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How to Turn Big Goals into SMART Goals

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true. - Greg Reid

The new year always brings thoughts of the past year and of the future year.

What did we do last year, and what do we want to do in the next one? How can we have a better year than last? What does your vision for a good life include?

Planning to reach your goal can be overwhelming, especially if those goals mean big changes to your current life. Figuring out where to begin can be confusing and may even make you feel like your goal is impossible. But by breaking down those big goals into smaller, more manageable steps and tasks, you can start making progress toward reaching your goal. To help you turn your goals into SMART goals, there are three things you need to think about:


We can start by turning this into smaller goals! These are small steps you can take in your everyday life to make progress toward your big goal.

Let's go through it together with our big goal for the year: Spending more quality time with family. Then, to make it into smaller goals, ask yourself what you can start doing to spend more quality time with your family. Some examples are:

  • Going on a trip with my family.

  • Doing a hobby together.

  • Having more meals with my family.

We now have three smaller steps that are easier to meet than the big goal. With smaller goals, you can start taking steps that will help you eventually reach your big goal. Now that you have smaller goals to help you reach your Big Goal, it's time to make sure your goals are SMART Goals.


The SMART goal system is an easy way to make sure your smaller goals are going to put your ideas and goals into action. With a smart goal, you and your support network can create a plan and progress together. A SMART goal stands for a goal that is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

  • Is it Specific? Does your goal tell you what you want? A specific goal can help you and your team know exactly what you are working towards.

  • Is it Measurable? How will you know when you have met the goal? Defining the levels of success for your goal makes it easier to know when you've reached your goal.

  • Is it Achievable? If you aren't sure if your goal is achievable, here are some questions to ask yourself as you create tasks:

    • Do you have the tools and support to achieve this goal? Consider raising your hand and asking your support network for help.

    • Do you need to find more support? Check out our blog: 5 Tips to Grow Your Network of Support, for tips on growing your network.

    • Are there roadblocks that will make this longer or harder to complete?

  • Is it Relevant? Does this goal fit into your vision for a Good Life? Does it make sense with your other goals, likes, and dislikes? If your goal doesn't fit into your needs, interests, or overall vision for your Good Life, it may not be the right goal for you. It may also be a harder goal to reach. If you aren't sure, consider reviewing your LifeCourse Charting Session Vision Tool and Profile questions.

  • Is it Time-bound? When should you review the progress you've made toward your goal? Adding a date will help you keep on track.

One way you can create a SMART goal is by filling in the blanks: By (add a review date)___________ , I aim to (add your smaller goal)________ Because (add your big goal). By February, I will cook dinner for my family because I want to spend more time with them.

Now that you have broken your big goals into smaller SMART goals, you are on your way to reaching the big goals in your good life vision.


If you're still not sure what the next step is to accomplish your smaller goal, you may need to make a list of tasks. The difference between goals and tasks can be confusing. One way to remember is to think: What do I need to do to get to where I want to be?

You can create a task list by thinking about your goal backward! Let’s use the SMART goal we set above as an example: By February, I will cook dinner for my family because I want to spend more time with them. If you continue the backward process, you will end up with the following steps: 4. To be able to make dinner, I need to cook the meal. 3. To be able to cook it, I need to buy the ingredients. 2. To buy ingredients, I need to make a grocery list. 1. To make a grocery list, I need to find a recipe.

Now that you planned backward, you can reverse the plan and look at the tasks in order! 1. Find a recipe 2. Make a grocery list 3. Buy the ingredients 4. Cook the meal

With your list of tasks ready to go, you know your next steps to reaching your goals. However, before you start completing tasks, take a moment to plan for any extra preparation or support you need.

By breaking down large goals into more manageable goals and tasks, you are more likely to meet them. And as you progress, you will gain momentum and confidence as you get closer and closer to reaching your goal! Read our blog "How Setting Goals Can Help You Live Your Best Life" for more information on how setting goals helps you live your best life.

Don't forget to enter your Goals and Tasks into your LCO Dashboard. The Goals feature in your Dashboard allows you to track progress and collaborate with your entire support network as you work towards your Good Life vision.


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