciate your kind words. The 40 day How to Doodle course was certainly inspired by many of the people you mentioned. Their approach to visual thinking has helped me along my own personal journey. The course is a ‘mashup’ of what I’ve learned from these inspiring thinkers mixed in with some of my own ideas and approaches to visual thinking and doodling. I do hope that the IQ doodle website and the 40 day course will be of value.


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