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The Minimalist Guide to SMART Goals

You may have heard of SMART goals before.

SMART is most commonly defined as specific, measurable, attainable, realistic or relevant, and timely.

This is a great method for setting everyday goals, but I have modified this acronym and redefined what it means to be SMART.

This minimalist approach to goal setting is all about focusing in on the vision you have for your life.

I’ve also included some general tips and a worksheet to help you plan out your SMART goals. Let’s get started.

S is for Simple.

Minimalism is about simplification in every area of your life and goal setting is no different. Once you know what you want to achieve, you have to refine it.

Do not over analyze what you plan to accomplish, rather, make your goal as simple as possible without losing its purpose.

Ask yourself: Have you reduced your goal down to its essence? Can you state it clearly in one sentence?

M means Meaningful.

Minimalism is not only about simplification and reducing the amount of clutter. It’s also about only pursuing the things that give purpose to your life.

You will achieve your goals more often if you’re committed to them and they add meaning to your life.

Ask yourself: Why are you pursuing this goal? What is its intellectual, emotional and spiritual significance?

A is for Aligned with your values.

Similar to understanding the meaning of your goals, you must also determine if they line up with your core values. Minimalists set goals within their values framework.

One sure way to fail at meeting your goals is to pursue things not aligned with your morals and standards because you will come up against irreconcilable conflicts and obstacles.

Ask yourself: What are your values? Does this goal relate to your values?

R asks if it is Relevant to the big picture.

Another principle of minimalism is having or doing only what is necessary. In order to do this, you must know the vision for your life.

This is important to establish before you set any goals. A good planner knows to start with the end in mine.

Imagine yourself five years from now. What would you like to accomplish?

Ask yourself: What is your big picture? How is this goal moving you toward it?

T translates as Transformable.

Life happens. The true test of a strong person is being able to meet obstacles head on and thrive.

To do that, you must be adaptable and creative. Similarly, your goals should also be strong yet flexible.

You should be able to adapt your goal without losing its essence. Pursuing minimalism leaves lots of room for transformation because you’re not stuck in your “stuff”.

Ask yourself: If circumstances change in the course of pursuing this goal, can it evolve? Is it flexible?

Here are a few more pointers for setting SMART goals.

Minimalist Tips for Goal Setting

1. Select a theme- What is the overarching theme for the year? What is it you want to achieve? Why is this important?

2. Set a few SMART Goals relating to that theme. Write these goals down. State each goal within one sentence.

3. Start with the goal that is easiest to achieve and create an action plan. Pick three concrete actions for each goal. Go down the path of least resistance. Think of actions you can complete immediately with little effort. This will build up your confidence and at the end of the day, it is still moving you forward.

4. Forgiveness- You may not reach your goal or it may take longer than you planned, but don’t beat yourself up for it. If you fail to achieve your goal, you’re already living the consequences. Forgive yourself, evaluate what went wrong, and start again.

Did you create your digital vision board of your big picture (remember R is for relevant to the big picture)? If so, you are ready to move forward with setting SMART goals.


 What is one of your SMART goals for the year?

No Scissors Required: 3 Easy Ways to Create a Digital Vision Board

Freedom and Core Values