Smart Goals 101: You Can’t Master What You Can’t Measure

Welcome back! This is part 3 in our series on SMART Goals. If you haven’t, be sure to read parts one & two.

We’re going to get personal in today’s post! The best way to learn something is to see it modeled, so I’m going to give two recent examples of goals that my wife and I have to show you how to make your goals measurable.

If you can’t measure it, you will never master it.

In the last post we shared the top ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, and that only 8% of people who make resolutions keep them. What an incredibly high failure rate!! With 92% of the people failing to reach their goal, do you think they’re doing something wrong? Of course they are.

Let’s take a look at the list again. How many of these goals are measurable? That’s right…zero. With just a little more thought into it, every one of these can be turned into goals that can be measured and tracked, so you can see your progress and how close you are to reaching your goal.

Personal Example: Wesley & Weight Loss

I’ve never really had a weight problem per se, but since finishing college, it’s something that I’ve always been insecure about. After graduating in 2000, the pounds started accumulating; I went from being 185 to hitting a peak of 230 about a year ago. Right now, I’m at a 223.

Weight loss is one of the most common goals that people have, and luckily, it is the easiest to measure (same with financial goals). Here are the steps:

Decide your target weight. Decide the end date. Figure out how much weight you have to lose each day or week to meet your goal (I prefer daily). Then simply track it daily.

I created a spreadsheet on Excel to track this. Every morning the first thing I do is weigh myself, then write down my weight for the day. I can see immediately if I’m on track or not, and doing this every day keeps me very focused on the goal. And I know if I blow it today that I’m going to see the results tomorrow morning, so it is incredibly motivating.

(If you want a custom spreadsheet like this for you, send me an email:

Personal Example: Beth & Relationships

If you ask people what they want in life, almost everyone says “to be happy.” Well how do you measure that?

Here’s a similar example of a goal that my wife had, and how we drilled down into the goal and figured out how to make it a SMART goal. At the end of last year, Beth & I were discussing our goals, and one of her’s was to “grow closer in her relationship with God.”

If you have goals that are relational or emotional (be happy, love my spouse more, stop losing my temper, grow closer to my kids, etc.), the key is to ask this question:

What are doing when you ______ (feel happy, love my spouse, feel close to my kids, etc) the most?

Can you measure a feeling with a numerical value? No. But can you measure an activity? YES! So with Beth, I asked, “When you feel the most connected with God, what are the things/activities you are doing?” Her answer was spending time alone with God in the mornings reading her bible, listening to worship music, and reflecting through journaling.

Her answer made the goal crystal clear: “Spend an hour each morning from 7-8 am alone with God.” So instead of focusing on a “feeling” we focused on tangible daily activity, and better yet, I can even help her reach this goal by protecting this time for her.

Some people will avoid this because it feels like it’s making a relationship mechanical, or worse, something that is done out of duty. You just have to push past those thoughts and accept the simple truth that any worthy goal you have in life needs to be  numerically measurable if you really want to achieve it.


We respond to 100% of our comments, questions, and emails. If you have a goal that you’re struggling with how to make it a SMART goal, leave us a comment and we can dialogue with you. I firmly believe most people don’t have goals, they just have wishes and desires, because they fail to make their goals SMART goals. This stuff really is life changing if you practice it consistently.

Committed to your success,




  1. Smart Goals 101: If You Don’t Believe It, You Won’t Achieve It | Debt To Life -

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