Business Goals 101: How to Set, Track, and Achieve Your Organization’s Goals with Examples
By Kate Eby | November 7, 2022
Learning how to set concrete, achievable business goals is critical to your organization’s success. We’ve consulted seasoned experts on how to successfully set and achieve short- and long-term business goals, with examples to help you get started.
Included on this page, you’ll find a list of the different types of business goals , the benefits and challenges of business goal-setting, and examples of short-term and long-term business goals. Plus, find expert tips and compare and contrast business goal-setting frameworks.
What Are Business Goals?
Business goals are the outcomes an organization aims to achieve. They can be broad and long term or specific and short term. Business leaders set goals in order to motivate teams, measure progress, and improve performance.
“Business goals are those that represent a company's overarching mission,” says David Bitton, Co-founder and CMO of DoorLoop . “These goals typically cover the entire business and are vast in scope. They are established so that employees may work toward a common goal. In essence, business goals specify the ‘what’ of a company's purpose and provide teams with a general course to pursue.”
For more resources and information on setting goals, try one of these free goal tracking and setting templates .
Business Goals vs. Business Objectives
Many professionals use the terms business goal and business objective interchangeably. Generally, a business goal is a broad, long-term outcome an organization works toward, while a business objective is a specific and measurable task, project, or initiative.
Think of business objectives as the steps an organization takes toward their broader, long-term goals. In some cases, a business objective might simply be a short-term goal. In most cases, business goals refer to outcomes, while business objectives refer to actionable tasks.
“Business objectives are clear and precise,” says Bitton. “When businesses set out to achieve their business goals, they do so by establishing quantifiable, simply defined, and trackable objectives. Business objectives lay out the ‘how’ in clear, doable steps that lead to the desired result.”
For more information and resources, see this article on the key differences between goals and objectives.
Common Frameworks for Writing Business Goals
Goal-setting frameworks can help you get the most out of your business goals. Common frameworks include SMART, OKR, MBO, BHAG, and KRA. Learning about these goal-setting tools can help you choose the right one for your company.
Here are the common frameworks for writing business goals with examples:
- SMART: SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This is probably the most popular method for setting goals. Ensuring that your goals meet SMART goal criteria is a tried and true way to increase your chances of success and make progress on even your most ambitious goals. Example SMART Goal: We will increase the revenue from our online store by 5 percent in three months by increasing our sign-up discount from 25 to 30 percent.
- OKR: Another popular approach is to set OKRs, or objectives and key results. In order to use OKRs , a team or individual selects an objective they would like to work toward. Then they select key results , or standardized measurements of success or progress. Example Objective: We aim to increase the sales revenue of our online store. Example Key Result: Make $200,000 in sales revenue from the online store in June.
- MBO: MBO, or management by objectives , is a collaborative goal-setting framework and management technique. When using MBO, managers work with employees to create specific, agreed-upon objectives and develop a plan to achieve them. This framework is excellent for ensuring that everyone is aligned on their goals. Example MBO: This quarter, we aim to decrease patient waiting times by 30 percent.
- BHAG: A BHAG, or a big hairy audacious goal , is an ambitious, possibly unattainable goal. While the idea of setting a BHAG might run contrary to a lot of advice about goal-setting, a BHAG can energize the team by giving everyone a shared purpose. These are best for long-term, visionary business goals. Example BHAG: We want to be the leading digital music service provider globally by 2030.
- KRA: KRAs, or key result areas , refer to a short list of goals that an individual, department, or organization can work toward. KRAs function like a rubric for general progress and to help ensure that the team’s efforts have an optimal impact on the overall health of the business. Example KRA: Increase high-quality sales leads per sales representative.
Use the table below to compare the pros and cons of each goal-setting framework to help you decide which framework will be most useful for your business goals.
Types of Business Goals
A business goal is any goal that helps move an organization toward a desired result. There are many types of business goals, including process goals, development goals, innovation goals, and profitability goals.
Here are some common types of business goals:
- Growth: A growth goal is a goal relating to the size and scope of the company. A growth goal might involve increasing the number of employees, adding new verticals, opening new stores or offices, or generally expanding the impact or market share of a company.
- Process: A process goal , also called a day-to-day goal or an efficiency goal , is a goal to improve the everyday effectiveness of a team or company. A process goal might involve establishing or improving workflows or routines, delegating responsibilities, or improving team skills.
- Problem-Solving: Problem-solving goals address a specific challenge. Problem-solving goals might involve removing an inefficiency, changing policies to accommodate a new law or regulation, or reorienting after an unsuccessful project or initiative.
- Development: A development goal , also called an educational goal , is a goal to develop new skills or expertise, either for your team or for yourself. For example, development goals might include developing a new training module, learning a new coding language, or taking a continuing education class in your field.
- Innovation: An innovation goal is a goal to create new or more reliable products or services. Innovation goals might involve developing a new mobile app, redesigning an existing product, or restructuring to a new business model.
- Profitability: A profitability goal , also called a financial goal , is any goal to improve the financial prospects of a company. Profitability goals might involve increasing revenue, decreasing debt, or growing the company’s shareholder value.
- Sustainability: A s ustainability goal is a goal to either decrease your company’s negative impact on the environment or actively improve the environment through specific initiatives. For example, a sustainability goal might be to decrease a company’s carbon footprint, reduce energy use, or divest from environmentally irresponsible organizations and reinvest in sustainable ones.
- Marketing: A marketing goal , also called a brand goal , is a goal to increase a company’s influence and brand awareness in the market. A marketing goal might be to boost engagement across social media platforms or generate more higher-quality leads.
- Customer Relations: A customer relations goal is a goal to improve customer satisfaction with and trust in your product or services. A customer relations goal might be to decrease customer service wait times, improve customers’ self-reported satisfaction with your products or services, or increase customer loyalty.
- Company Culture: A company culture goal , also called a social goal , is a goal to improve the work environment of your company. A company culture goal might be to improve employee benefits; improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across your organization; or create a greater sense of work-life balance among employees.
What Are Business Goal Examples?
Business goal examples are real or hypothetical business goal statements. A business goal example can use any goal-setting framework, such as SMART, OKR, or KRA. Teams and individuals use these examples to guide them in the goal-setting process.
For a comprehensive list of examples by industry and type, check out this collection of business goal examples.
What Are Short-Term Business Goals?
Short-term business goals are measurable objectives that can be completed within hours, days, weeks, or months. Many short-term business goals are smaller objectives that help a company make progress on a longer-term goal.
The first step in setting a short-term business goal is to clarify your long-term goals.
“My practice is to start with an aspirational vision that is the framework for my long-term goals and to compare that ‘better tomorrow’ with the realities of today,” says Morgan Roth, Chief Communication Strategy Officer at EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases . “Once that framework of three to five major goals is drafted and I have buy-in, I can think about how we get there. Those will be my short-term goals.”
Bitton recommends using the SMART framework for setting short-term business goals to ensure that your team has structure and that their goals are achievable. “Determine which objectives can be attained in a reasonable amount of time,” she adds. “This will help you stay motivated. Your organization may suffer if you try to squeeze years-long ambitions into a month-long project.”
Short-Term Business Goal Examples
Companies can use short-term business goals to increase profits, implement new policies or initiatives, or improve company culture. We’ve gathered some examples of short-term business goals to help you brainstorm your own goal ideas.
Here are three sample short-term business goals:
- Increase Your Market Share: When companies increase their market share, they increase the percentage of their target audience who chooses their product or service over competitors. This is a good short-term goal for companies that have long-term expansion goals. For example, a local retail business might want to draw new customers from the local community. The business sets a goal of increasing the average number of customers who enter its store from 500 per week to 600 per week within three months. It can meet this goal by launching a local advertising initiative, reducing prices, or expanding its presence on local social media groups. Small business owners can check out this comprehensive guide to learn more about setting productive goals for their small businesses.
- Reduce Paper Waste: All businesses produce waste, but company leaders can take actions to reduce or combat excessive waste. Reducing your company’s paper waste is a good short-term goal for companies that have long-term sustainability goals. For example, a large company’s corporate headquarters is currently producing an average of four pounds of paper waste per employee per day. They set a goal of decreasing this number to two pounds by the end of the current quarter. They can meet this goal by incentivizing or requiring electronic reporting and forms whenever possible.
- Increase Social Media Engagement: High social media engagement is essential for businesses that want to increase brand awareness or attract new customers. This is a good short-term goal for companies with long-term marketing or brand goals. For example, after reviewing a recent study, a natural cosmetics company learns that its target audience is 30 percent more likely to purchase products recommended to them by TikTok influencers, but the company’s social media team only posts sporadically on its TikTok. The company sets a goal of producing and posting two makeup tutorials on TikTok each week for the next three months.
What Are Long-Term Business Goals?
A l ong-term business goal is an ambitious desired outcome for your company that is broad in scope. Long-term business goals might be harder to measure or achieve. They provide a shared direction and motivation for team members.
“Long-term planning is increasingly difficult in our very complex and interconnected world,” says Roth. “Economically, politically, and culturally, we’re seeing sea changes in the way we live and work. Accordingly, it’s important to be thoughtful about long-term goal-setting, but not to the point where concerns stifle creativity and your ‘Big Ideas.’ A helpful strategy I employ is to avoid assumptions. Long-term planning should be based on what you know, not on what you assume will be true in some future state.”
Tip: You can turn most short-term goals into long-term goals by increasing their scope. For example, to turn the “increase market share” goal described above into a long-term goal, you might increase the target weekly customers from 600 to 2,000. This will likely take longer than a few months and might require expanding the store or opening new locations.
Long-Term Business Goal Examples
An organization can use long-term business goals to unify their vision, motivate workers, and prioritize short-term goals. We’ve gathered some examples of long-term business goals to guide you in setting goals for your business.
Here are three sample long-term business goals:
- Increase Total Sales: A common growth profitability goal is to increase sales. An up-and-coming software company might set a long-term goal of increasing their product sales by 75 percent over two years.
- Increase Employee Retention: Companies with high employee retention enjoy many benefits, such as decreased hiring costs, better brand reputation, and a highly skilled workforce. A large corporation with an employee retention rate of 80 percent might set a long-term goal of increasing that retention rate to 90 percent within five years.
- Develop a New Technology: Most companies in the IT sphere rely on innovation goals to stay competitive. A company might set a long-term goal of creating an entirely new AI technology within 10 years.
Challenges of Setting Business Goals
Although setting business goals has few downsides, teams can run into problems. For example, setting business goals that are too ambitious, inflexible, or not in line with the company vision can end up being counterproductive.
