Setting achievable goals to hold yourself accountable

When the economy is in turmoil (and we’ve had a few years of that now!) it can be easy to be downhearted. Instead set yourself some achievable goals. Don’t go too big – or you’ll get downhearted again. What you need is to break the elephant down into bite sized chunks. Plus have structured goals with the SMART formulation for your goals whether they are your daily, weekly, monthly or annual.

What does SMART stand for?

S is for specific. Sounds totally common sense doesn’t it, but sometimes people set goals such as “grow sales” and that’s it. How can you know that you are successful when it is so vague? It you don’t know if you are successful then you will always feel down about what you do achieve.

M is for measurable. Using the same example “grow sales” is that in terms of revenue, in terms of number of products / services sold, by entering a new market a new geography? Again it is all too vague.

A is for attainable. If your current turnover is £50,000 and you work on your own, it will not be realistic to have a turnover of £50,000,000 in a quarter. Make sure that the goals that you set are something that you are able to achieve. There is nothing wrong with a slightly ambitious goal, but do not set yourself up for failure.

R is for realistic. So, it is not realistic to believe that you can enter a new market and be number one within 6 months (unless you have a totally unique new offering which is exceptionally rare!).

T is for timed. Each goal should have a time reference in it, so you know when to measure it and when your deadline is for ensuring success. Regular reviews through a longer timeframe will mean that remedial action can be taken to ensure success.

So, now you know what each of the letters in SMART stand for, how about we draft up some sample achievable goals that follow that structure:

  1. The first one was a real SMART goal I set myself back in 2020: Write one blog post a week and publish each Thursday morning on – This was timed (each Thursday morning). It was attainable as it is one a week. The goal was specific – a new blog post for Very realistic to do and it was measurable – I missed one blog. In my defence it was the Christmas break, but I should have been more organised and written it ahead of time and used the scheduling function on my website. That was my learning. I don’t have that goal anymore, now I have the SMART goal of “Post on LinkedIn every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a mix of content.” I do do that, it is very achievable for me, and I also some of those posts on the company Facebook account too. Take a look at my content on
  2. Now for some fictious ones:
    1. Increase sales by 5% on product range XYZ by Q2FY2025 within the healthcare market.
    2. Launch new service ABC on 1st May 2026 across the UK, Germany and Ireland.
    3. Decrease marketing spend by 10% across FY2024 by rolling out Integrated Marketing Campaigns.
    4. Recruit 5 new apprentices by 30th March 2025 for the engineering team.
    5. Research and reach out to 3 new sales prospects per week for the next month.

You can see that each of the goals has a specific target that is measurable, the timeframes are clear. Some are bottom line related (increasing sales for turnover, decreasing spend for increased profitability), some are personnel related, some are about expansion (introducing new services).

If you need help in setting your achievable goals or need a mentor to make sure that you are kept accountable to achieving them, then please drop us a line. We have mentoring services for both business and marketing from an hour a month – what have you got to lose from a free of charge 30 minute chat to see if we are the right fit for each other.

[Originally posted 14/1/21; edited 15/3/24]

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