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Understanding how SMART goals can help you reach new milestones

Setting goals is important for achieving new milestones, whether it’s something personal like running a 10k or something professional, like changing careers. Not only do goals encourage motivation, but they also help identify what is important in your life and create an overall sense of direction for your future.

When setting your goals, make them SMART!  The acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. To help you incorporate more SMART goals into your day-to-day life, we’ve broken the acronym down and provided some examples to help you get started.


The first part of a SMART goal is making sure your goal is specific. The goal should be clear and have a specific objective in mind. For example, instead of setting out to learn more about commercial driving, a specific goal would be going back to school to earn a CDL certification through FastForward at a local community college. By setting specific goals, you are much more likely to be motivated to reach that objective and realize when your goal has been reached.


A measurable goal ensures you have an effective way to evaluate your progress. An example of a measurable goal would be earning a FastForward credential by July 2023.


The achievable aspect of SMART goal setting is extremely important to your success. The goal should not be too easily reachable, and on the flip side, it should not be too unrealistic. An example of an unattainable goal might be founding a trucking company within two months of getting your CDL. The key to this tactic is to set ambitious but realistic objectives.


Making sure your goal is important to you and aligns with your larger objectives is an important part of SMART goal setting. A way to look at the relevancy of your goal is to ask yourself if it aligns with the future outcome you want to achieve. If your overall objective is starting a career in commercial driving, obtaining a CDL certification would be a relevant goal.


Establishing a timeline to reach your goal provides a sense of urgency to complete the objective. For example, if your goal was to run a marathon by the end of a six-month timeframe, timely milestones could include completing a three-mile run, then a six-mile run, and so forth by the end of each month leading up to the race. Setting a timely deadline keeps you on track to reaching your goal without becoming overwhelmed or procrastinating. 

Remember, set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, and if you need a goal to start working toward, FastForward can lead you in the right direction.   

Ready to create your SMART goal as it relates to earning a new credential at a local community college? Head over to our website to talk to a career coach and get started today.