Here are some common challenges teams face when setting business goals:
- Having a Narrow Focus: One of the greatest benefits of setting business goals is how doing so can focus your team. That said, this can also be a drawback, as such focus on a single goal can narrow the team’s perspective and make people less able to adapt to change or recognize and seize unexpected opportunities.
- Being Overly Ambitious: It’s important to be ambitious, but some goals are simply too lofty. If a goal is impossible to hit, it can be demoralizing.
- Not Being Ambitious Enough: The opposite problem is when companies are too modest with their goal-setting. Goals should be realistic but challenging. Teams that prioritize the former while ignoring the latter will have problems with motivation and momentum.
- Facing Unexpected Obstacles: If something happens that suddenly derails progress toward a goal, it can be a huge blow to a company. Learn about project risk management to better manage uncertainty in your projects.
- Having Unclear Objectives: Goals that are vague or unquantifiable will not be as effective as clear, measurable goals. Use frameworks such as SMART goals or OKRs to make sure your goals are clear.
- Losing Motivation: Teams can lose sight of their goals over time, especially with long-term goals. Be sure to review and assess progress toward goals regularly to keep your long-term vision front of mind.
Why You Need Business Goals
Every business needs to set clear goals in order to succeed. Business goals provide direction, encourage focus, improve morale, and spur growth. We’ve gathered some common benefits of goal-setting for your business.
Here are some benefits you can expect from setting business goals:
- More Clarity: Business goals ensure that everyone is moving toward a determined end point. Companies with clear business goals have teams that agree on what is important and what everyone should be working toward.
- Increased Focus: Business goals encourage focus, which improves performance and increases productivity.
- Faster Growth: Business goals help companies expand and thrive. “Setting goals and objectives for your business will help you grow it more quickly,” says Bitton. “Your potential for growth increases as you consistently accomplish your goals and objectives.”
- Improved Morale: Everyone is happier when they are working toward a tangible goal. Companies with clear business goals have employees that are more motivated and fulfilled at work. Plus, measuring progress toward specific goals makes it easier to notice and acknowledge everyone’s successes.
- More Accountability: Having tangible goals means that everyone can see whether or not their work is effective at making progress toward those goals.
- Better Decision-Making: Business goals help teams prioritize tasks and make tough decisions. “You gain perspective on your entire business, which makes it easier for you to make smart decisions,” says Bitton. “You are forming a clear vision for the direction you want your business to go, which facilitates the efficient distribution of resources, the development of strategies, and the prioritization of tasks.”
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How to Write a Business Plan
Five examples of business goals and how to set them
What are five examples of business goals
Financial goals, growth goals, customer goals, employee development goals, social goals.
Moving forward in business is like planning a great trip: You know where you want to end up, but the road there isn’t always straightforward.
Smart business goals help you navigate the twists and turns along the way. While a business plan and vision statement offer a “big picture” perspective about your company and what you want to accomplish, short-term and long-term goals define the specific strategies you’ll use to get there.
However, not all business goals are created equal. In order to be effective, goals must involve specific, actionable items with a clear time frame and responsible parties.
Build business forms for free with Jotform .
Here are five examples of smart goals for small business owners and how you can set them.
Financial goals help you focus on driving more revenue, cutting costs to raise profitability and sustain cash flow, and setting new financial targets for future growth.
To create and accomplish financial goals, you have to collaborate with different departments. Each department can help to identify strategies that trim costs, such as supplies or facility expenses. Your team’s expertise may also extend to implementing ideas that accomplish revenue and profitability goals.
When developing financial goals, project the total increase in profits over a long period like a year. Then break that amount down into quarterly financial targets. Make financial goals as specific as possible — for example, “increase production by x percent over three months.”
To develop growth goals, you need a clear vision statement that you can segment into achievable steps. Whether it’s reaching new markets, launching new products, increasing your customer base, or raising brand recognition, it’s important to establish a realistic number of goals, actionable tasks, and a team to complete those growth goals.
Start with a market analysis to ensure the approach makes sense. As you implement growth goals, you may need to change their priority or adapt them so you aren’t counteracting other business goals.
For example, growing a customer base may involve promotions that don’t necessarily improve your bottom line at the start. So you’ll need to make assessments along the way to gauge if and when you’ll achieve the financial goal connected to this growth goal.
Improving relationships with your target audience doesn’t just solve problems for individual customers. Enhanced customer service also helps your company develop respect among all stakeholders, which promotes additional business growth.
To set goals for customers, identify roadblocks that inhibit exceptional customer experiences. Roadblocks might include a complicated phone menu, significant response lag, or slow checkout time.
With these roadblocks in mind, develop customer goals to solve them, such as
- Simplify call-in customer support options
- Add other customer support channels like an online help desk or a chat option
- Streamline the online/in-store checkout process with new technology
Motivated, engaged employees offer many benefits for a company, such as increased productivity, deeper loyalty, and more creativity. This talent is an essential ingredient in a company’s recipe for success. That’s why it’s critical to design and execute goals that help employees develop skills and knowledge as well as challenge them enough to stay interested in their work.
To set employee development goals, collect regular feedback from team members about the types of incentives they want. Include these goals in performance reviews by aligning development actions like training and ongoing learning opportunities with business objectives like increasing engagement or converting new customers.
As your business grows, you’ll establish a place in the community you serve. To nurture this position, develop philanthropy and social programs that benefit local and global communities.
Not only does this feel good, but it also boosts your reputation as a socially conscious company. In addition, these social goals prove to the team that the company isn’t just about making money. Instead, it seeks to do good for everyone.
Your social goals don’t have to be financial. In-kind donations of products, services, or your thought leadership often make more of a positive impression than charitable donations. For example, if your small business isn’t yet in the position to donate a certain percentage of the profits from each sale, you can focus on having the team volunteer for a community project or donate products to those in need.
Specific and visible business goals
Studies show people are more likely to accomplish goals that are specific, challenging, and written down.
When creating the types of business goals detailed above, focus on adding a quantitative measure, where relevant, in terms of percentage of improvement or resource savings, growth or productivity improvements, or a deadline to achieve the goal. Also, keeping goals visible helps employees stay focused on business success. They have a way to benchmark their progress. And seeing what’s been achieved can be a prime motivator to continue working toward achieving your goals and tackling new ones in the future.
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- Setting business goals: The first step ...
Setting business goals: The first step to a successful business
Business goals are a predetermined target that a business or individual plans to achieve in a set period of time. This article discusses the importance of business goals and reasons why you should set them for your team.
These are just a few benefits the goal setting process provides. Whether you're looking at the big picture or looking for small stepping stones, we'll explain everything you need to know to set goals for your business.
What are business goals?
Business goals are a predetermined target that a business or individual plans to achieve in a set period of time. These goals are often split into short-term goals and long-term goals . Business goals can be general and high level, or they can focus on specific measurable actions.
A good example of a general business goal is a mission statement. Missions statements are a general goal because they don't have one metric that defines their success. They’re more often used as a guiding North Star—something your team can strive for as opposed to hitting hard numbers.
Alternatively, you can set specific goals—measurable goals that are easy to track as your team progresses towards them. When someone talks about "setting goals" or the "goal setting process," they're talking about specific goals. A common goal setting process to use is the SMART goals process .
Short-term goals are often bound by a set period of time, usually ranging from a few hours to a full year. Long-term goals can also be time-bound, but if they are, they’re typically set further into the future.
Short-term goals are often used as building blocks towards larger goals. A common strategy in business is to set multiple short-term goals to make the long-term goals more achievable.
Examples of short-term business goals:
Increase net promoter score by 10 points this quarter.
Hire 12 new support representatives by the end of the year.
Increase employee satisfaction by 20%.
Long-term goals are bigger visions—goals you want to achieve further into the future. A common long-term goal is a 10-year goal. Think about where you want your business to be 10 years from now. What business objectives do you want to have achieved by then? What new businesses do you want to break into, if any?
Long-term goals are often used as vision or mission statements —these goals serve as a compass for your business to help you move in the right direction. Think of your goals as a map to get you where you want to go. Long-term goals may not tell you how to get there exactly, but they point you in the right direction. Short-term goals are like a GPS. They provide step-by-step directions on how to get where you want to go.
Examples of long-term business goals:
Nike : To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
Patagonia : We're in business to save our home planet.
Google : To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Why are business goals important?
Setting business goals is a best practice for a reason—goals help drive businesses in the right direction. Here are a few more reasons why companies take the time to establish strong goals.
Confidently define success
One of the easiest ways to know if your team is successful is by clearly outlining what success looks like. When you set your goals, take into consideration what you know your team is capable of, and push them slightly farther than expected.
There are a few common frameworks used to define goals. One of the most common ones used to create measurable and actionable goals is the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework.
Connect work to goals
A good business strategy to get into the habit of doing is connecting your business goals to the work your team is already doing. When you connect daily work to short- and long-term goals, individual team members have a clear sense of what they need to do, when they need to complete it, and the strategies they're doing to achieve those goals.
Not only are team members more confident in what they need to do, but it gives them a sense of pride and ownership over their work. Team members are confident in how the work they’re doing impacts your business and how they’ve contributed to that success.
Keep teams aligned
A key benefit of using business goals is to align teams towards a common goal. Establishing clear business objectives allows team leaders to define which tactics their individual teams should use to achieve these goals.
For example, imagine your company's overall business goal is to increase profitability by 10%. This is an overarching goal, but there are many different ways your company can achieve this. By establishing smaller, more tailored goals, business leaders can define the specific strategy you plan to take to achieve this goal. Your sales team may increase their sales quota, and your marketing team may implement a new outreach strategy. These are two different tactics that can be implemented to ultimately reach the same goal.
Once you set business goals, you can then break them down to the individual level. Using a technique like this can help maintain accountability from the leadership level all the way down to individual team members. When individual team members are responsible for their individual goals, it's easy for managers to gauge how they're performing and when they might need more support.
If your company regularly tracks its business goals, you can use past goals as a way to inform your decision making process. For example, if your team sets up a new marketing strategy to track your goals and progress, you can use that information to set your business strategy for the next year based on performance.
Tips for setting clear business goals
Now that you know the reasons why business goals are important, here are a few tips on how to establish them.
Use a framework to set goals
If you're on the path to setting your first business goal, it can be challenging to figure out where to start. You want to make sure that your goal is achievable, but not so easy to achieve that it's not a challenge. Goal setting frameworks like SMART goals or OKRs are a good way to establish your first set of business goals.
Co-create with other business leaders
Your team doesn't work in a bubble. The work that your team does can affect other teams in your company and your business strategy as a whole. This is why co-creating with stakeholders is important. By working together, your team can utilize their unique knowledge and experience to set goals and create a sound business plan.
Start with the big picture
When you're establishing your goals, choosing numbers and tactics can feel overwhelming. To prevent that, start with the big picture first. Focus on answering the questions:
What do you want your company to stand for?
Why was your company created?
Where do you want to be in 10 years? What about 25 years?
Once you’ve defined a big picture mission, break it down into smaller, more actionable goals. What steps can you take to get there? What new products can you introduce to help achieve that overall, big picture mission?
With goal setting, there is no right or wrong answer. It's all about finding the strategies and methodologies that work best for your team.
Manage goals using software
There's no use in setting goals if you set them and forget them in a document somewhere, only to be opened again at the end of a quarter. Using software to regularly track goal progress is important, and what better way to do that than to use software that connects your goals to the work that needs to be done?
Connecting the work you’re doing to goals is easy. Guru aligns their company OKRs to their projects with Asana. The Guru team uses Asana as a source of truth for clarity and accountability company-wide.
Start setting—and achieving—business goals today
All businesses start small, and setting goals is how they grow into successful companies. If you're interested in learning more about different goal strategies, how to measure them, or where to start with planning, visit the Asana goals resource page for more information.
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Business objectives: How to set them (with 5 examples and a template)
As anyone who played rec league sports in the '90s might remember, being on a team for some reason required you to sell knockoff candy bars to raise funds. Every season, my biggest customer was always me. Some kids went door-to-door, some set up outside local businesses, some sent boxes to their parents' jobs—I just used my allowance to buy a few for myself.
Aside from initiative, what my approach lacked was a plan, a goal, and accountability. A lot to ask of an unmotivated nine-year-old, I know, but 100% required for anyone who runs an actual business.
Business objectives help companies avoid my pitfalls by laying the groundwork for all the above so they can pursue achievable growth.
Table of contents:
The benefits of setting business objectives
How to set business objectives, examples of business objectives and goals, business objective template, tips for achieving business objectives.
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What are business objectives?
Business objectives are specific, written steps that guide company growth in measurable terms. A good business objective is concise, actionable, and assigned definite metrics for tracking progress and measuring success. Coming up with effective objectives requires a strong understanding of:
What you want the company to achieve
How you can measure success
Which players are involved in driving success
The timelines needed to plan, initiate, and implement steps
How you can improve or better support business processes , personnel, logistics, and management
How, if successful, these actions can be integrated sustainably going forward
Business objectives vs. goals
Where a business objective is an actionable step taken to make improvements toward growth, a business goal is the specific high-level growth an objective helps a company reach. Business objectives are often used interchangeably with business goals, but an objective is in service of a goal.
Here's what that breakdown could have looked like for nine-year-old me selling candy for my little league team:
Business objective: I will increase my sales output by learning and implementing point-of-sale conversion frameworks. I'll measure success by comparing week-over-week sales growth to median sales across players on my baseball team.
Business goal: I will sell more candy bars than anyone on my team and earn the grand prize: a team party at Pizza Hut.
You might think it's good enough to continue working status quo toward your goals, but as the cliche goes, good enough usually isn't. Establishing and following defined, actionable steps through business objectives can:
Help establish clear roadmaps: You can translate your objectives into time-sensitive sequences to chart your path toward growth.
Set groundwork for culture: Clear objectives should reflect the culture you envision, and, in turn, they should help guide your team to foster it.
Influence talent acquisition: Once you know your objectives, you can use them to find the people with the specific skills and experiences needed to actualize them.
Encourage teamwork: People work together better when they know what they're working toward.
Promote sound leadership: Clear objectives give leaders opportunities to get the resources they need.
Establish accountability: By measuring progress, you can see where errors and inefficiencies come from.
Drive productivity: The endgame of an objective is to make individual team members and processes more effective.
Setting business objectives takes a thoughtful, top-to-bottom approach. At every level of your business—whether you're a massive candy corporation or one kid selling chocolate almond bars door-to-door—there are improvements to make, steps to take, and players with stakes (or in my case, bats) in the game.
1. Establish clear goals
You can't hit a home run without a fence, and you can't reach a goal without setting it. Before you start brainstorming your objectives, you need to know what your objectives will help you work toward.
Analytical tactics like a SWOT analysis and goal-setting frameworks like SMART can be extremely useful at this stage, as you'll need to be specific about what you want to achieve and honest about what is achievable. Here are a few example goals:
Increase total revenue by 25% over the next two years
Reduce production costs by 10% by the end of the year
Provide health insurance for employees by next fiscal year
Grow design department to 10+ employees this year
Reach 100k Instagram followers ahead of new product launch
Implement full rebrand before new partnership announcement
Once you have these goals in place, you can establish individual objectives that position your company to reach them.
2. Set a baseline
Like a field manager before a game, you've got to set your baselines. (Very niche pun, I know.) With a definite goal in mind, the only way to know your progress is to know where you're starting from.
If you want to increase conversions on a specific link by X percent, look beyond current conversion percentage to the myriad factors going into it. Log the page traffic, clicks, ad performance, time on page, bounce rate, and other engagement metrics historically to this point. Your objectives will dig deeper into that one outcome to address deficiencies in the sales funnel , so every figure is important.
Analyzing your baselines could also help you recalibrate your goals. You may have decided abstractly that you want conversion rates to double in six months, but is that really possible? If your measurables show there's potentially a heavier lift involved than you expected, you can always roll back the goal performance or expand the timeline.
3. Involve players at all levels in the conversation
Too often, the most important people are left out of conversations about goals and objectives. The more levels of complexity and oversight, the more important it is to hear from everyone—yet the more likely it is that some will be excluded.
Let's say you want to reduce overhead by 5% over the next two years for your sporting goods manufacturing outfit. At a high level, your team finds you can reduce production costs by using cheaper materials for baseball gloves. A member of your sales team points out that the reduction in quality, which your brand is famous for, could lead to losses that offset those savings. Meanwhile, a factory representative points out that replacing outdated machines would be expensive initially but would increase efficiency, reduce defects, and cut maintenance costs, breaking even in four years.
By involving various teams at multiple levels, you find it's worth it to extend timelines from two to four years. Your overhead reduction may be lower than 5% by year two but should be much higher than that by year four based on these changes.
The takeaway from this pretty crude example is that it's helpful to make sure every team that touches anything related to your objective gets consulted. They should give valuable, practical input thanks to their boots- (or cleats-) on-the-ground experience.
4. Define measurable outcomes
An objective should be exactly that. Using KPIs (key performance indicators) to apply a level of objectivity to your action steps allows you to measure their progress and success over time and either adapt as you go along or stay the course.
How do you know if your specific objectives are leading to increased web traffic, or if that's just natural (or even incidental) growth? How do you know if your recruiting efforts lead to better candidates, or whether your employees are actually more satisfied? Here are a few examples of measurable outcomes to show proof:
Percentage change (15% overall increase in revenue)
Goal number (10,000 subscribers)
Success range (five to 10 new clients)
Clear change (new company name)
Executable action (weekly newsletter launch)
Your objectives should have specific, measurable outcomes. It's not enough to have a better product, be more efficient, or have more brand awareness . Your objective should be provable and grounded in data.
5. Outline a roadmap with a schedule
You've got your organizational goals defined, logged your baselines, sourced objectives from across your company, and know your metrics for defining success. Now it's time to set an actionable plan you can execute.
Your objectives roadmap should include all involved team members and departments and clear timelines for reaching milestones. Within your objectives, set action items with deadlines to stay on track, along with corresponding progress markers. For the objective of "increase lead conversion efficiency by 10%," that could look like:
May 15: Begin time logging
June 1: Register team members for productivity seminar
June 15: Integrate Trello for managing processes
June 15: Audit time log
July 1: Implement lead automation
August 1: Audit time log—goal efficiency increase of 5%
6. Integrate successful changes
You've successfully achieved your objectives—great! But as Yogi Berra famously said, "It ain't over till it's over," and it ain't over yet.
Don't let this win be a one-off accomplishment. Berra also said "You can observe a lot by just watching," and applying what you observed from this process will help you continue growing your company. Take what worked, and integrate it into your business processes for sustainable improvement. Then create new objectives, so you can continue the cycle.
Business objectives aren't collated plans or complicated flowcharts—they're short, impactful statements that are easy to memorize and communicate. There are four basic components every business objective should have:
A growth-oriented intention (improve efficiency)
One or more actions (implement monthly training sessions)
A measurement for success (20% increase)
A timeline to reach success (by end of year)
For this year's summer swimwear line, we will increase sales by 15% over last year's line through customer relationship marketing. We will execute distinct email campaigns by segmenting last year's summer swimwear customers and this year's spring casualwear customers and offering season-long discount codes.
Our SaaS product's implementation team will grow to five during the next fiscal year. This will require us to submit a budget proposal by the end of the quarter and look into restructured growth tracks, new job posting templates, and revised role descriptions by the start of next fiscal year.
We will increase customer satisfaction for our mobile app product demonstrably by the end of the year by integrating a new AI chatbot feature. To measure the change in customer satisfaction, we will monitor ratings in the app store, specifically looking for decreases in rates of negative reviews by 5%-10% as well as increases in overall positive reviews by 5%-10%.
Each of our water filtration systems will achieve NSF certification ahead of the launch of our rebranding campaign. Our product team will establish a checklist of changes necessary for meeting certification requirements and communicate timelines to the marketing team.
HR will implement bi-annual performance reviews starting next year. Review timelines will be built into scheduling software, and HR will automate email reminders to managers to communicate to their teams.
Business objectives can be as simple as one action or as complex as a multi-year roadmap—but they should be able to fall into a clear, actionable framework.
Calling your shot to the left centerfield wall and hitting a ball over that wall are two different things—the same goes for setting an objective and actualizing it.
Start with clear, attainable goals: Objectives should position your business to reach broader growth goals, so start by establishing those.
Align decisions with objectives: Once you set objectives, they should inform other decisions. Decision-makers should think about how changes they make along the way affect their objectives' timelines and execution.
Stick to the schedule or adjust it: Schedules should propel change, not rush it. Work toward meeting milestones and deadlines, but understand that they can always be moved if complications or new priorities arise. Remember, it's ok to fall short on goals .
Listen to team members at all levels: Those most affected by organizational changes can be the ones with the least say in the matter. Great ideas and insights can come from any level—even if they're only tangentially related to an outcome.
Implement automation: Automation keeps systems running smoothly—business objectives are no exception. Make a plan to bring no-code automation into workflows with Zapier to move your work forward, faster.
What makes business objectives so useful is that they can help you build a plan with defined steps to reach obtainable growth goals. As (one more time) Yogi Berra also once said, "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there."
