Young dark skinned woman reaching high for stars as in star goals

How to Set STAR Goals

To set STAR goals one must know what they want to achieve, have a method to measure it and understand how it relates to their overall plan.

Breaking down the acronym and including all the components will lay out the foundation for your journey. They must be specific, trackable, attainable, and relevant.

Which Method of Goal Setting to Use?

When it comes to setting goals, there are many methodologies to get you there. Some examples include SMART, DUMB, and now STAR goals. These acronyms refer to multiple strategies you can use when formulating your targets.

SMART goals refer to specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound plans. In contrast, DUMB goals refer to dream-driven, uplifting, method-friendly, and behavior-driven objectives.

So what are STAR goals, and how do they differ from SMART goals? Here is a guide to setting STAR goals to help you get started.

What are STAR Goals?

STAR goals are well-defined, measurable, and realistic ambitions closely connected to your way of life or profession. Typically, STAR goals require you to use a rational approach to goal setting, unlike DUMB goals that primarily rely on your dreams and day-to-day behaviors.

Since STAR is an acronym, here is the breakdown.

S- Specific

T- Trackable

A- Attainable

R- Relevant


Setting vague targets can make it difficult or impossible for you to attain. For STAR goals to be successful, you need to be very specific when creating your targets.

For instance, you need to be clear-cut about what you want to accomplish and why you need to achieve it. Specifying your goals allows you to plan effectively by narrowing your focus to what matters.


Star goals need you to have a mechanism for tracking your goals’ progress. Measuring your targets will require you to use factual evidence when evaluating your progress. It would help if you had some kind of recording system when setting these goals.

A scoring system should contain various milestones that ultimately lead you to attain your final goal(s). For instance, if you wish to start a small business, you can set milestones. These milestones can include when your business starts making a profit, breaking even, and generating a high return on investment (ROI).


When setting goals, it is essential to challenge yourself. Still, it’s also crucial to set goals that you can realistically achieve. It would be best to consider your available resources and capabilities to see if you can attain your ambitions.

Additionally, kindly consider past experiences and even other people’s experiences with similar goals to determine if your targets are feasible.


STAR goals must be aligned and relevant to your core values and long-term ambitions. This approach ensures your targets complement and support your broader objectives. If your STAR goals aren’t relevant to the bigger picture, it may be best to rethink them.

Star goals relevant to your professional or personal life help you focus on your objectives and avoid procrastination.

STAR Goals vs. SMART Goals

When considering STAR goals vs. SMART goals, there are some similarities and one significant difference. The similarities between STAR and SMART ambitions include the need for specific, measurable, and attainable objectives.

These goals are also time-bound since you’ll have to specify the timeline for achieving them. Nonetheless, the difference between them is that STAR goals need to be relevant, whereas SMART goals must be realistic.

As discussed above, STAR goals must align with your core values and broader objectives. This approach helps motivate you to achieve your STAR goals while also considering the bigger picture.

On the other hand, SMART goals are more concerned with developing realistic objectives. This approach means that you will focus on whether your goals are sensible and whether you have practical ideas on how to achieve them.

STAR Goals Examples

Setting goals is an important part of financial success. Financial literacy also involves understanding your current situation and knowing how you will get to your financial goals.

Here are some STAR goal-setting examples related to financial progress.

1. Saving for vacation or emergency fund

When planning for a vacation or emergency fund, you need to be specific about your saving plan. Additionally, making trackable milestones to the saving plan will ensure they are attainable. Finally, looking at whether this objective aligns with your future will help you determine if it’s relevant and essential.

2. Clearing your credit card debt

Credit card debt can negatively affect your overall credit score, especially if it’s long overdue. However, you can clear it ASAP using the STAR goal approach to avoid this consequence.

Begin by setting specific and trackable targets towards achieving this objective, such as saving some money weekly/ monthly. With time, you’ll clear your credit card debt, which will contribute to a better credit score in the future.

Why Should I Set Goals for Myself?

Developing goals allows you to have a clear mindset about your path to success. Setting goals has become a mantra widely discussed in professional seminars, conferences, and even family gatherings.

Goal setting not only allows you to plan your future, but it allows you to have a vision to work towards. Breaking it down to further goals can provide you the motivation to keep going. Consider using STAR goals to achieve your aspirations.

By: Robert Puharich | November 28, 2021 |