Goal setting is so incredibly smart.
It’s the best way to make sure that our thoughts and ideas become reality.
So it takes us from going, “I would like to accomplish something,” to “I have accomplished something.”
But of course, setting goals isn’t always intuitive.
What comes in between where we are and where our goal is? What are the steps we need to take in order to reach those goals?
And that’s where something like SMART goals and SMART goal examples comes in to help you out. 🙂
You Might Also Like: 44 Journaling Prompts that Will Help You Live an Intentional Daily Life (+ Free Planner and Journal)
So what Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are almost like guidelines or a system for better understanding your goals and figuring out what you need to do to get there.
They take you from going, “I want this,” to “I know how to get there.”
They make your goals something you can actually achieve rather than a “someday” kind of thing.
And here’s what the SMART acronym stands for:
Specific: You want to make your goal as specific as possible. So for example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight and feel healthy,” you would say, “I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months.”
Measurable: You want to make sure that your goal is something you can track the progress of easily and keep notes.
Attainable: Your goal should be something you can actually reach. Not something too big that when you don’t reach it, you feel discouraged and give up.
Relevant: This should be a goal that is relevant to your life and what you really want. Not what others want or what you think you should want.
Time-Bound: You need to make sure that you goal has a set date for being accomplished. This helps you make sure that it actually happens and doesn’t get forgotten over time.
SMART goals can also help you find any roadblocks or hurdles that you might need to overcome. So instead of starting off with a goal such as, losing weight, then giving up when you run into an issue, you get to see before hand what problems might arise. And then you can eliminate them to ensure your success.
So for instance, if we’re still using the weight loss example, you might start thinking about the kind of bad mindsets you have around losing weight, or the bad habits you have when going to the grocery store.
And once you see those, you can eliminate those problems and do things like shopping with a list, or getting rid of that bad belief that losing weight is hard for you.
Where Do Smart Goals Come From?
Back in 1981, George T. Doran published what he found to be true about goal setting and came up with the term SMART goals.
He had originally set up this SMART goal framework for businesses and improving success with things like sales. However, SMART goals are now being used to improve almost every aspect of our lives.
So many people have now written, talked about, and benefitted from this framework. And since it’s lasted for over 40 years, I think it’s a good method to try. 🙂
20 Examples of SMART Goals
And now that you understand what SMART goals are and how they work, here are some example SMART goals that can help you get started today or this week.
You can also start off with something small and then work your way up. That way you don’t get intimidated and can build momentum for accomplishing your goals.
Oh, and before you begin, I really do feel like it’s necessary to state that writing down your goals really does work! In a studydone by the Dominican University of California, it was shown that those who did write down their goals were more likely to achieve them. So don’t underestimate this part!
1. SMART Goal for Having a Better Romantic Relationship
Specific: I want to have a more close and meaningful marriage with my spouse and get better at communication without fear or anxiety.
Measurable: I will set a time during the week where we can talk and communicate with each other about things that are important to us or hurt us. This will be a safe place where neither of us will judge the other and will listen. Then we will communicate back what we heard and work together on a way to fix our problems.
Attainable: My spouse is someone who wants to work on things and get closer, so I believe they will be up for at least trying something like this.
Relevant: I want to have a happy and healthy marriage that my parents never had and give my children a new legacy for having healthy marriages.
Time-Bound: We will try this out for a month and takes notes on what did and didn’t work. Then we’ll see what things need to be changed after 30 days and set a new goal for the next month.
2. SMART Goal for Having Better Friendships as an Adult
Specific: I want to get rid of any toxic friends I have right now, and find a simple way to make one close and genuine friend.
Measurable: I will sign up for my local book club and attend this week. I will be mindful and take note on anyone in the group that I might have common interests with. Then each week, I will talk to them specifically and see if they are someone I want to ask to hang out with.
Attainable: I love reading and this is a simple and non-intimidating way for me to potentially make a friend.
Relevant: I want to start putting people in my life that genuinely care about me and build lifelong friendships.
Time-Bound: I will go to a book club this week and give myself two months to find someone in this group that I can be compatible with. If there is no one, I will move onto another group or activity that can support my goal.
3. SMART Goal for Increasing Income
Specific: I want to increase the amount of income I am making at my current job.
Measurable: I will set a time this week to talk to my boss and see if a raise is possible. I will respectfully bring to them the reasons why I believe I am able to have a raise and what I bring to the company. If my boss disagrees, then I will ask them what needs to be done this work quarter in order to see a raise.
Attainable: My boss is someone who I can talk to about important things and they will listen. Also it is a place where raises can be worked towards.