As you outline your objectives, here are some guides that can help you find KPIs and improvement opportunities:
How to conduct your own market research survey
6 customer satisfaction metrics to start measuring
Streamline work across departments with automation
Measuring SaaS success: 5 essential product-led growth metrics to track
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Currently based in Albuquerque, NM, Bryce Emley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NC State and nearly a decade of writing and editing experience. His work has been published in magazines including The Atlantic, Boston Review, Salon, and Modern Farmer and has received a regional Emmy and awards from venues including Narrative, Wesleyan University, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Pablo Neruda Prize. When he isn’t writing content, poetry, or creative nonfiction, he enjoys traveling, baking, playing music, reliving his barista days in his own kitchen, camping, and being bad at carpentry.
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How to set SMART goals (+ examples and templates)
Last updated on: June 29, 2023
We all have goals — to be more successful in what we do, to enroll in a university, improve our skills — the list goes on. Goals are what sets thriving people apart from everyone else.
As Norman Vincent Peale, an advocate of the positive thinking movement, once said:
“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”
But are your goals always worth pursuing?
Are your goals always even possible to achieve?
Are your goals tangible?
Those are all difficult questions that often surpass our ability to answer in a straightforward, systematic, and logical way.
Luckily, I’ll offer simple criteria you can use to determine the value of any goal — they’re called SMART goals.
In this guide, I’ll also lay out the answers to the following questions:
- What are SMART goals exactly,
- How and when to set SMART goals, and
- When SMART goals are not that smart.
As a bonus, I’ll give you a few SMART goal templates to use in your work and life and touch on how to write SMART goals you’ll stick to.
Let’s get rolling!
Table of Contents
What is a SMART goal?
The acronym SMART stands for 5 characteristics of a goal that you should consider to be able to achieve the goal successfully. Each characteristic is represented by 1 letter in the SMART abbreviation:
- S stands for Specific — specific goals are straightforward, precise, and can be easily defined.
- M stands for Measurable — measurable goals constitute points of reference you can use to assess whether you are successful in progressing toward or reaching the said goal.
- A stands for Attainable — attainable goals are realistic in the sense that you have a reasonable amount of time, money, and skills to reach them.
- R stands for Relevant — relevant goals hold particular importance in your life, the project you’re currently working on, or your business as a whole.
- T stands for Time-bound — time-bound goals “bind” you with a specific time frame you’ll have to work on to call your efforts a success.
In other words, SMART goal setting helps you elaborate your aims and desires — and make an action plan. In fact, setting SMART goals increases the possibility of achieving your goal.
Interestingly, SMART goals are also known as SMART criteria or SMART objectives, too. But no matter your SMART goals definition, don’t pass on this opportunity to make them part of your routine.
For an illustration of SMART goals, take a look at my example of cutting time for processing data in Excel below:
How to write SMART goals?
By now, you might wonder, “ How do I write a SMART goal and how do I apply this framework to real-life scenarios? ”
I’m glad you asked!
The application of SMART goals varies. In any case, you can use these criteria to decide whether your specific career goals are worth pursuing or if working on particular areas of your personal development would be beneficial enough.
To help you wrap your head around the matter, here are 5 critical steps to follow on your SMART goals journey. Let’s get started!
Step #1: Make goals specific
Specific goals are well-defined and precise enough so that you won’t steer away from achieving them.
Let’s take a look at an example.
If you say that you want to be in marketing, that’s a nonspecific goal.
It’s what you usually say to your extended family when you want them to stop bugging you about when you’ll get a job. Again, it sounds nice, and it may even impress your grandparents — but it’s too broad to motivate you to act on it.
On the other hand, suppose you say you want to land the position of a Junior Marketing Specialist in a Boston tech company. Now, that’s a well-defined, specific goal you can strive for.
Let’s look at a few prompts to use when crafting your SMART goals.
Questions for specific goals
If you want to make a goal specific, consider answering a few questions. You don’t have to answer all of them, but the more questions you answer, the more specific your goal gets.
Here they are:
- Q1: What is the goal?
- Q2: What are the details of the goal?
- Q3: What do I want to accomplish with it?
- Q4: Who is involved?
- Q5: Where is it going to happen?
- Q6: What resources are available?
Examples of answers that prove the goal is specific :
- A1: I want to land a Junior Marketing Specialist position.
- A2: I want to apply for 10 job calls each week during the month. At this rate, I’ll land a job faster.
- A3: I want to feel financially stable, enjoy my work more, and generally feel better about myself.
- A4: I’m the chief person responsible for getting the job. Still, I’ll also talk to a few mentors and industry peers to learn how to land a good position.
- A5: I’ll spend a bit more time online, researching and applying for jobs. I’ll look at job boards, famous freelance websites, and other online places.
- A6: I’ll have advice from my mentors and the network I’ve established over the years. Also, I’ll ask previous employers to write me recommendation letters.
Step #2: Make goals measurable
Measurable goals consist of specific milestones with clearly defined criteria that help you track your progress on your way to achieving them.
For example, if you just say that you’ll study for your Monday math exam, you might not be actually able to follow through with this plan.
When you define your goal without a specific, actionable plan, you don’t have any distinguishable milestones to help you stay on track.
But let’s assume you say that you’re going to study for your math exam for 5 hours each day, leading up to the next to the last day before the exam when you’ll revise everything. Now, that’s a measurable goal with clear milestones and a plan you can follow (and a plan you can stick to).
So, let’s explore 3 questions and 3 answers of measurable goals.
Questions for measurable goals
If you want to make a goal measurable, consider answering the following questions:
- Q1: How will I measure progress?
- Q2: Do I have the necessary tools to measure my progress?
- Q3: How will I know the goal has been accomplished?
Examples of answers that prove the goal is measurable :
- A1: To measure my progress (or lack thereof), I’ll check in with my goal tracking app of choice to see how much time I spent studying for the math exam.
- A2: I’ve recently subscribed to the Clockify goal tracker to track my progress daily. Also, I’ve set a clear learning goal with areas where I expect improvements, like algebra, geometry, and arithmetic.
- A3: Simple math will tell me whether I have accomplished my goal. If by next Monday, my time tracking app shows that I’ve spent 5 hours a day reading, studying, and learning for the math exam, I’ll consider it a success.
💡 Clockify Pro Tip
Whatever SMART goal you set, you should measure and keep track of it with a fitting tool. Here’s the definitive list of the best goal tracker apps you can use for this purpose:
- 12 Best goal tracker apps for 2022
Step #3: Make goals attainable
Attainable goals are realistic enough for you to successfully reach them.
Saying that you’ll lose 30 lbs in 1 month is usually not attainable .
In fact, you can expect 2 outcomes that can come from such an overachieving goal — and neither is favorable:
- You go on a strict diet and exercise routine. You stick to your diet without faltering and exercise hard every morning. But, ultimately, you fail because losing that much in such a short time is near impossible.
- You feel discouraged by such an unfeasible goal from the start. So much that you give up without even trying.
On the other hand, saying that you’ll lose 3 lbs every week for a month by eating healthier and exercising regularly is attainable .
With such a reasonable goal, you’ll have the best chance to stay motivated throughout it.
Next, let’s dive into 5 questions and 5 answers of attainable goals.
Questions for attainable goals
To make your goal more attainable, answering the following questions might help:
- Q1: Do I have the financial capacity to accomplish my goal?
- Q2: Do I have the skills and willpower to accomplish my goal?
- Q3: Will I have access to help when needed?
- Q4: Do I have all the necessary resources?
- Q5: Do I have the time to accomplish the goal?
Examples of answers that prove the goal is attainable :
- A1: I have enough money to join a gym and consult with a professional trainer.
- A2: I’ve previously already lost 13 lbs within a month on a different occasion. As a result, I firmly believe I can do it again.
- A3: I’ll have access to a personal trainer, helpful advice from my nutritionist friend, and additional support from my family.
- A4: I have all the necessary resources at hand, as my city has several great gyms. I also have an enviable selection of healthy food in the neighborhood supermarket.
- A5: Considering that I work remotely 5 days a week and my job comes with flexible working hours, I can spare 1 hour per weekday to go to the gym — and I have enough time to prepare healthy meals. I can easily spare even more time for the gym and food preparation on weekends.
Step #4: Make goals relevant
Relevant goals are the ones that directly impact your progress and are particularly important to you.
So, to actually stick to your goals till the finish line, you need to make sure your goals are relevant.
Say you want to major in economics. That sounds relevant and worthwhile, right?
However, you’re not the least bit interested in economics. In fact, you don’t plan on pursuing a career in economics.
That right there makes it an irrelevant goal, as it’s not clear what you’ll get in life by working toward it. Of course, apart from gaining a college degree. But you could also get a degree by studying something you like .
As you might have guessed, it’s always best to pursue a college education in a topic that interests you. A college education goal may also be relevant if you pick a potentially profitable subject you’re not 100% passionate about, but you want to pursue.
Finally, let’s explore 3 questions and 3 answers of relevant goals.
Questions for relevant goals
To make your goal relevant, ask yourself the following questions:
- Q1: Why is this goal important to me?
- Q2: Is this goal worth my time?
- Q3: Is this the right time for it?
Examples of answers that prove the goal is relevant :
- A1: If I get a major in economics, I’ll be more financially secure and have more time to spend on what matters. Also, pursuing a major in economics will make me more confident about myself and my career.
- A2: I feel that getting a major in economics would benefit me in the short and long run. In a nutshell, doing so will affect my mental and physical health. Therefore, it’s worth my time.
- A3: The holiday feasts are over, and it’s time to implement the New Year’s resolutions. As a result, it’s time to pursue that major in economics.
Step #5: Make goals time-bound
Time-bound goals are usually set within a specific time frame, with a clear deadline for their completion.
Take a look at the following example.
To say that you want to participate in a poem writing contest that’s due next week is admirable.
But phrasing it like that means it’s not a time-bound goal .
In this case, the contest has a deadline — say it’s Sunday, February 2. But you didn’t define a deadline for your work. Will you submit your finished work on Tuesday? Or Wednesday? Or 5 hours before the contest deadline, giving you enough time to tweak it to perfection?
As a matter of fact, what’s your time-bound battle plan?
Now, say that you plan to handle the contest by:
- Writing the first draft of your poem on Monday, January 27,
- Revising everything on Tuesday, January 28,
- Finalizing the rhyme scheme on Wednesday, January 29, and
- Sending out the poem on Thursday, January 30 — 4 days before the deadline.
That’s a time-bound goal you can work with. So, let’s dive into a few questions and examples of time-bound goals.
