Have you set goals in the past?
Did you achieve them?

What goals did you set and attain?
What goals did you set and come up short?

Why do some people achieve their goals and others do not?

What are your goals for this class?

Are your goals S.M.A.R.T. Goals or are they more wishes and desires?  What’s the difference?

Write down your goals.  They might look like these:

  • Get in better physical shape
  • Play chess better
  • Go to a SKY or Top-10 Korean university
  • Become a doctor.

Those, as admirable as they might be, aren’t goals.  They’re wishes.  They’re desires.  They’re not S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

Let’s look at the desire to “play chess better” and make it into a S.M.A.R.T. Goal.

Although the S.M.A.R.T. Goals acronym sets the order as Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound, we must first ask whether the goal is attainable.

A – Attainable:  Is your goal attainable?

Goals must be attainable.  A goal might be admirable or something you really wish you could do, but if the goal is not attainable, you’ll eventually stop trying.


  • Run a marathon in under two hours 10 minutes in the next 2 years
  • Dunk a basketball by the end of this year

Those goals are specific, measurable, realistic (in the sense that I have the time and resources to devote to pursue those goals), and timely.  They are not, however, attainable.  Running a sub 2:10 marathon is close to the world record.

Even dunking a basketball, which is certainly not impossible, is unattainable at my age.  Even Michael Jordon made YouTube when he dunked a basketball recently.

Now we can turn to the S, M, R, T in making S.M.A.R.T Goals.

S – Specific:  Is your goal specific?

Dreams are cloudy, fuzzy, and in the form of ideas.  Goals are solid, clear, and can be touched.

M- Measurable:  Is your goal measurable?

“Lose weight” is a good idea.  “Lose 5 kilograms” is measurable every day by your bathroom scale.

R – Realistic:  Is your goal realistic?

Do you have the resources (for example, time) to pursue your goal?  Running a marathon takes a large block of your time everyday, requires changes in your diet, and even requires a certain type of expected weather.  Do you think you could train to run a marathon during Korea’s icy winter or Korea’s sweltering rainy season?

What are other examples of resources?  What resources do your goals require?

T – Time Bound:  Is your goal time bound?

We have a business adage:  “work expands to fill the time allotted to do it.”  A small step becomes “work without a deadline doesn’t get done.”

Let’s make the desire to “play chess better” into a S.M.A.R.T. Goal:

Learn the four fundamental checkmates in two weeks.

Devote 20 minutes (or as needed) each day everyday at 9 p.m. to learning fundamental checkmates from YouTube videos.

  1. King and Queen vs. King – one day
  2. King and Rook vs. King – two days
  3. King and two Bishops vs. King – four days
  4. King, Knight, and Bishop vs. King – seven days

Do you think this goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound?