In a situation where you set a goal but did not accomplish it, which elements of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting did you fail to use?Please describe a  situation where you set a goal but were not able to...

In a situation where you set a goal but did not accomplish it, which elements of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting did you fail to use?

Please describe a  situation where you set a goal but were not able to accomplish it.

Expert Answers
Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, let's first review what "S.M.A.R.T." stands for so that lots more people can participate in the discussion if they are unsure.  Each letter stands for a different factor in the goal setting process:


(This is from the following website:

Probably one of the more recent goals that I set that I couldn't achieve was the paving of our gravel road in our neighborhood.  Yes, my goal was specific:  to pave the whole road.  Yes, my goal was measurable:  I had all of the research, paperwork, and forms to find out how many of our neighbors would give the required amount.  Yes, my goal was attainable:  if all of the neighbors participated (or even is SOME of them participated) paving the road was possible.  Skip "R" for a second.  And yes, my goal was timely:  I had a beginning date set for two years in the future, so neighbors could save the money until that time.

HOWEVER, my goal was not realistic.  Why?  Because it depended too much on other people, and I overestimated the desires of those people.  Most of the people who live around me are true "country" people (i.e. "I've lived off a dirt road my whole like and own a 4wd truck, why would I want to spend 1k to pave?").  The irony is, I already knew my goal wasn't realistic before I tried to attempt it, but it was worth it to me to try.  Now at least we know we're stuck with a dirt road, ... where before it was always a question.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Any one of the elements of the SMART system might be implicated in the failure to achieve a goal. One major problem with goal setting is that full information may be lacking, unanticipated circumstances may loom, know obstacles may have greater weight than expected.

In setting a Specific goal and assigning Measurable steps and sub-goals, not having full information may impede success. In calculating Attainability, the unexpected and unanticipated may impose and thwart goal achievement. In choosing Realistic and Timely goals, again the unanticipated and unexpected may impact the success of goal achievement.

These elements can be amplified in complexity by the number of people are involved, for instance, if Person A has provided full information, then Person B shows up and says, "Yes, but what A doesn't know is ...," your SMART goal may fail because needed information was originally unattainable. This is precisely what I encountered while preparing for my move back to California: Person B popped out of the woodwork, so to speak, and said, "Yes, but Person A and C and D are wrong ...." It caused a very expensive alteration to my plans, but ultimately the major parts of my goal were attained: I now breathe Pacific Ocean air instead of anticipate Atlantic coast snow shoveling!

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My goal was to attain my 30 hours above my Masters within three years of being hired at my present job in order to move up the highest level of the salary scale.  I have not attained this goal which is specific and measurable.  It was a realistic goal minus all the events that have occured in my life to set my goal on the back burner.  Had my mother not been diagosed with cancer (thus, making me refocus and re-prioritize how I spend my time) and then my husband was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma (a cancer which had to be cut out and left him with half of his left hand) which had the same effect.  Now that they are both cancer-free, I plan to continue my classes, but my original goal of three years will now become a goal of six years.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One goal that I have set for myself but have been so far unable to achieve is to become literate in the Japanese language.  I think that I have been unable to achieve this goal to this point because it was not a realistic goal in the time frame that I gave myself.

I thought that I would be able to become literate in about three years because three years of college Japanese should be about enough to make a person literate.  The problem is that I did not have enough time or, perhaps, the resources to become literate in that time period.  I think that I set a goal that was not realistic given the difficulty of the written form of the language and the resources and time I had available to me.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I had to change my goal of completing a PhD before I was 30 because of unforeseen circumstances. It was a specific goal, in that my aim was clearly stated. It was measurable, as I had a specific deadline to do it, and thus it was time-bound as well. The elements that were lacking were its achievability and the realism. Getting married and then having four children meant that doing any other studies alongside working and supporting them made my goal unrealistic and unachievable.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Usually when I don't accomplish a goal it was not realistic, but sometimes other factors just get in the way. Things just go wrong. In today's job market, for example, you can do everything possible and still not succeed. A few months ago I decided I wanted to buy a house, but my goal was no attainable. No all my ducks were in a row. So I revised my goal to move to another rental instead. That goal I did achieve, with great results!