Relevant: I want to be able to pay off my debt faster and not be living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Time-Bound: I will talk to my boss this Thursday. If they don’t agree to a raise, I will do what they tell me to do by the end of this work quarter in order to see a raise.
4. SMART Goal for Your Career
Specific: I want to increase my sales by 20% by the third sales quarter.
Measurable: I can look at people in my workplace who are making the sales I want to achieve and see what they are doing right. This can be methods and mindsets they have. Each week I will apply their methods and mindsets and see if I have an increase in sales by any percentage. I will measure this weekly and make amendments until I am steadily growing to that 20% increase.
Attainable: I am a determined person and work with people who are helpful and will give me advice. Also, a 20% increase in sales is something that anyone in my workplace can achieve.
Relevant: I want to increase my yearly income so that I can build up my retirement faster, and increasing my sales is a good step in getting there.
Time-Bound: I have 3 months until the end of the third sales quarter. I will have achieved my 20% increase by then, and if I have not, I will see where I am failing and fix these problems.
5. SMART Goal for Better Financial Stability
Specific: I want to stop spending $300 on things I don’t need each month.
Measurable: I will look at my bank account, take note on where the money is going, then create a very simple, non-intimidating, budget. This budget will help me see how much I want to save each month, and cut out anything that will keep me from my goal.
Attainable: I make enough money, that cutting down on $300 of spending will not affect me in a negative way.
Relevant: I want to become more financially stable, have more money, and give my children better money values as well.
Time-Bound: I will have achieved this goal by the end of next month since this month has already begun.
6. SMART Goal for Getting Rid of Debt
Specific: I want to get rid of my debt of $14,576.98.
Measurable: I can create a budget which will help me see where all my money is going, and get rid of any unnecessary spending. I will also either get a second job, and/or work on getting a pay raise at my current job.
Attainable: This is attainable because almost anyone can get rid of debt and figure out how to get there. Also, my job is a place where I can expect a raise, and I have the ability to find a new job as well.
Relevant: I want to become debt-free so that I can start saving towards retirement, become more financially responsible, and actually achieve my goals and dreams.
Time-Bound: I will pay this off by the end of next year.
7. SMART Goal for Getting Rid of Childhood Trauma
Specific: I want to get rid of my fear of connecting with others and stop sabotaging closeness in romantic relationships and friendships.
Measurable: I will find a counselor in the next two weeks to meet with weekly who specializes in childhood trauma and start doing the actionable things they tell me to do without fail.
Attainable: People are able to heal from childhood trauma all the time, and there are people who have been through worse who have been able to overcome their past.
Relevant: I want to overcome my childhood trauma because I want to become a better person to others, form meaningful relationships, and really feel happy in the life I have.
Time-Bound: By the end of the year, I will have been able to form at least two close friendships with other people and have a more positive thought life about myself and others.
8. SMART Goal for Better Emotional Control and Regulation
Specific: I want to not be affected by other people’s emotions, and be able to have a reasonable, helpful, and healthy response to any situation because I am emotionally in control.
Measurable: I will set an appointment with a counselor that can help me with emotional regulation, apply their methods, and also learn calming techniques.
Attainable: This is attainable because others have overcome worse emotional issues, and I have been able to take control of my mindset and emotions before.
Relevant: I have allowed other people’s reactions and emotions to affect me for far too long, and I would like to be in control of my own emotions. I don’t want my emotions to control me and what I do.
Time-Bound: By the end of this year, in 4 months time, I will be able to talk with people who I know are emotionally out of control, and not be affected by them. I will be able to set boundaries and give healthy calm responses by this time.
9. SMART Goal for a Healthier Diet
Specific: I want to stop eating out every week, make healthy fats, lean meats, complex carbs, and produce the majority of my diet, and lose 25 pounds.
Measurable: Each week, I will meal plan healthy but tasty recipes, get rid of anything in the home that would hurt my goal, and only eat out once a month.
Attainable: This is attainable because others have been able to healthily lose this amount of weight with my timeline.
Relevant: This is important to me because I want to feel healthy and well in my body. I don’t want to feel sluggish all time and develop health problems later on.
Time-Bound: I will accomplish this in 3 months starting today.
10. SMART Goal for Fitness
Specific: I want to become more active and be able to run one mile.
Measurable: For 3 days each week, I will start off by running for a quarter of a mile. I will increase this by another quarter every other week.
Attainable: This is attainable because I have been able to run a quarter of a mile before and it’s not a large goal.
