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The S.M.A.R.T. Method!

It stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Constrained. This same test can be used to help us identify a good goal.


S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym from project management that helps us determine whether we should add a task to our work breakdown structure. It stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Constrained.

This same test can be used to help us identify a good goal. I can make a goal such as the following: I will gain 15 lbs of muscle in two months. Let's test this goal using the SMART technique.


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  • Is it Specific? YES
  • Is it Measurable? YES
  • Is it Attainable? Perhaps with the proper pharmaceutical help. YES
  • Is it Realistic? NO
  • Is it Time-Constrained? YES

Okay, we have a NO in the test. So, for the purpose of this article, this is not a good goal. I will have to adjust it. In concept, it's a good goal so I'll change it to the following: I will gain 5 lbs of muscle in two months.

  • Is it Specific? YES (5 lbs)
  • Is it Measurable? YES (with a scale and skin-fold calipers)
  • Is it Attainable? YES (with proper nutrition and legal supplementation)
  • Is it Realistic? YES (This can be done with a lot of work.)
  • Is it Time-Constrained? YES (2 months)

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Setting Goals

Okay, you can see how this simple test can help you determine whether a goal is solid. But, you want it to be challenging. A goal should be viewed as a project, not a task. There are other considerations aside from S.M.A.R.T.

For instance, when selecting a project, project managers determine the value of that project, or the payback over time, then they must determine the cost of that project. For physique transformations, this is easy. Several things determine the value of the project.

  • How much money will you save in the long run?
  • How will this improve your life?
  • How are you going to feel?
  • How much is this going to cost me, financially?
  • How much time will I really be giving up to attain it?
  • What will I have to sacrifice to get there?

Let's look at how I did this for my first goal.

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You Want The Goal To Be Challenging.

dot Goal: I Want To See My Abdominal Muscles By August 2003. dot

    This goal passed all of the tests of the S.M.A.R.T. rule so I went on to the next step. To determine the value of this project I looked, first, at what I would be giving up.

    Drinking, smoking and eating junk food. Okay, this saved me considerable money over the course of time. It would improve my life a great deal, much more than I knew at the time, and I knew I'd feel great being lean, strong and free of the bad habits.

Distractions In Your Goals

Now, let's move on to the cost. It would cost me about $200.00 per month in supplements if I chose to use them. I would have to spend about 4 hours per week in the gym. And, I'd have to sacrifice smoking, drinking and eating junk food.

This goal is a no-brainer! It has a financial payback, it isn't very time consuming considering I won't be in the bar and my health will have a huge positive impact.

This program saved me time instead of costing me time, all while saving me money. The free time I gained was higher quality; my productivity increased and planning became habit for all aspects of my life. These paybacks were immediate, not over time. In fact, I can't imagine ever living like I used to. This is the type of information you want to use when selecting a goal.


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You have a goal that passes the S.M.A.R.T. test, it is going to give you a return on your investment over time and your sacrifices are acceptable. Now what? Is that goal aggressive enough?

Let's take the same goal and adjust it a bit and see if it still passes S.M.A.R.T., still gives us a return on investment and still has acceptable sacrifices. Keep in mind with every adjustment you should do the same exercise to ensure it is still feasible.