How to Create SMART Goals and Make the Most of Your Retirement

In retirement, it is easy to fall into routines, and many people find themselves complacent with their positions and day-to-day life. At the same time, most people have aspirations and bucket lists for what they'd like to accomplish with their lives, or even simple plans for how they'd like to improve their daily lives.

What is a SMART Goal?

Setting a goal is easy, but following through and reaching a goal is generally easier said than done. In today’s fast-paced world, excuses for putting off goals are right around every corner. However, using the SMART goal method provides clarity and criteria to increase the odds of achieving a goal.

SMART is an acronym that stands for: 

  • goals being created on typewriterSpecific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant 
  • Timely 

Anytime a SMART goal is set, it should include these five characteristics to ensure that the goal is realistic and achievable.

Setting a SMART goal can help achieve goals such as improving mobility, exercising more, losing weight, planning for major trips, enhancing technology use, cleaning the basement, interacting with family more often, learning a new hobby, and other goals varying in different time and energy commitments.

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S: Specific

When setting a SMART goal, the first step is to be as specific as possible to avoid getting off track and staying focused. Start with asking and answering these questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do you want to accomplish?
  • Where: Where is the best location to work towards this goal?
  • Which: Which requirements and constraints will be the most beneficial?
  • Why: Why is achieving this goal important to you?

M: Measurable

Establishing a measurable goal means setting constraints to ensure that progress is shown with evidence. It is essential to ask questions like: How much? How many? How will I know when my goal has been achieved? Tracking progress helps to stay focused, meet deadlines, and feel excited about getting closer to achieving a goal.

A: Attainable

Senior couple meeting financial adviser for investmentOnce a goal is identified, determine whether or not the goal is realistic while considering factors such as the time, effort, and money necessary. Ensure that the goal at hand will not overshadow other obligations in life such as family, work, and health (both physical and mental). Lastly, do not introduce a new goal while working on a previous goal. Overlapping goals can be overwhelming and often leads to giving up.

R: Relevant

Creating a relevant goal is the most important step to reaching success. Even if a goal follows every other characteristic of a SMART goal, it is unattainable if it is not relevant and important enough to carry out the process. To ensure that a goal is relevant, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you want to pursue the goal?
  • What is the purpose of achieving the goal?
  • Is obtaining the goal a top priority?
  • Are you willing to work towards the goal?
  • Do you have the time to follow the constraints?
  • How is this a beneficial goal?

T: Timely

organizer planner on deskThe last step in establishing a SMART goal is to set a realistic and flexible timeline and schedule. First, determine a reasonable start and end date for this goal. Setting too long of a timeline can leave room for distractions and invoke a lack of motivation. Setting too short of a timeline can create unnecessary stress and obsessiveness to complete a goal within the allotted time. Setting a schedule and timeline for a goal makes it more clear and easier to accomplish. A step-by-step schedule can be less intimidating and feel less overwhelming than an aimless goal.

How to Avoid Common SMART Goal Mistakes

  • Seniors speaking with planner at homeFocus on positivity
  • Avoid distractions, procrastination, and excuses
  • Stick with a schedule
  • Seek support from friends and family
  • Take care of your mental and physical health
  • Allow space for relaxation and free time
  • Do not let the goal consume you
  • Address possible setbacks and plan how to overcome them

Setting SMART Goal Tools

  1. YourCoach has certified life, team, and business coaches who can help set and accomplish a SMART goal. Visit to learn more about coaching sessions, techniques, and tools.
  2. PeopleGoal provides a free SMART goals template for Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
  3. HubSpot offers a free marketing goals template accessible at

Now is the time! Dig deep and stop dreaming about your goals. Put them down on paper with these SMART characteristics. Hold yourself accountable and watch your progress improve your retirement life!

Let us know in the comments below - What are your SMART retirement goals? '

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