Write the SMARTEST Goals of your Life

By Jason Crandall

You’ve got to get serious about your goals. Achieving your goals is important. You have to write them well, otherwise a year of discouragement and disappointment is in store for you. I use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. to explain how I write and attain goals. Here is a little more depth and a few tips.


The goal needs to be clear and concrete: Bad goal = “save more money” Good goal = “Save $1,000” — Bad goal = “read more” Good goal = “Read 12 books in 2017”

Do you see the difference? Don’t say “more” or “get better”. Be specific about what you are working toward.


The goal needs to be measurable in some way. The goal has to be measured against something. “Lose 10 pounds; save $2,500; run five miles a day”. This is typically a quantitative number. You need to know whether or not you achieve the goal. That means it needs to be measurable.


The goal has to be attainable. Don’t make the goal so easy that you can do it in a few minutes. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and become demoralized by the size or scope of it. What is achievable? Lord willing, on January 15, I will complete a full marathon (26.2 miles). This was a goal I thought about trying to do three years ago. Three years ago I couldn’t have done it. At this point, I have worked through a training plan and have done multiple long training runs. I am sure I am capable of making it. Three years ago … not so much.


The goal needs to matter for you. It needs to be something that means something for your growth and health. It needs to be rooted in who you are and where you want to be.


I need deadlines. They make me work and focus harder. I bet you are similar. Set a deadline or a time limit. Sometimes I set mini-goals that are midway to annual goals. For instance: “Run a 5K by June 30 in order to prepare to run a 10K by December 31.”


I write my annual goals over a couple days, and then I set them aside for a couple days and come back and evaluate them again. Sometimes you are feeling more optimistic while writing then you should; sometimes more pessimistic. Take time to look over them again.


Share your goals with a few others who are close to you. Ask their opinion and receive their feedback. Ask them to check up on you periodically as you pursue these goals. Accountability and community are essential. This aspect has been the single most important step in achieving goals.


After you’ve evaluated your goals and asked for input from others, rewrite them. This isn’t cheating. This is wise. Tailor your goals to what makes sense after careful evaluation and sharing.

Quick Tip: It is a good idea to put stock in these evaluate, share, and tailor aspects quarterly to check on your progress and make sure your goals are still stretching you, and that they are also realistic. 

Jason Crandall is the Lead Pastor for City View Church in Pearland, Texas.