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Setting and reaching goals (1): From a vision to concrete goals

As with most people, there are probably some things in your life that you wish for your future and aim to accomplish. All of these things together give you an image of what your life should look like in the future - your vision.

In this lesson you will learn how to derive concrete goals from this vision.

A Vision is the Imagination of Your Future

A vision is an imagination of your life in the future. It is mostly unspecific and unmeasurable. You might have a vision like "live healthier", "have a career", or something similar. You have probably never actually asked yourself what that really means in detail. It is therefore difficult to define a point in time or state when a vision counts as realised. Since there is no clearly defined final state, the journey there is seldom clear and straightforward.


 George is a student and plays poker. He has long had the vision to live off of his poker winnings. However he has never properly thought about what that actually means in detail, and how it fits into his current living situation. Does he want to live exclusively from playing poker and give up his studies? Is poker as a "part time job" enough for now?

For these questions George hasn't got an answer yet. His dream to live off of poker is still very vague, and he doesn't know exactly how to make his dream a reality and integrate it into his life.

Define S.M.A.R.T. Goals

In order to make your vision a reality you should first derive specific goals from your vague vision of what you want to achieve and clearly define them. Depending on how big your vision is, this can consist of one or more goals. Each goal should be S.M.A.R.T.

Specific Measurable Attractive Realistic Timed


Depending on what your goal looks like in detail, some of these criteria are more important than others. 


A goal is precise, clear and exactly formulated. It states which goal should be reached.


A goal is measurable and includes criteria that let you know when you have reached your goal.


Formulate attractive goals. The more attractive a goal is, the higher your motivation will be to work on reaching it.


Set yourself challenging yet realistic goals. As a pointer you can think about what you have already achieved in this area in your life. From this you could take how much you can still improve yourself.

You should also honestly assess which obstacles still lie in your way.


A goal includes a date by which you want to have achieved it. Depending on the type and size of the goal, as well as personal circumstances, you need to pick the time frame individually, to stay realistic. You can take the time it took you to reach similar goals in the past as a point of reference.


 George formulates a smart goal from his vision:

He wants to treat poker as a part time job and use the winnings to pay for his living expenses during his studies.

Specific: His poker winnings should cover his living expenses.

Measurable: For his living expenses he needs €1,000 a month (rent, groceries, tuition fees, leisure). George therefore needs to beat NL100 with at least 2bb/100, since he plays 50k hands a month.

Attractive: Flexibility, no run of the mill job, fun, independence.

Realistic: He is beating NL25 and thinks moving up two limits will be challenging but achievable.

Timed: 10 months.

Build of reserves for three months and from then on earn €1,000/Month with poker on NL100.

Divide Big Goals into Intermediate Goals

Big goals cans be divided into intermediate goals. An intermediate goals is closely connected to your actual goal, but can be reached quicker.

This way, your motivation is higher since an intermediate goal is within your grasp and you will get a sense of achievement quicker. Planning bigger goals is also difficult and complicated, since the road to success is long and complicated and there is a risk that delays can jeopardise reaching your overall goal.


Through intermediate goals, the danger of delays is also not as big. An intermediate goal consists of fewer tasks and can therefore be planned more precisely. Even with a delay you can still adapt your plan quickly and easily.

Each intermediate goal should, in the same way as your overall goal, be defined by S.M.A.R.T.

You can then also divide intermediate goals into further intermediate goals. You should keep doing this until you know exactly how to reach the goal.


 George currently plays at and beats NL25. He divides his overall goal into intermediate goals:
1. Play NL25 and earn the bankroll (50 Stacks) for NL50.
2. Play NL50 and earn the bankroll (50 Stacks) for NL100.
3. Earn 3 month's reserves on NL100 (€3,000).
4. Earn at least €1,000 a month on NL100


A vision is a desirable state in an area of your life. It includes ideas and pictures of what you want to achieve.

In order to realise your vision you need to derive clear goals from it. A goal is a specific, measureable and desirable state in an area of your life. Well defined goals are S.M.A.R.T.:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attractive
  • Realistic
  • Timed

If your goals are too far away or too big, you should divide them into intermediate goals. Every intermediate goal should again be set using the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.

Next steps

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Comments (7)

#1 Liliya, 14 Feb 14 11:51

Hi All

Please enjoy the lesson Setting and reaching goals: From a vision to concrete goals

If you have any questions or comments please join the discussion in the forum here:


#2 DougWatts, 20 Feb 14 17:26

Good post. Enjoyed the read. Put some things into a better perspective for myself.

#3 Jaquare, 15 Aug 14 16:11

Thanks for the article, small but concrete!!

#4 sillywilly, 29 Aug 14 18:51

Setting goals has always been a weak point for me, hopefully with this article I can change this....

#5 mirth, 10 Apr 15 14:01

i agree with sillywilly, this is a difficult thing to do for some, including myself, but is very important and well-said here.

#6 Darkwshadow, 10 Nov 15 19:37

I will just correct about the SMART: A as Attainable not Attractive. Btw thats an interesting article, keep up the good work!

#7 corsc, 15 Dec 15 11:48

Great article. Thanks