German Language Blog

Accelerate Your Learning! German SMART Goals Posted by on Jan 24, 2022 in Language

Guten Tag! How are your New Year’s Resolutions (die Neujahrsvorsätze) going? Are they still going strong, or have you given up? If you have, fear not! Today’s post is all about a method that might just help you get back on track: die SMART-Formel!

Learning SMART goals in German


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You may have heard of SMART goals already. They are used in many industries to break bigger goals down into smaller, more achievable steps. In English, SMART is an acronym (das Akronym) for:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic/Relevant/Reasonable (there are a few different words used for this one)
T – Time-bound

A few examples of where SMART goals are used are: project management (das Projektmanagement), personal development (die Personalentwicklung), and the fitness industry (die Fitnessindustrie). By breaking your big goal down into smaller goals using the SMART method, the idea is you make it more erreichbar – achievable!

One great thing about the SMART acronym is that it’s also called SMART in German (die SMART-Formel)! So let’s see what all the letters stand for, in German (note: you may see some slight variations out there, as in English).

Die SMART-Formel – The SMART formula:


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S – spezifisch (specific)

M – messbar (measurable)

A – attraktiv (attractive, appealing)

R – realistisch (realistic)

T – terminiert (terminated)

When making SMART goals, you can break them down into three different types, depending on their complexity and how much time you need to complete them:

  • kurzfristige Ziele – short-term goals
  • mittelfristige Ziele – medium-term goals
  • langfristige Ziele – long-term goals

(das Ziel: the goal)

Applying this to German language learning


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To give you an example of how SMART goals work, let’s put it into practice using German language learning as an example.

Let’s say my initial New Year’s Resolution is this:

“I want to focus more on learning German this year.”

This is a big goal, and the main problem is that it’s very vague (vage). How can I break it down, using SMART, to make it less overwhelming and to create a clearer plan for myself?

First, I would start with das kurzfristige Ziel (short-term goal), because this will be easy to achieve and make me feel erfolgreich (successful) straight away.

Using SMART, “I want to focus more on learning German this year” becomes this:

S- SPEZIFISCH (specific):
“I want to sit down at my desk for 30 minutes this week and read articles on the Transparent Language German blog.”

M – MESSBAR (measurable):
“I have time to do this on Wednesday at 1pm until 1:30pm. I have written this in my diary so I don’t forget, and I will set a timer on my phone to ensure I get the full 30 minutes.”

A – ATTRAKTIV (attractive, appealing)
“I like reading blogs, and this is an easy and enjoyable way for me to start learning more German!”

R – REALISTISCH (realistic)
“30 minutes is not a lot of time, I have an internet connection, and I am not doing anything else on Wednesday at 1pm.”

T – TERMINIERT (time-bound)
“I will have completed this goal on Wednesday at 13:30.”

Then, I would do the same for the mittelfristige- und langfristrige Ziele (mid- and long-term goals).

I hope this makes sense and that you can use it to help you get even better at German! Feel free to share your own SMART-Ziele in the COMMENT BOX below, and remember they need to be:

spezifisch; messbar; attraktiv; realistisch; und terminiert

so you can be:

erfolgreich! 🙂


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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.