Questions for time-bound goals
To make a time-bound — or timely — goal, answer the following questions:
- Q1: When will I achieve the goal?
- Q2: When will I carry out the activities that will bring me to my goal?
- Q3: When can I expect the first outcomes?
Examples of answers that prove the goal is time-bound:
- A1: I’ll set January 31 as my end deadline. Also, I’ll include daily targets for each of the 3 stages — writing, revising, and finalizing the poem.
- A2: Every day after work, I’ll set aside 2 hours to work on the poem. I’ll make a clear schedule for writing, revising, and finalizing the poem in stages. I’ll check in with my progress every day to see if I’m set to meet the deadline of submitting the poem 4 days ahead of schedule.
- A3: The first outcome I can expect should be completing each stage — writing, revising, finalizing — on a daily basis. For example, if I’ve completed the writing stage, then I can consider my first outcome a success.
Now you know how to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Kudos!
Next up, let’s get a few additional tips from business experts and life coaches — with SMART goals examples for work, play, and much more.
How to set SMART goals: Proven tips and expert opinions
If you’ve come this far, setting SMART goals shouldn’t be a problem at this point. But just to be safe, I sat down with a few time management experts, business enthusiasts, coaches, and others to help you understand how to be unstoppable with your SMART goals.
Let’s take a look at unique expert insights into setting and sticking to your SMART goals.
Tip #1: Set a SMART action plan and stick to it
Plans come first, as they are a visual representation of your goals. If you don’t have a plan, you’re more likely to get off track.
But it’s expected that you’ll have more SMART goals than 1. So, I recommend that you:
- Laser-focus on 1 goal in 90-day sprints,
- Spell out each action step in a timeline, and
- Track your progress every week.
I asked Vincent Nair , the CEO of SMARTECH Business Systems, to weigh in on this topic. According to him, setting clear goals will bring you clarity:
“Planning ahead is one of the most effective ways to ensure goals are well-understood, timely and realistic. With a clear schedule and roadmap in place, your entire team will have a better understanding of exactly how, why and when your goals are being set.”
That’s what I call common sense — we truly sometimes need to get back to the basics.
Next, I spoke to Will Yang at Instrumentl, a platform serving grant-seekers. His words were another eye-opener as he said that a SMART action plan must include clear landmarks:
“Ensure apples-to-apples comparisons: it is critical to compare equivalent items and activities when setting SMART goals. For example, if you wish to raise the number of sales calls made in a month, don’t compare it to the number of emails sent in a month. Instead, concentrate on which activity will yield the desired outcomes.”
Learn all about how to think about objectives and key results, with additional resources right here:
- Objectives and Key Results (OKR): everything you need to know
Tip #2: Serialize your goals and celebrate more
If you’re reading this article, it probably means that you are an overachiever or striving to become one. But one of the main pitfalls overachievers fall into is trying to get more done than they can handle, therefore spreading themselves too thin.
I talked to Alexis Haselberger , time management and productivity coach, to share her wisdom on how to avoid this all-too-common trap. She gives a powerful illustration about how you can feel a sense of satisfaction and motivation if you pace yourself:
“Think of it like reading a book: if you read 5 books all at the same time, and read 5 pages each per day, it’ll take you months to finish them all. But, if you start with one book, and read 25 pages a day, you’ll finish in a couple of weeks, and then can move onto the next — which is much more satisfying and motivating.”
To keep a steady pace means creating a workflow that helps you achieve your SMART goals. Career expert Kaloyan Dimitrov of Enhancv, a resume builder, made a good point when he emphasized the importance of enjoying an occasional treat — your milestones:
“Keep yourself motivated and committed to accomplishing your goals by celebrating the milestones that you reach along the route. Think about treating yourself to something special whenever you reach a significant milestone or accomplish a particular goal.”
In fact, it’s this attitude that allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and get better results.
Speaking of books, read our selection of the best productivity textbooks on the market right here:
- 25+ Best productivity books
Tip #3: Assign people to help you with your goals
Sometimes, you can’t achieve results or accomplish your tasks without the help of others.
For example, it’s possible to lose weight on your own. However, it’s smarter if you pay for a gym membership, and let a professional fitness coach or a nutritionist help you in that process. In reality, it’s easier and safer to listen to professionals with the right skills and knowledge to carry out tasks.
Likewise, you’ve probably heard about the Boomerang effect on gaining weight back quickly after losing it. This usually happens because people starve and lose a lot of weight in a short period. Not only do they lose weight quickly, but muscles as well. As a result, people experience their metabolism slowing down and regain weight again.
Luckily, you can translate this weight loss scenario into any modern knowledge work job, like:
- Coding, etc.
If you’re the editor-in-chief and would like to have a document proofread thoroughly, you don’t need to do it yourself. Instead, ask a fellow editor or writer on your team to do the job for you.
In fact, assigning the right people for the job can result in faster and higher-quality results.
Tip #4: List the tasks that need to be done
Now that you elaborated on your goal in more detail and assigned the right people to assist you, it’s time to focus on the smaller parts. That means the tasks that must be done to achieve the ultimate goal.
In the case of losing 12 lbs of weight, you’ll probably need to complete tasks like:
- Go to the gym every day after work,
- Put aside money for the gym membership and nutrition consultations,
- Weigh yourself each Sunday afternoon, and
- Eat nutrient-rich foods.
Healthy habits coach Stephanie Averkamp weighs in — pun intended — on this topic. Interestingly, she brings home the point on why you should focus a lot more on your behavior in reaching the goal, and not the final goal itself:
“Center your SMART goals around specific behaviors or actions that will take place instead of around specific results you want to achieve. For example, set a SMART goal that is focused on the exercise you will do instead of the amount of weight you will lose. Your behavior is the one thing you have full control over, and behavior drives results.”
When you break your goal into more manageable pieces, you have a better overview of what needs to be done. In turn, the possibility of achieving your goal increases. For that purpose, you can create a hands-on to-do list to keep track of all your tasks in one place.
Get as many to-do list templates as you need — from simple to business and personal — right here:
- Free To-Do List Templates
Tip #5: Make a workable schedule
To make sure you accomplish your SMART goals even faster, make work time estimates for each activity or task that you need to complete. What’s more, make use of the time blocking technique to organize your tasks into specific blocks of time.
Let’s move back to the weight-loss example again. One of the key things that you need to strictly follow when losing weight is to pay attention to when you eat your meals.
Even if you are being extremely careful with how many calories you consume daily, eating late at night can decrease your progress and lead to achieving partial results.
For example, one 2022 study by Harvard Medical School researchers found that late-night eating impacts how you spend energy throughout the day. In fact, the research sheds light on the fact that your productivity overall could suffer from irregular eating schedules. Expectedly, all this negatively affects how you work on your goals.
So, to make sure your SMART goal plan runs smoothly, you need to:
- Create a time-bound schedule that you are going to stick to, and
- Determine when your breakfast/snack/lunch/dinner is.
After completing these steps, you’ll see tangible results.
On a similar note, registered dietitian Kelsey Costa thinks that journaling can play a major role in creating a workable schedule:
“Journaling can be a powerful tool for increasing self-awareness, reflection, and the attainability of goals. Journaling helps identify obstacles, patterns, and areas of strength that you may need to draw on during your goal-setting journey. Regularly revisit the specifics of your goals, such as action steps, measurements, and deadlines.”
Now, that’s how you stick to your SMART action plan and goals!
Tip #6: Evaluate and explore
So much valuable advice can sometimes be overwhelming. Yet, many experts have a somewhat curious take on how to approach the SMART goal-setting process.
For example, mental performance coach Lain Lee emphasized that comfort isn’t your ally in reaching your goals:
“Instead of ‘realistic’, your goals should be UNCOMFORTABLE! Nothing worth doing or fighting for is done in comfort! The best things in life — growth, success, learning, love — all exist outside of your comfort zone. So if your goals don’t make you uncomfortable, they’re TOO realistic!”
Another interesting approach in conversations with experts came from certified career and life coach María Tomás-Keegan who showed me a way to enrich the SMART criteria with evaluation and revision:
“2 Additional steps make your SMART goals SMARTER: Evaluate & Revise. Decide when you’ll evaluate your progress and what you’ll look for. This step closes the loop on each goal. Then you’ll know if you need to revise your goal or timeline. This creates a 360-degree view of each goal that helps move them to the finish line.”
In sum, do what works for you — try to make SMART goal setting a seamless process aligned with your personality and preferences.
Remember: You want SMART goals to work for you, not the other way around.
Interested in learning more about how your personality type might influence your productivity? Say no more — I got you covered in our blog post with productivity tips:
- Productivity tips for 16 personality types based on MBTI
Why should you use SMART goals?
Even ancient Greek philosophers emphasized the importance of goal setting and proposed that purpose can incite action .
Setting your goals by following the SMART criteria helps you elaborate on them. Similarly, it allows you to see if the goal you want to achieve has any potential or if it’s just a waste of time , as sometimes can be the case.
Up next, I discuss how the SMART goal concept can benefit you insanely in the short run.
Benefit #1: SMART goals enhance well-being
A 2022 study found that SMART goals can increase the likelihood of accomplishing goals and experiencing positive affect. Simply put, positive affect refers to upbeat emotions and expressions in the study’s respondents.
In fact, the same study researchers suggest that the mere existence of a SMART goal strategy increased the quality of the respondents’ behavior that led to goal attainment.
Another relevant result was that the psychologists in charge of the study established that goal attainment, in this sense, led to enhanced well-being.
In summary, SMART goals make it likely that you’ll achieve your goals and that those goals lead to your well-being.
Read our detailed guide on how to up your goals game by setting daily targets:
- How to set and reach your daily targets
Benefit #2: SMART goals improve time management skills
Setting goals and efficiently managing your time are 2 elements that go hand in hand.
If you look at the acronym SMART again, you’ll see that the terms measurable and time-bound refer to time management . So, when you have a clearly defined goal or goals, you know how and where to focus your time.
What’s more, you can make work time estimates and stick to them to avoid poor spending of resources. Finally, your improved time management skills will help you reduce distractions and increase your focus on more important tasks.
For that purpose, you can opt for a goal-tracking tool like Clockify to get a silent partner in efficiently managing your time and reaching your targets.
For example, Clockify allows you to beautifully tag and color-code your projects so that you can easily stay on track — and enjoy the process. In fact, the app lets you break down goals into manageable tasks that you can easily digest. In sum, Clockify also allows you to check in on your progress as often or rarely as you want.
By integrating SMART goals into your daily routine (whether work or personal), you’ll never miss a deadline or find excuses for missing your workout again.