Relevant: I want to become more in shape and able to do more activities in my life without running out of breath.
Time-Bound: I will accomplish this by the end of 8 weeks.
11. SMART Goal for Self-Love
Specific: I want to get rid of my top two bad beliefs that promote my self-hate. These are, “I can never do anything right,” and “No one will ever love me.”
Measurable: I will go to a counselor once a week that can help me figure out where these beliefs came from and what I need to do about them. I will also say 10 good affirmations about myself each morning.
Attainable: This is attainable because others have done it before too, and I am only getting rid of two beliefs, not 20 at a time.
Relevant: I want to start living a better life that I’m happy in, and that starts with seeing myself differently, and getting rid of beliefs that are holding me back.
Time-Bound: I will have accomplished this by the end of 6 months.
12. SMART Goal for Self-Care
Specific: I want to get rid of any distractions, and have at least one hour each day set aside for working on my dream of being able to work online and travel-full time.
Measurable: I will make a list of anything that is a distraction and keeping me from my goal. I will then eliminate these distractions or set a certain time in the week to do them.
Attainable: I already have 25 minutes that I can work on my traveling goal, and finding an extra 35 minutes will not be hard.
Relevant: I have always wanted to have a location independent income and travel. I want to experience the world before I get married and have kid someday.
Time-Bound: I will be able to have an hour of focus time by the end of two weeks.
13. SMART Goal for Becoming a Better Person Overall
Specific: I want to become a less selfish and more giving person, that others want to be around. I want to be someone who thinks of others before themselves and makes a change in other people’s lives.
Measurable: Each week, I will find 2 people I can help, whether it’s a friend or someone on the street. And I will ONLY focus on how it is benefitting them, not myself in anyway.
Attainable: This is attainable since I have the time in the week to do this.
Relevant: I have a lot of selfish tendencies and I want to grow as a giving loving person. This will make happier overall and give me a bigger community of friends as well.
Time-Bound: I will have accomplished my goal of growing into a giving person who thinks of others first by the end of one year.
14. SMART Goal for Time Management
Specific: I want to be someone who is able to arrive at appointments, professional and personal, at least 5 minutes early.
Measurable: I will look at what is taking up the most time when it comes to getting ready and leaving. Then I will find strategies for cutting down on these tasks and start leaving at a reasonable time. I will also become mindful to check the drive time a couple hours before so that I can determine by what time I want to be ready.
Attainable: This is attainable because I have been able to do this before, and there are plenty of things I can cut down on.
Relevant: I want to be someone who respects other people’s time.
Time-Bound: By the end of 4 weeks, I will have been able to arrive at appointments 5 minutes early for one week straight.
15. SMART Goal for Waking Up Earlier
Specific: I want to wake up at 6:30 AM each morning so that I can finish my daily schedule sooner.
Measurable: I will start going to bed at 9:30PM and this will give me enough time to fall asleep, and have around 8 hours of sleep for each night. I will also start a nightly routine that will help me go to bed by this time.
Attainable: This is attainable because there are things in my nightly routine I can cut out, and I have been able to go to bed and wake up around that time before.
Relevant: For awhile now, I have been wanting to wake up earlier so that I can have more time to eat a healthy breakfast, do a workout, and start my work routine sooner.
Time-Bound: I will have accomplished this by the end of 4 weeks.
16. SMART Goal for Studying
Specific: I am going to study for one hour each day so that I can finally get an A on the algebra exam.
Measurable: I will make a list of any distractions that keep me from my goal, cut them out or cut them down, and find a quiet place to study.
Attainable: I have a quiet place I can already study in, and there are plenty of things I can cut out that will help me reach one hour of study time.
Relevant: I really want to get A’s in all of my classes this semester and feel accomplished.
Time-Bound: The Algebra exam is in one month, so I need to be ready by then.
17. SMART Goal for Travel
Specific: I want to travel to Nice, France in the first week of October this year.
Measurable: I am going to set aside a separate savings account and have 10% of my monthly income sent there.
Attainable: This is attainable because I make enough money to set aside 10% each month and this will help me reach my goal.
Relevant: I have always wanted to visit the French riviera, and Nice looks like one of the best places to visit in that area.
Time-Bound: The first week of October is in 6 months. I need to have that amount of money ready by then.
18. SMART Goal for Communication
Specific: I want to be able to communicate my feelings in a calm and healthy way if someone says something that hurts me. And I want to do it immediately after it happens.
Measurable: I am going to find one instance each week, that is small, where I can easily communicate. Then every two weeks, I will add on another situation where my communication is necessary. I will also see a counselor every week that can help me with this.
