SHARPER Goals are just like SMART Goals. However, you’re more likely to succeed in achieving a sharper goal because they are based on the principles of both habits and connect to your purpose.

Author of Atomic Habits James Clear is right. Goals are not achieved without a system:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
“Goals are good for setting a direction but systems are best for making progress.”
“Ultimately, it’s your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.”

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

I’ve devised SHARPER to bring a process and system to goal setting. It’s not so hard to do…

To create a SHARPER Goal, start with a SMART Goal then make it sharper. But how?

Let’s start with a refresher on SMART Goals first. 


S Specific

M Measurable

A Attainable

R Relevant

T Time-bound 

Take note that the S in SHARPER is the SMART Goal. Now let’s sharpen it up with:


S = S.M.A.R.T. Goal (follow the above SMART Goal framework).

H = Habit that will bring the goal toward you daily

A = Action or trigger that will force the new habit 

R = Replaces another (bad)habit 

P = Plan B if you fail

E = Emotion

R = Reason connect the goal to your purpose.

Sadly, most SMART Goals (wikipedia) are forgotten as quickly as they are made. You’ll see a SHARPER Goal makes you dig deeper but it’s for a reason. The little bit of extra time in planning will pay off! 

  • What habit are you going to adopt to achieve your goal?
  • What action or trigger will you use to force the habit?
  • What is your new habit going to replace?
  • What will you do (Plan B) if you don’t achieve the goal in the time boundary?
  • How will you feel when you achieve this goal? Connect to that emotion.
  • In what way is this goal connected with your purpose? This is your reason for achieving the goal.

SHARPER Goals enforce the wisdom that you need to make room for your new goal.

If you cannot answer these questions then accept right now that your goal will fail. It’s that simple.

Notion Template for SHARPER SMART Goals

Here’s a free resource I’ve made to make it easier for you to set your goals the SHARPER way.