Learn how to improve your time management skills in our in-depth guide:
- 10 ultimate steps to improve time management skills
Benefit #3: SMART goals increase accountability
To achieve any goal, you need to hold yourself accountable.
I know I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but people often forget to be more responsible on an ongoing basis.
In fact, Harry Morton of Lower Street, a podcast production agency, says something to that effect. Simply put, he told me that you should expect peaks and valleys in how distracted and motivated you feel:
“When working toward a long-term goal, it can be natural to encounter dips in motivation or distractions. An accountability partner can guide you back on track, offering an objective perspective when you deviate from the path to your goals. Be completely transparent and work with someone who understands what motivates you.”
Benefit #4: SMART goals beat workload overwhelm
A little planning ahead never killed anybody — but work overload and workplace stress are taking a toll on people’s health and the economy. According to a research paper by the World Health Organization, anxiety and depression cost the world’s economy $1 trillion each year, mostly due to a decline in productivity.
However, by setting your personal or business goals, you have a clear picture of what needs to be done, when , where , and how . As a result, the likelihood of feeling burned out reduces tremendously.
What’s more, when you clearly identify your SMART goals, you learn how to unshakably say “No” to your colleagues the next time they try to swamp you with work. That’s right: SMART goals will save you from exhaustion and stress.
Okay, so now you understand what the SMART goal concept means and why it’s beneficial. Up next, let’s see when SMART goals are the most effective — and when you should avoid them.
Find out more about the causes and symptoms of career burnout and how it affects your health right here:
- Career burnout and its effect on health
When to use SMART goals
Are SMART goals effective? Yes, when used in the right context.
Here’s when SMART goals work best.
1. Use SMART goals to set priorities
Use the SMART goal criteria when you want to single out your priorities and focus solely on them.
The SMART criteria should guide you in the right direction to get a better insight into what’s important to accomplish something.
In fact, the SMART framework saves you from wasting your time. If you don’t set your priorities right, you’ll lose track of your work. What’s more, you’ll probably end up feeling exhausted — and you don’t want that if you were wondering.
Learn why not all tasks are equally important and how you can prioritize them easily:
- How to (re-)prioritize your tasks
2. Use SMART goals to set high-level objectives
Use SMART goals when you need to focus on high-level goals that involve a number of smaller, specific tasks. High-level goals (such as advancing your career, enrolling in a university, or losing weight) demand a thorough action plan the SMART goal concept can offer you.
However, I would even argue that SMART goals are especially useful for the more consequential targets in your life — where you need to be on top of your game because the stakes are high. That’s why it’s essential to make SMART goals a part of your everyday life and planning.
For illustration, consider you’re moving into a different town or state and selling your house. If you fail to take into account local taxes, regulations, real estate prices, and transport in your SMART goal framework, achieving this goal could lead to a disaster – personally and professionally.
3. Use SMART goals to tackle work tasks and set mini-milestones
SMART goals help you carry out your ongoing job responsibilities more efficiently and successfully.
In fact, the SMART goal concept helps you split your goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. As a result, you get a clearer insight into the tasks that lead you to achieve the ultimate goal.
For a quick fix, tackle your tasks one at a time to efficiently get them done and avoid being overwhelmed. The technique works wonders!
In fact, the family law and relationship expert, Laura Wasser , thinks that you first need to set mini-milestones to get you going:
“When setting a SMART goal, think of it as a roadmap to your desired outcome. Break your goal into smaller, achievable steps, which will make it easier for you to stay on track and motivated. These mini-milestones will not only keep you focused, but they’ll also give you a sense of accomplishment as you progress.”
Read our all-inclusive guide to find out how to break down large tasks into easily digestible pieces:
- How to Break a Project Down into Tasks
4. Use SMART goals to handle new assignments
Employ the SMART goal criteria when you’re moving on to new assignments.
Whether simple or complex, the SMART goal concept works well with all types of assignments regardless of their complexity or duration. It shifts your attention to what needs to be done and makes a thorough plan to achieve the final goal.
When you get a new assignment, the first step should be to insert it into one of the upcoming SMART goal templates at the end of this guide. This practice shows you if the assignment is even worth your time and effort — or if it’s a priority.
Learn how to distinguish between short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans in your work and life:
- The differences between long-term and short-term planning
5. Use SMART goals for personal development
When you feed the SMART goal criteria into your daily routine, you can make an everlasting, positive change in your life. This way, you can identify areas for improvement and personal growth — and go the extra mile to advance your career.
If you want to perform better at your job by following a comprehensive, step-by-step guide, check out this article:
- How to improve in your job
When SMART goals are not so smart
Now, just because it sounds like the smart thing to do — pun intended — that doesn’t mean you should view all your tasks and initiatives through the SMART goals framework.
Take a look at the examples of situations when you should avoid using SMART goals.
1. Don’t use SMART goals to “count” your successes and failures
You shouldn’t use SMART goal-setting just so you can race past your goals as fast as you can without stopping to take a breather and reflect on what you’ve learned along the way.
You also shouldn’t view a SMART goal you haven’t accomplished as a failure and, thus, a reason to judge yourself.
Just because you failed this time doesn’t mean you won’t be able to succeed next time or use the knowledge you gained from pursuing the said goal in the future.
2. Don’t use SMART goals if you tend to give up too soon
SMART goals take time! That’s because they’re more complex than your everyday goals, such as getting to the food store before it closes.
As such, SMART goals take more effort and dedication. Therefore, they can be a bigger challenge for people who get nervous when they think they’re not progressing as best as they could.If you fear that a goal is too large for you to commit to it, it’s best that you reassess it and parse it 1 by 1 into smaller, less challenging goals you can reach easier until you’ve accomplished everything.
3. Don’t use SMART goals when you’re uncertain whether a goal is attainable
Out of all the letters in the SMART acronym, the “A” — which stands for attainable — is the least precise one.
After all, most of the time, you can only be sure a goal is attainable or not if you’ve already tried to pursue it.
So, are you sure you have a shot at landing the position of that Junior Marketing Specialist at that Boston tech company?
Perhaps you don’t have the right qualifications or the right experience.
We’ve seen this before with our example of losing 30 lbs in a month.
Let’s assume you pursue a goal you’ve defined as attainable (despite it, realistically, not being the case). In this case, this action is bound to discourage you when you fail to reach your goal.
Alternatively, you may miss out on some great opportunities if you mark a realistic goal as “out of reach” without properly thinking about it.
4. Don’t use SMART goals when managing a project
According to the Scrum methodology, even though the SMART criteria suggest that a goal should be specific and measurable , other SMART goal criteria can threaten the success of a project , no matter how well you prepare it.
Since a project goes through many stages during its life cycle, some things — like, if a goal is realistic — can’t be predicted in advance without further analysis. Also, the criterion time-bound doesn’t fit with the project management principles either.
You might not be able to know when a goal would be accomplished due to the constant changes during a project’s life cycle.
Therefore, the SMART goal concept doesn’t go hand in hand with project management since it “encourages a simplistic and short-sighted approach to management” — as Scrum methodology experts emphasize in the article I linked to above.
Learn about the essential elements of project management and a few tools to get you started:
- Project Management: 31 best techniques, practices, and tools
5. Don’t use SMART goals when you expect a challenge
The SMART goal criteria propose that your goal needs to be attainable . In effect, this means knowing in advance if you have the right skills/knowledge/resources to accomplish something.
When you know that a goal is achievable in advance, it gives you some kind of security. On the other hand, it keeps you stuck in one place. In other words, you are deprived of learning new things or acquiring new skills.
Sometimes, the thrill of the unknown pushes you towards it and makes you realize all the things you can do. So, if you are a thrill-seeker looking for sudden challenges along the way — maybe the SMART goal concept is not the right fit for you.
—Now that you understand when and when not to use them, here are some examples of well-rounded SMART goals you can use to find inspiration. Let’s get rolling!
5 SMART goal examples
By now, you might be thinking: “ Enough with the beating around the bush, tell me what’s a SMART goal example, alright!”
I won’t give you 1 but 5 SMART goals examples — how’s that for a treat?
Let’s go through them 1 by 1.
Example #1: SMART goal for improved performance at work
To say, “ I want to improve my Excel skills, ” is too vague. Instead, try to make your goal:
- Specific : I want to improve my performance with Excel to get a promotion at work. These performance improvements focus on quicker data entry, more efficient calculations, and creating graphs.
- Measurable : I’ll know I’ve succeeded because — by the 1st of next month — I’ll be able to enter my data, complete my calculations through custom and combined formulas, create graphs, and carry out my other work in Excel all on my own, and with minimum effort.
- Attainable : I have enough time to work on improving my Excel skills. I can even enroll in an online course to help me understand some of the finer points.
- Relevant : I like working in my company, and I want to continue working there. One of the preconditions of my staying in the company longer and getting promoted is to streamline my work in Excel.
- Time-bound : I want to perfect my performance with Excel by May 1.
Are you familiar with performance improvement plans (PIP)? Check this article out to learn more about how PIPs can boost your work performance:
- Everything about performance improvement plans
Example #2: SMART goal for improved time management
Here’s an example of poor goal setting: “I want to accelerate the process of calculating in Excel.”
Instead, your goal should have the following attributes:
- Specific : It takes me 6 hours to implement all the formulas I need to process data in Excel. I want to cut that time to 3 hours per day, at least.
- Measurable : I can track the time I spend handling Excel data every day and then observe how that time decreases day by day and week by week. Similarly, I can work on improving my schedule.
- Attainable : I have the resources to help me learn how to be more efficient when using and combining Excel formulas.
- Relevant : I currently spend 6 hours of an 8-hour workday carrying out calculations in Excel, and that’s too much of my time. Cutting that time in half would ensure I have more time for other work activities.
- Time-bound : I want to cut the time I spend on Excel calculations in half by the 15th of next month.
Example #3: SMART goal for students
Your grades won’t get better overnight, and you sure want to get into a top school or university. Well, saying, “I want to improve my GPA,” won’t do miracles. Instead, make sure your goal is:
- Specific : I want to improve my GPA to 3.8 so I can apply for a semester abroad with a full scholarship.
- Measurable : I’ll need to score an A or A+ on all of my tests this semester to improve my total GPA to an average of 3.8 to qualify for a semester abroad on time.
- Attainable : In recent months, I have fallen behind in school, but I have a history of improving my grades when I put substantial effort into it. So I can improve my grades once again. I’ll need to work longer hours , temporarily cut back on extracurricular activities, and focus on each test and quiz as it comes along.
- Relevant : The school abroad I want to spend a semester at has a great chemistry program. Passing that program will come in handy when I go to college. There, I want to major in chemistry to become a Chemical Engineer.