Attainable: This is attainable because I will be seeing a counselor who will be helping me. But also, others have overcome similar situation that were worse than mine, and that means I can do this too.
Relevant: It has always bothered me how I have let others run me over, and have not spoken up for myself.
Time-Bound: I want to be comfortable in my communication by the end of one year.
19. SMART Goal for Learning a New Language
Specific: I want to be able to speak Japanese fluently.
Measurable: I will take online Japanese classes four times a week and find people on iTalki to help me twice a week. I will also visit the Japanese neighborhood in my city. There I can talk to people who’s first language is Japanese and improve my skills.
Side Note: When I say “Japanese neighborhood,” I mean places like Japantown in San Francisco. I hope that makes sense!
Attainable: This is attainable because others have been able to do this in a shorter amount of time. I also have the time in the week to actually put towards this goal.
Relevant: I have always wanted to move and live in Japan. I’ve visited multiple times before and have made friends over there, so I know it’s a place I’d like to be.
Time-Bound: I will accomplish this by the end of 3 years.
20. SMART Goal for Reading More Books
Specific: I want to be able read one book every two weeks.
Measurable: I will find videos on how to be a faster reader, and set at least one hour a day towards reading a book. I will also make a large list of books that I want to read every two weeks so that I’m not wasting time trying to figure out what to read next.
Attainable: This is attainable because I have been able to read a book in two weeks before.
Relevant: I want to become a more learned and intelligent person and take care of my mental health.
Time-Bound: I will be able to do this by the end of 2 months.
How to Use SMART Goals to Improve Your Whole Career
If you’re wanting to improve your whole career, then I would break down every part you want to change.
Here’s a list of examples:
- Design skills
- Tech skills
- Volunteer work
- Beliefs and habits
Then, find a specific direction you want to go with your career. What are the long-term goals for this direction? What are the short-term goals?
Why is this direction important to you?
And once you’ve answered all of those question, here is what you need to consider when it comes determining what your goal should be for each topic:
- How can you serve others?
- How can you reach these goals the fastest?
- What mindsets and beliefs do you need to adopt?
- What mindsets and beliefs do you need to get rid of?
- Who is already meeting these goals in your workplace? What are they doing, or have done, to meet them and how can you replicate their success?
- What are things in your life that you need to cut out that are keeping you from your goals?
- What can you learn to reach your goals efficiently?
- How can you improve the skills you already have?
- Where can you meet new connections?
- Do you need to change workplaces in order to meet these goals?
Figure out the answers for these questions, and then you can start making some good SMART goals that are attainable. 🙂
How to Use SMART Goals to Improve Your Relationships
If you want to improve your relationships, then I would definitely make a list of the different types of relationships you currently have.
And also think about the ones you want to have!
Here’s a list of examples of the different types of relationships:
- Work related
- Extended network (mutual friends)
Then figure out what you want your long and short-term goals to be for the relationship categories you choose.
Next ask yourself some questions.
Why do you want these goals? What makes them meaningful to you?
Also, here are some things to think about when it comes to your relationship goals:
- What kind of person do you want to be in these relationships?
- What do you need to work on personally to be a better person in the relationships (can’t just make it about the other person)?
- What limiting beliefs and habits do you need to get rid of?
- What empowering beliefs and habits do you need to adopt?
- Who do you need to cut out that’s taking away from time and energy?
- How can you extend your network of friends?
And lastly, if you to make more friends, then you should check out my in-depth guide on how to make friends as an adult. 😊
How to Use SMART Goals to Improve Yourself in General
Now if you’re wanting to make a big change in who you are as a person, that’s incredible!
Not a lot of people have the courage to do that. 👏
So if you want to improve yourself, here are some things you might want to look at:
- What are bad and unhealthy beliefs you have about yourself?
- What are bad and unhealthy beliefs you have about romantic relationships?
- What bad and unhealthy beliefs do you have about friendships?
- What bad and unhealthy beliefs do you have about family?
- What bad and unhealthy beliefs do you have about people you interact with regularly?
- What bad and unhealthy beliefs do you have surrounding money and work?
- What bad and unhealthy beliefs do you have around your future?
- What bad and unhealthy beliefs do you have around your health?
- What can you replace all these bad and unhealthy beliefs with?
- Do you need to see a counselor for childhood trauma (or any other issues)?
- What are bad habits that are making you unhappy and/or pushing others away?
- Are there people you need to cut out that are holding you back from improving?
- Do you need to see your family less often because they are encouraging you to stay in bad beliefs and habits?
