Create SMART Goals with “The Rule of Three”

Read Time: 10 Minutes
Activity Time: 30 Minutes

Without a proper plan or structure, the goals we make can often become overwhelming or daunting. And in result we become hesitant to complete them or we become unmotivated. So what I’ve come across that helps is to make things “bite-sized” and creating “SMART goals”.

Step 1: The SMART Three

So lets just say you are planning your goals like you normally do. Now if your like me, we’re overly ambitious and end up with a list of hundreds goals. It seems like a good idea to start with, even somewhat realistic but through experience this will quickly become overwhelming. So lets simplify it down and take a step back. Similar to a New Years Resolution I want you to think of three things you want to achieve in a year. But to make it a bit different I want you to ask yourself is this goal SMART?  which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. So when you write down your goal I want you to make sure that the goal covers each of the criteria (Ex. Is the goal measurable? <– Replace the word with each criteria) The goal of this activity is to end up with 3 SMART goals that you believe you can achieve within a year.

This is NOT a SMART goal: “I want to get fit”
This IS a SMART goal: “I want to fit into a medium t-shirt by losing 30 pounds of fat by the end of this year”

Step 2: The Three Tree

Now that you have your three SMART goals of the year, you can begin planning “The Three Tree” for each goal. What this does is break down the main goal into smaller tasks. So as an example you’ll take your goal of:

“I want to fit into a medium sized t-shirt by losing 30 pound of fat by the end of this year”

And then you break this goal down continuously till you have daily tasks.

3 Goals for the Month –> 3 Goals for the Week –> 3 Goals for the Day

The tree helps you determine your progress and keeps you on track for actually completing you 3 SMART  year goals. Essentially its a ‘sanity check’; The 3 SMART goals are broken down into monthly goals which are broken down into weekly goals which are once again broken down into daily goals which you can take on in a simple day to day basis. This is DIFFERENT from a to-do list as you are striving for 3 results rather than 3 activities.

Step 3: Three Weeks

The average time it takes to form new habits is 3 weeks or 21 days. So that’s all it takes. Three weeks of 3 goals a day isn’t hard to do to develop a habit for the rest of the year. To help you out on your journey I’m developing an excel sheet that I’m using to plan my goals and you can use it to plan yours. In the meantime there’s an excellent app called Which allows you to check in daily to keep track of your progress. There is a social aspect which allows people to monitor your progress as well. Look for one person who will hold you accountable for the first 30 days. Another useful app is Any.Do, I like this app because there is a setting which allows you to set a time in the morning where you can actually plan your day with the things you want to get done. So just keep on sticking to the SMART rules of three and you will definitely be able to achieve your goals.

Useful Tools:
Download Here
Download Any.Do Here

Let me know about your progress, your experience with trying this technique, suggestions to help all of us make better goals or just leave a comment. Good luck to all your goals!


– Yang


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