- Time-bound : I want to improve my GPA to 3.8 by the end of this semester to qualify for a position at the college abroad in question.
Students need all the help they can get when it comes to mastering their output. Read our in-depth guide to learn how to radically increase your productivity:
- Student guide to productivity
Example #4: SMART goal for leadership and team management
Do you notice a stall in your team’s productivity? Being a team leader can be a double-edged sword from time to time. However, SMART goals can come to your rescue even in this situation.
To help you get started, ensure your goal to boost your team’s productivity is:
- Specific : I want to motivate my team to improve their productivity by 50%.
- Measurable : 50% of increased productivity will trigger a 50% faster project turnaround.
- Attainable : I’ll use team management software and supply my team with the right productivity tools to help them out.
- Relevant : Higher productivity means faster project turnaround, and faster project turnaround leads to satisfied clients. Satisfied clients bring good word of mouth, so we’ll likely land more clients because of it. As a result, team morale would increase, so they’ll feel encouraged to keep up the good work.
- Time-bound : I want to see the expected increase in productivity 6 months from now.
Discover more interesting aspects of team management and how it can affect performance right here:
- The Complete Team Management Guide
Example #5: SMART goal for weight loss and fitness
You know that I’m-hitting-the-gym-next-Monday attitude never got you anywhere. Most people (including myself) consider going to the gym or exercising in any form as exhausting. In other words, we most frequently see exercise as something that requires a ton of will and determination.
Although it’s not easy, setting a goal based on the SMART goal concept can make it much more bearable and joyful.
Once you are on the right track, you’ll regret missing your workouts, even during public holidays. So, be all ears and ensure that your goal is:
- Specific : I want to lose 10 pounds to improve my fitness and athletic performance.
- Measurable : I want to lose belly fat and be able to endure physical activities without getting tired easily.
- Attainable : Suppose there’s a gym near my building with group fitness classes, indoor cycling, a weight loss program, Pilates, and more. I’m going to try the weight loss program first to lose some fat and later switch to Pilates to form my body shape. Also, I’m going to avoid fast food and late-night snacking.
- Relevant : I like to look nice in my clothes, and physical appearance matters to me. Fast food is high in cholesterol, and high cholesterol runs in my family. As a consequence, I need to be extra cautious.
- Time-bound : I need to go to the gym 3 times a week, go places on foot, and hopefully lose 10 pounds within 2 to 3 months. This is a healthier plan since — if I lose weight in a short time — I will gain it all back eventually.
Learn a thing or two about how physical and mental fitness can help you become more productive and reach your goals:
- 10 Productivity exercises for body and mind
SMART goal templates
Skilfully crafted SMART goal templates and SMART goal worksheets can serve as your quick and efficient generator of — you guessed it — SMART goals.
In the following section, you’ll find different examples of templates, including:
- Leadership SMART goals examples,
- Time management SMART goals examples,
- SMART goals examples for employees,
- Productivity SMART goals examples, and more.
In fact, these SMART goals templates and SMART goals worksheets provide the outline for your SMART goal setting. As a result, you’ll just need to follow the said outline and fill it out with your data. It’s a fast and efficient alternative to creating and following your template or making plans without one.
Basic SMART Goal Template
The first of 10, the Basic SMART Goal Template is a simple yet powerful way to get a bird’s-eye view of your goal.
The straightforward design of this template allows you to easily identify the key components of your goal. If you use the Basic SMART Goal Template, you are taking the first step towards your professional or business goal.
What is the Basic SMART Goal Template about?
The Basic SMART Goal Template is divided into 5 sections, each representing a letter of the SMART acronym:
- Relevant, and
How to use the Basic SMART Goal Template?
Answer 1 or 2 questions for each section to determine whether the said goal is worth your time. Next, think about if you missed some important aspects and rewrite where applicable.
Who should use the Basic SMART Goal Template?
This SMART goal template is perfect for people who want a simple approach to setting their goals.
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template PDF
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template Google Docs
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template Excel
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template Google Sheets
Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems)
The next on our list, the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) is same as the previous template — just on steroids.
This template is an effective tool for setting and achieving goals. The Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) gives you deeper insights into the resources and persons who may assist you in reaching your goals.
What is the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) about?
The Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) is divided into 5 sections on 2 pages each.
The first page consists of questions to understand the problems you face. The second page is made up of a cheat sheet that can help you solve those problems.
How to use the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems)?
Answer 1 or 2 questions for each section to determine whether the said goal is worth your time. Next, think about the problems you may encounter as you work toward the said goal — and try to solve them before they happen.
Who should use the Basic SMART Goal Template (+Problems)?
This SMART goal template does wonders for preventing potential problems with your goal (if you want a simple SMART breakdown of your goal). The Basic SMART Goal Template (+Problems) is perfect for businesses and individuals who want to predict financial and organizational issues.
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) PDF
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) Google Docs
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) Excel
⬇️ Download the Basic SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) Google Sheets
Simple SMART Goal Template
The Simple SMART Goal Template is a more relatable and direct template with phrases that anyone can fill out fast.
Yet, it’s fairly simple and can only get you so far. That said, it’s an awesome first step to get you started on setting your SMART goals!
What is the Simple SMART Goal Template about?
The Simple SMART Goal Template lets you determine why you want to pursue your goal — and start planning your goal. It’s a simple illustration of your SMART goal.
How to use the Simple SMART Goal Template?
Answer each question in as much detail as possible. As soon as you’re done, consider if you’ve left out any important information – and add it accordingly.
Who should use the Simple SMART Goal Template?
This SMART Goal Template is perfect for people who want to set SMART goals but don’t necessarily want to answer to SMART criteria.
⬇️ Download the Simple SMART Goal Template PDF
⬇️ Download the Simple SMART Goal Template Google Docs
⬇️ Download the Simple SMART Goal Template Excel
⬇️ Download the Simple SMART Goal Template Google Sheets
Elaborate SMART Goal Template
The Elaborate SMART Goal Template guides you through your thought process with in-depth prompts.
This template takes you beyond superficial goal-setting. In other words, the Elaborate SMART Goal Template digs deeper into your potential, desires, and plans.
What is the Elaborate SMART Goal Template about?
The Elaborate SMART Goal Template is divided into 5 sections, each representing a letter of the SMART acronym:
How to use the Elaborate SMART Goal Template?
After downloading your preferred template, answer a detailed list of questions for each section to determine whether the said goal is worth your time. You may also need to tweak your answers as you go, and that’s totally fine.
Who should use the Elaborate SMART Goal Template?
This SMART Goal Template is perfect for people who need more pointers on whether the goal they want to pursue is SMART or not.
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template PDF
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template Google Docs
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template Excel
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template Google Sheets
Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems)
The Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) is a helpful tool to establish problem areas and solve each.
The template contains useful prompts on resources and people you can check in with to help you reach your goals faster.
What is the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) about?
The Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) consists of 5 sections on 2 pages each.
The first page features a series of questions of the SMART framework. In contrast, the second page consists of a cheat sheet for solving problems you established on the first page.
How to use the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems)?
Answer a detailed list of questions for each section to determine whether the said goal is worth your time. After that, think about the problems you may face as you work toward the said goal — and try to solve them before they happen.
Who should use the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems)?
This SMART goal template is great for preventing potential problems with your goal — in case you want a more detailed SMART breakdown of your goal. The Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) is perfect for businesses and individuals who want to explore financial and organizational concerns in depth.
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) PDF
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) Google Docs
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) Excel
⬇️ Download the Elaborate SMART Goal Template (+ Problems) Google Sheets
SMART Goal Tree Template
The SMART Goal Tree Template is a nugget of gold on our list of SMART goal templates.
It’s a treasure trove of valuable insights and direct measurement tools to reach your goals in an efficient and effective manner.
What is the SMART Goal Tree Template about?
The SMART Goal Tree Template helps you select and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that tell you how well you’re progressing with your goal.
How to use the SMART Goal Tree Template?
To use this more complex template, set up at least 3 indicators for your goal. Then, insert measures to track progress, and reach the targets.
For example, the overall goal could be: “Improved customer satisfaction by 50%.”
An indicator for this goal would be: “ The number of calls, requests, and emails taken by customer support and ending in happy resolutions. ”
The 2 measures we can use to calculate the indicator could be:
- “Professionally and cheerfully handling customer requests, calls, and emails,” and
- “Creating an incentive system for customer support agents to be better in their job”.
Finally, the 2 targets for each measure could be:
- “50% more calls/emails handled more professionally and cheerfully by customer support,” and
- “Managers in the customer support team giving positive employee reviews weekly”.
Who should use the SMART Goal Tree Template?
You can use this template to measure success in various business areas, such as:
- Customer support,
- Company finance,
- Internal processes, and more.
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Tree Template PDF
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Tree Template Google Docs
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Tree Template Excel
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Tree Template Google Sheets
SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities)
The SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) is just what it sounds like.
This template calls for responsibility and sets out steps on your way to reaching your professional and personal goals. In fact, it gives you immediate feedback on whether you’ve reached your objectives in the end.
What is the SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) about?
The SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) lets you determine the value of a goal by asking you to explain how or why the said goal is:
Then, you can add the person responsible for the said goal and lay out the steps you need to go through to reach success.
How to use SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities)?
After downloading this action plan template, respond to each prompt and fill out the steps you need to complete to reach your goal. Also, you can name the responsible persons or entities that need to help you on this journey.
Remember that nothing is set in stone, and you can always rewrite it if you spot inconsistencies or flaws in your original plan.
Who should use the SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities)?
Great for teamwork within a project where each teammate has different goals and responsibilities that together tie into one greater purpose. Also great for goals that imply a specific set of steps (or tasks) you need to tackle to reach them.
⬇️ Download the SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) PDF
⬇️ Download the SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) Google Docs
⬇️ Download the SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) Excel
⬇️ Download the SMART Action Plan Template (+ Action Steps and Responsibilities) Google Sheets
New Year SMART Goal Template
The New Year SMART Goal Template prompts you to provide an overview of your personal and professional aspirations for the coming year.
As a result, this template goes above and beyond to explore which goals you truly want to pursue — or not.
The New Year SMART Goal Template requires that you make a bit of a long-term commitment.
What is the New Year SMART Goal Template about?
The New Year SMART Goal Template lets you define SMART goals for your:
- Personal growth,
- Business life,
- Family and friends,
- Hobbies, and
- New purchases in the new year.
How to use the New Year SMART Goal Template?
As soon as you download your preferred format, answer the prompts in as much detail as possible.
