Deep Sauce


December 15, 2020

If you're going to move beyond the lip service that most people are content with, and actually work hard in the pursuit of excellence, then you'll need to implement SMART goals in your life to start climbing the summit, a day at a time.

What are SMART goals? It's more fancy business terminology, but it's actually a pretty helpful way to make actual goals that will lead to results, instead of the vague nonsense most people fool themselves with.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Specific: "I want to be healthy" or "I want to look good" are the useless sort of empty statements that many people mistake for a goal. In what way do you want to be healthy? What will lead to you looking good?

Measurable: You need to be able to measure your progress in the goal to have any sense of accountability or achievement. "I want to lose weight" is a meaningless goal if you never use a scale or have a target weight.

Achievable: If you haven't run in 20 years, "run a sub-2:00 marathon in 3 months" is probably not an achievable goal. You need to make a goal that is at least somewhat feasible, or else it's pointless.

Relevant: The goal needs to align with your larger vision. If the big-picture idea is to build wealth, then setting fitness SMART goals won't do you any good.

Time-bound: "A goal is a dream with a deadline," as Napoleon Hill put it. You need to add a time limit to actually ever get the goal done.

Here's an example of a good SMART goal from my friend Ben:

"I want to deadlift 500 pounds by the end of the year."

  • Specific: Deadlifting
  • Measurable: 500 pounds
  • Achievable: Ben is an experienced deadlifter
  • Relevant: Ben's larger goal is getting jacked
  • Time-bound: By the end of the year

SMART goals separate the dime-a-dozen talkers who always run their mouths about how they're going to turn their lives around, from the relatively few people who actually do it. Everyone would run out of fingers counting the people they know who say they'll make a podcast, or start a business, or finally get their act together and become a lawyer instead of playing video games all day. And so on and so on.

With SMART goals, all the excuses and mind games you play with yourself go out the window. You can talk all day about getting in better shape, but when you set a SMART goal to have a visible 6-pack within a year, it's no longer the usual hypothetical to help you sleep at night as you try to reason away a wasted life. You either do it, or you don't.

Once you set a proper SMART goal, the only question remaining is whether you will actually put in the work to get it done.