How to Make Goals Specific & Measurable

I struggled with making goals specific and measurable until I discovered a simple formula at this Small Business Success website. “I will (goal + performance measure) BY (specific actions).” Here is an example of how it works:

  • I will (lose weight)
  • By doing what? (by exercising)
  • When? How often? How much? How many? (Every morning I will do aerobic exercise that will increase my heart to 155 beats per minute for 30 minutes) Note: for information on how to calculate your own target heart rate zone, visit
  • Measured by (heart rate monitor, mark calendar)


What we measure improves (Pearson’s Law)- “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.”

If you can not measure it you can not improve it. – Lord Kelvin

MEASURES MATTER – Use MEASURES to quantify results


Metrics – provide a quantitative assessment of performance, like these examples for two of twelve life areas. Find more ideas for goal metrics at An Annual Review.

  • Physical: weight, body mass index, blood pressure
  • Financial: Income, savings, investments, net worth

Explain how much, how many – think of STAMP to Always Be Communicating Value

  • Saved, served, sold, supervised
  • Time
  • Amounts
  • Money made
  • Percentages

Add checkmarks to a chart – an example would be a Seinfeld chart to track progress in developing a habit.

Steps to completion – a measure of productivity is how many tasks per day are completed on your to-do list.


Use numbers – like “10 % increase in sales,” “supervised 5 people,” “saved $50 a month for a year,” etc.

Rating scales – a rating scale can be used to measure abstract values. One kind of rating scale is the Likert scale.


Some goals are downright difficult measure. If you want to be a better parent, how do you measure that? It can be helpful to do some research. What actions are most likely to get you closer to your goal? What do good parents do? Or look at parents who do not excel at it and turn it around to do the opposite.

Examples of challenges met – use CARE to describe a time that you faced a

  • Challenge and took…
  • Action for a…
  • Result to find…
  • Examples

Success file – keep a success file of projects completed, and remember to celebrate before you choose a new goal in the planning process.

Find charts and forms to track progress at the Goal Toolkit, This post is part of the How to Set Goals tutorial.

See also Making Goals SMART | Action Steps | Time Frames and Target Dates | Keep Goals Visual & Visible

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in goals
8 comments on “How to Make Goals Specific & Measurable
  1. Tabs says:

    Fantastic, this is a great example of setting specific goals. You find most people stop at the goal (I want to lose 20 pound, I want to save $20,000) a specific how, when usually doesn’t come into play when people are trying to be specific. Or perhaps I just like the formular it just makes sense, this clicks with me.

    Thanks for spelling it out.

  2. grace says:

    I will continue reading your tips! greetings

  3. […] to job misery are work that provides RECOGNITION, RELEVANCE and RESULTS. Work goals that create measurable results which are relevant to the Mission and goals of the organization meet most of the needs that […]

  4. Candice says:

    You can also use ABCD which teachers use.
    A – audience
    B – behaviour
    C – condition
    D – degree

    Explained in detail here

  5. […] can use this formula to make any goal SMARTer. Some goals are more abstract and downright hard to measure. Usually a rating scale can […]

  6. […] a goal and make it SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and […]

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