For example, in the Personal growth section, you can list things such as “Start meditating every day for 30 minutes” or “Read 20 book pages daily” and go from there.
Who should use the New Year SMART Goal Template?
This template is perfect for carrying out your New Year’s resolutions. So, you can be a university student, a freelancer, or anyone else pursuing goals in the coming year.
⬇️ Download the New Year SMART Goal Template PDF
⬇️ Download the New Year SMART Goal Template Google Docs
⬇️ Download the New Year SMART Goal Template Excel
⬇️ Download the New Year SMART Goal Template Google Sheets
SMART Goal Template for Project Managers
The SMART Goal Template for Project Managers is a clear, concise, and descriptive tool to get to the hows and whys of your project management goals.
In turn, it helps you lead your team and create a roadmap for success in a short period.
What is the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers about?
The SMART Goal Template for Project Managers consists of 5 sections.
With this template, you can assess each goal you want to assign to a team member. In fact, you can decide whether the goal needs redefining or even whether it’s worthwhile (or unattainable by the assigned team member) in the first place.
How to use the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers?
Answer 2 questions per section to set and define a goal any project manager might face. Similarly, remember that you can tinker with the details and rewrite anything you deem necessary at any point during the process.
Who should use the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers?
This SMART goal template is perfect for managers who are currently defining the goals and objectives of a project. You can also consider this template as a way to establish SMART goals for better time management.
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers PDF
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers Google Docs
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers Excel
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template for Project Managers Google Sheets
SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations)
Last but not least, the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) presents a powerful tool for learning what motivates you to reach your goals.
By taking the time to understand what drives you, you can tap into your intrinsic motivation and stay focused on your short-term and long-term goals even when things get tough.
What is the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) about?
The SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) lets you assess whether a goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Then, you can define the motivations and rewards that stand behind your pursuit of the said goal.
How to use the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations)?
To get to the bottom of your rewards and motivations, simply respond to 5 questions from the SMART framework, followed by 2 questions on how you’ll make the goal motivating and rewarding.
Who should use the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations)?
Rewards are important to keep you motivated enough to pursue a goal. I suggest you pick this SMART goal template if you want to define specific rewards that await you when you reach a goal.
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) PDF
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) Google Docs
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) Excel
⬇️ Download the SMART Goal Template (+ Rewards/Motivations) Google Sheets
Wrapping up: The SMART framework helps you reach goals faster
The SMART goal formula gives you an easy way to determine whether the goal you’re looking to pursue is:
- Attainable, and
- Relevant enough for you to pursue it in the first place.
The SMART goal criteria also give you a time frame and deadline — the time-bound part in the acronym — to use as a point of reference for your plan as you work toward the said goal.
Above all, SMART goals criteria are suitable for both personal and business goals. Speaking of which, SMART goals help you:
- Improve performance at work,
- Lead teams more effectively,
- Enhance time management,
- Be healthier and fitter,
- Boost accountability, and much more.
Whatever SMART goal you pursue, it’s always best that you use a ready-made template or a goal tracking app to define and track it. If you do it, you’ll spend less time planning the goals and more time actually working on them.
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Marija Kojic is a productivity writer who's always researching about various productivity techniques and time management tips in order to find the best ones to write about. She can often be found testing and writing about apps meant to enhance the workflow of freelancers, remote workers, and regular employees. Appeared in G2 Crowd Learning Hub, The Good Men Project, and Pick the Brain, among other places.
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Joe Biden wants to complete his goals on civil rights, taxes, and social services if he’s reelected
President Joe Biden has a lot of unfinished business from his first term that he intends to continue if reelected. It’s a far different vision for the country than Donald Trump has outlined during his own campaign. (Nov. 12)
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 4, 2023, in Washington. Biden has a lot of unfinished business from his first term that he intends to continue if reelected. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minn., Nov. 1, 2023. Biden has a lot of unfinished business from his first term that he intends to continue if reelected. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Nov. 9, 2023. Biden has a lot of unfinished business from his first term that he intends to continue if reelected.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during an event on the economy, from the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Oct. 23, 2023. Biden has a lot of unfinished business from his first term that he intends to continue if reelected.. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has a simple reelection pitch to voters — let him “finish the job.”
So what does that mean? What’s left for him to get done?
Unlike Donald Trump , the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination who has been releasing videos and statements detailing his agenda, Biden hasn’t formally released his plans as part of his campaign.
But his ambitions are no secret, and his goals for child care, community college and prescription drugs have been laid out in detail during the Democrat’s first term. He also has unfulfilled promises on civil rights, such as protecting access to the ballot box, preventing police misconduct and restoring the nationwide right to abortion. Banning firearms known as assault rifles remains a priority as well.
The result is a second-term agenda that could look a lot like Biden’s first-term agenda, with some of the same political challenges. Almost none of this can get done without cooperation from Congress, and many of these goals already have been blocked or pared down because of opposition on Capitol Hill.
Biden has achieved bipartisan victories on infrastructure projects and public funding for the domestic computer chip industry. But Democrats would need to win wide majorities in both the House and the Senate to clear a path for the rest of his plans.
“We’re going to finish as much of the job as we can in the next year,” said Bruce Reed, Biden’s deputy chief of staff. “And finish the rest after that.”
Biden’s campaign expressed confidence that the president’s agenda would stack up well against Republicans in next year’s election. Kevin Munoz, a spokesman, described the election as “a choice between fighting for the middle class or shilling for rich special interests” and he said ”it’s a contrast we are more than happy to make.”
One other difference between Biden and Trump doesn’t fit neatly into policy white papers, but it’s core to their political foundation. Biden has made defending American democracy a cornerstone of his administration, while Trump tried to overturn his election loss in 2020.
The result of the 2024 campaign could reshape not only government policy but the future of the country’s bedrock institutions.
Biden’s plans are expensive and he doesn’t want to increase the deficit, so that means he’s looking to raise taxes on the wealthy.
He already has succeeded in implementing a 15% minimum tax on companies with annual income exceeding $1 billion.
Biden has proposed raising the top tax rate to 39.6%, the corporate tax rate to 28% and the stock buyback tax to 4%.
He wants a minimum tax of 25% on the wealthiest Americans, a levy that would be applied not only to income but unrealized capital gains. The idea, which Biden called the “billionaire minimum income tax,” could prove difficult to put in place, not to mention extremely hard to push through Congress, given Republican opposition to higher taxes.
SOCIAL SERVICES AND HEALTH CARE
Biden’s original signature plan was known as Build Back Better , a cornucopia of proposals that would have dramatically changed the role of the federal government in Americans’ lives.
It was pared down because of resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin , a West Virginia Democrat who is a key vote in the narrowly divided Senate and announced this past week that he will not seek reelection. The result was the Inflation Reduction Act , which included financial incentives for clean energy and limits on prescription drug costs, but not many other programs.
Biden will want to bring back the ideas that were left on the cutting room floor. That includes making two years of community college tuition free, offering universal preschool and limiting the cost of child care to 7% of income for most families.
He also wants to resuscitate the expanded child tax credit. The American Rescue Plan, the pandemic-era relief legislation, boosted the credit to $3,000 for children over six and $3,600 for children younger than age 6. The expansion lapsed after a year, returning the credit to $2,000 per child, when his original package stalled.
More work is left on prescription drugs. The monthly cost of insulin was capped at $35 for Medicare recipients. Biden wants the same limit for all patients.
The White House recently announced a new office dedicated to preventing gun violence . Biden also signed legislation that’s intended to help officials keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and other dangerous people.
But Biden’s biggest goal , a ban on so-called assault weapons, remains out of reach because of Republican opposition. Such a ban was in place from 1994 to 2004, but it wasn’t extended after it expired. Although the proposal hasn’t been spelled out in detail, it would likely affect popular high-powered weapons such as the AR-15, which can shoot dozens of bullets at a fast pace.
Another item on the wish list is universal background checks, which increase scrutiny of sales conducted through gun shows or other unlicensed avenues.
Biden took office at a time of national upheaval over the role of racism in policing and the future of democracy. George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, was murdered by a white police officer, and Trump tried to overturn Biden’s election victory, leading to the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
Biden promised to address both of these issues through landmark legislation, but he came up short of his goals.
On policing, bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill failed to reach a deal, particularly when it came to making it easier to sue over allegations of misconduct. So Biden instead crafted an executive order with input from activists and police. The final version changes rules for federal law enforcement, but it does little to alter how local departments do their jobs.
He similarly issued an executive order on voting rights that aims to expand registration efforts. But Democratic legislation intended to solidify access to the ballot box failed to advance when some members of the party refused to sidestep Senate filibuster rules to pass it.
Biden’s presidency was upended by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed nationwide access to abortion. It’s proved to be a potential campaign issue for Democrats, but they have had less success in Congress. Biden said that if his party picks up more seats, he will push for legislation codifying the right to abortion.
On Biden’s first day in office, he sent Congress his proposal for overhauling the country’s immigration system. The idea went nowhere.
But the president would want to take another swing at the issue in a second term. It will prove an especially urgent topic as migrants continue crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and the country looks for the next generation of workers to achieve its economic goals.
Biden wants to allow people who are in the United States illegally to apply for legal status and eventually citizenship. He also wants a smoother and expanded visa process, particularly for foreign graduates of American universities. These steps would be paired with additional resources for border enforcement.
UKRAINE AND ISRAEL
Biden is facing two wars on two continents, and the fallout from each conflict will shape a second term even if the fighting ends before that.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for almost two years, and Israel and Hamas began their latest clash about a month ago. Biden wants to send military support to Ukraine and Israel, something that he describes as “vital” to U.S. national security interests.
“History has taught us when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction,” he said in a recent Oval Office address.
His plans will require challenging congressional negotiations. Some Republicans are resisting more assistance for Ukraine after Congress has already approved $113 billion in security, economic and humanitarian resistance.
Both conflicts will likely require years of U.S. involvement. For example, Biden is looking for a new opportunity to push for a two-state solution in the Middle East, creating an independent Palestinian country alongside Israel.
Fighting global warming is one of the areas where Biden has had the most success. The Inflation Reduction Act includes nearly $375 billion for climate change, much of it going toward financial incentives for electric cars, clean energy and other initiatives. Biden is also pushing stricter regulations on vehicles and power plants.
But the U.S. is not yet on track to meet Biden’s ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to independent analysts. And there’s a lot of work ahead to ensure new programs reach their potential.
One hurdle is red tape for energy projects . The White House argues that it’s too hard to build infrastructure such as transmission lines, but legislation to address the issue would likely require compromises with Republicans, who see an opportunity to grease the skids for additional fossil fuel development.