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High achievers and entrepreneurial professionals like you and I, we’ve got big goals and big dreams.

And we work hard too!

Sometimes too hard, to the point where we’re actually spinning our wheels and not achieving anything.

Are you the type of person who works through their lunch?

Do you feel like no matter how many hours you put in, you’re not getting things done?

Have you ever felt that you’ve been chasing the same goal?

It happens, and it tends to happen when we don’t take the time to really spell our goals out and have an action plan with due dates.

I get it, you’re a thinker and a doer – You have LOADS of ideas.

You are so ready to just go and do, and you do, but because you didn’t have a clear enough strategy or plan, you get to a point where you question just what the hey you were working towards to begin with.

You switch gears because you’re not 100% focused or because you want to motivate yourself since you’re not seeing the results.

You can keep spinning in this cycle for a while, feeling unmotivated, like you can’t do anything, or even to the point where you start doubting yourself and your abilities.

That is until you start working SMART!

How to work SMART

When I did my MBA and CPA, I was working full time. I remember one of my very first group meetings with my MBA team, we had to create and Group Charter, sign it and submit it.

If you’ve never done this, it’s a great thing to do by the way for long-term or project work because it level sets everyone’s commitments, needs, and preferences on an individual and team level so everyone is on the same page.

For you to be able to create more time in your schedule, feel confident, and realize your goals in all your glory, the best way is to set yourself up for success right from the get go.

You can do that using the SMART Goal framework:

Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Timely


Get Specific!

Is your goal so specific that you can picture it?

Do you know…

  • WHO needs to be involved?
  • WHAT is it exactly you’re trying to accomplish?
  • WHERE? This may not always apply, but if your goal is location dependent, you definitely should consider
  • WHEN does this need to be done by?
  • WHICH? are there obstacles or requirements that you need to consider and account for?

If you want to buy a house, for example, you’ll need people to help you, you’ll need to know your requirements – deal breakers and nice to haves. You need to know where it is? Do you need a garage or local transit nearby? Is it a competitive market? How much do you need as a downpayment?

So many things to consider before you hit the GO button.

Measure It!

How are you supposed to stay motivated if you have no way of tracking your progress and measuring your success?

Metrics make things so much more tangible. If I know I want to be fit in 3 months, I know that every week from now until my target date, I need to meal plan and exercise regularly.

I would want to define what ‘fit’ is for me, but just for simplicity, my metrics might be based on the following:

  • Meal Planning done one day/week (Sundays)
  • Exercise minimum 3 times/week (Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays)
  • Walk 8,000 steps/day

If being fit for me meant losing 4 inches around my waist, I’d write down my starting numbers and my target numbers, and then measure once a week (same time, ideally in the morning), to make sure I’m on track.

Achieve it!

The art of planning is in the details. Do you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goals?

Here is where you want to write out all the tasks you need to do. Consider who’s going to do them and whether there’s anything you can’t do that requires additional training or resources.

This makes the picture of what you’re working towards so much clearer, and it allows you to consider all the angles.


You gotta know why you’re doing anything. Period.

How is this goal relevant to you?

What will this goal help you achieve in the grand scheme of things? Does it align to your overall vision, objective? What will it mean for your life? your business? your family? your career?

Is this the right time? Or are there other things that I should be doing now instead?

This is extremely helpful to us high achievers that feel like we have to do everything all at once. We might not even realize it, so the next time you have an idea to switch gears, ask yourself what is my objective.

What happens if you do it? What happens if you don’t?

What’s the best thing that could happen? What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Schedule it!

Without timelines, you may as well be shooting a moving target in the dark.

Go back to your action plan, all the tasks you wrote out, and consider how much time you need for each one.

Then work backwards from your goal target date and look at who needs to do what and when. Did you leave room for unexpected hiccups and delays?

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Once you have all of the above, you have what you need to write out your goal in a way that is crystal clear, focused and motivating.

No more waking up and wondering what you need to do… No more guesswork… No more distractions… no more wasted time.

Let’s take an example, shall we:

The above tool can seem like a lot, so let’s break this down into little pieces, using the following example:

If let’s say, your goal is to start saving more. As that’s written, it is not a SMART goal.

So let’s take it a step further: I want to save $12,000 a year for the next 5 years.

Now, the goal is specific and measurable, because you have an amount that you are targeting and you can measure the amount you’re saving.

This goal is also time-bound, since your goal is to save a specific amount each year over a specific period of time.

Whether the goal is achievable depends on your own financial situation, but assuming it is, the goal fits that criteria as well.

Lastly, you have to determine whether saving money is a relevant and important goal for you personally. Assuming it is, then this goal fits all the criteria of being a SMART goal.

Not so bad right?

Goals should be challenging so surround yourself with a positive environment. Join my free group if you like too: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

We’re a group of high performing accountability buddies supporting one another to achieve amazing success through group challenges, but also through individual challenges.

As you gear up for the new year, use this framework to create some goals for yourself.

Until next time!




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Natalia Edelmann

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