- What do you believe or think about your own dreams and goals? Are they doable in your head?
- What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years from now?
- Is the job you have something that needs to change?
- Are you in relationships that are taking you away from your dreams and goals?
Figure out what is most important to you, create your short and long-term SMART goals surrounding them, and attack!
You have what it takes to become the better version of yourself, I promise! Don’t live a life that you don’t like. ♥️
10 Helpful Tips for Using SMART Goals
Here are some quick and easy tips for making the most of your SMART goals. 🙂
- Start off small if you’re feeling intimidated! Don’t do something huge and then allow yourself to get discouraged and give up.
- Find someone for accountability, or be accountability partners for each other as you both work on your individual SMART goals.
- Create a list of milestones in getting to your goal and then set rewards.
- Create a vision board that you can pair with your SMART goals so you stay motivated.
- Make sure you’re asking yourself why you’re doing a goal before you plan it out. This way you can make sure this is something you’re doing for yourself, and/or it’s something you can stick to.
- It’s ok to change up your plan and make adjustments. Don’t get discouraged!
- Try setting an end goal date that’s ambitious. Sometimes this can help you to work harder than you would have if the goal was further out. Also, even if you don’t reach it, there’s no need to feel frustrated; you at least went further than you normally would have.
- Acknowledging the growth and small wins! They’re important, but easily overlooked.
- Look at other people who have accomplished the same goals as you. How did they do it?
- Make sure to look for any bad beliefs you might have that are keeping you from your goals!
SMART Goals FAQ
If there’s anything else you want to know about SMART goals, then I hope this small FAQ list will help you out!
1. Why Use SMART Goals?
SMART goals help you to be a lot more specific.
They make you think about what it is that you really want, why, when you want it, and what you’ll do to actually get there.
Because goals without real details and plans are just a nice daydream.
SMART goals help you answer some of the most important questions, and actually keep you on track for getting there.
2. How Do I Find My SMART Goals?
One of the best ways to find your own personal SMART goals is to make a list of the main areas you want to change in your life.
What could be made better and make you happier?
Then break them down into smaller sub categories. What are the main things you want to change in your finances, for example.
Then it’s all about figuring out why you want to meet those goals and how you’re gonna do it.
3. Why Are SMART Goals Important?
SMART goals are important because they help you figure out what you really want in life. They give you precise laser focus and cut out all the distractions.
And then they help you turn your daydreams and “someday’s” into reality.
They give you the real actionable steps that you need to take to get to the specific goals you want.
4. Should All Goals be SMART Goals?
I think so!
Unless it’s some really small goal you want to accomplish in the day, I think it’s important to create SMART goals so that you can start living a fulfilling life. 🙂
5. What is a short-term SMART goal example?
Short-term SMART goals are definitely helpful, and they’re probably something you’ll want to do when first starting out.
Because the smaller the goals, the sooner they’ll be achieved. And the more you achieve, the more confidence you’ll build so that you can go after bigger SMART goals.
So here are just a few examples of short-term SMART goals:
Example 1: You want to finally finish that book that you’ve been putting off, so you…
- Set a SMART goal and get specific and time-bound by saying you’ll finish reading the book, and do it in 3 weeks time.
- Then you make sure it’s measurable by figuring out how many pages are left, and determine that you will read it for 30 minutes before bed each day.
- You’ll know that this is attainable for you because you really do have thirty minutes before bed to read.
- And finally, you’ll know that it’s relevant because you want to finish this book so that you can give it back to your friend.
Example 2: You want to completely clean and re-organize your bedroom, so you…
- Set a SMART goal and have it finished within two days; that would be you getting specific and time-bound.
- You also understand that this SMART goal is measurable and attainable because you will spend 3 hours each of the two days cleaning and organizing, and you know you have that much time to spare.
- And lastly, you know that it is relevant to you because you want your bedroom to be a stress-free space.
Example 3: You want to become really good at driving stick-shift, so you…
- Make a SMART goal and say that you’ll be a great stick-shift driver in two months time. That would be specific and time-bound.
- Then you make it measurable and attainable by dedicating three hours per week to this goal, and you understand that you have 3 hours to spare in your week for this goal.
- And lastly, it’s relevant to you because there are vehicles you want to be able to drive that are only stick-shift.
Now these are just some SMART goals with examples, but I do hope that they were able to help you out in creating your own.
SMART goals really are a great way of creating a life you love, so try creating one today and see where it takes you in the coming months and years!
PS – if you have any questions, let me know if the comments down below. I’d love to help!