The biggest stumbling block to any kind of success are ideas that don’t convert into plans or actions. Learn how to embrace SMART goals – choose and define your goals with clarity, and actually achieve them! Plus, tons of smart goal examples that you can apply in your work, business and life.
Goals give you focus. Goals give you direction. And goals that are set smartly, also provide you the best kind of motivation.
However, if your goals or new year resolutions don’t have a clear direction, most likely they will stay ideas or even dreams.
So how do you convert your ideas into reality?
Be smart about achieving your goal!
There are several approaches when you want to set goals and execute them, and the SMART goal setting way is often recognized as one of the best. It’s a great way to help you articulate your goals in clear, no-nonsense ways.
But what are SMART goals?
SMART is a clever acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (and Actionable), Relevant and Time-bound way of setting your goals. This method breaks down each goal into very 5 components, each with the right questions to help you set goals that are concrete and doable!
Specific – describe your goal in clear words
Measurable – assign a numeric value (say in units of money, time, percentage or numbers)
Achievable & Actionable – your aim should be attainable by you and have clear action.
Relevant – a SMART goal is one, that helps your overall business or personal objectives.
Time-bound – set an end date or deadline
Here’s an SMART example of a popular New Year’s resolution that you can apply to your business or personal life.
I will increase savings by 6% in the next 2 months, by reviewing and trimming 3 unnecessary cost items. This will give me a contingency fund or ‘cushion’ for the future.
The amazing thing about setting your goals using the SMART format is that it works for any kind of goals that you might have. You can make clear plans, whether you are setting targets in a professional context, or writing them for your personal achievements. And they work beautifully in your personal life too.
The devil is in the details – here’s an example of SMART goals vs. simply Goals
If your focus is sales growth, you might start with a simple goal.
“I want to grow my sales…”
Sure, this is a very important, almost essential goal. But without concrete action items, this plan has no direction.
A SMART goal on the other hand, will be more focused, like the text below.
“I want to grow my sales by 15% in the next quarter with marketing outreach, a Facebook ad campaign and by offering discounts on 3 popular products.”
You can set your targets for business growth, choose one for personal development or take on fitness SMART goals. In a professional arena, there are lots of examples of SMART goals for leaders and employees.
How do I set smart goals?
There is no limit on setting goals. That said, when you set goals, you should choose areas that are most important and relevant to your life currently.
One of the recommended ways to decide on goals is to divide them into three or four major categories.
The next step would be to identify and set goals for any or all of these.
- Business or career
- Personal development and growth
- Family and community
Need some inspiration – and help – writing your Goal Statement?
Explore examples, templates and 50+ prompts to help you define your goals.
Don’t miss out on achieving your aims – win with our Ultimate SMART Goals Handbook.
Who can benefit by setting SMART Goals in their professional life and does it really help?
You might be a professional or a student, or someone who has limited work experience, or a thriving business. A manager, freelancer, work at home Mom, SMART goal setting is a great way to forge ahead with your plans and new year resolutions!
A lot of successful professionals and Productivity experts highly recommend embracing some form of goal setting. This keeps you focused and accountable. It also keeps up the motivation – you don’t get discouraged because you’re not meeting any of your objectives.
What are the ways that you can write your smart goals?
A great way to articulate and document your SMART Goals is on a worksheet.
Break down your goal into each of the S-M-A-R-T prompts to make your goal very specific and actionable.
Once you develop the rhythm of writing the specific components of what you want to do, it becomes very easy to develop a rhythm for writing your final goal.
Goal setting is easy, when you now how!
Our SMART Goals Handbook comes with a Planner that can help you craft yours
Follow these steps to effectively write your Goals!
▶︎ Break down your Goals into individual or actionable components
➣ Identify the roadblocks
▶︎ Can you resolve them? Or do you need to work around them?
➣ Prioritize your Goals
▶︎ Rank order them by importance.
➣ Monitor Progress
If you’re struggling with how to formulate your Goals, a template can effectively guide you in answering your questions and even set goals the right way!
Examples of SMART Goals that you can apply to your business and personal growth
Let’s take an objective that you have and break it down smartly into a goal.
Aim: I want to to add more freelance clients
Specific – Sign up project and retainership contracts for design work
Measurable – Add 4 more clients
Attainable & Actionable – I will use direct marketing outreach and request referrals from 12 of my past clients.
Relevant – New clients will give me billable work and pipeline for future projects
Time-bound – Accomplish this by the end of the quarter
SMART Goal: I want to sign up project and retainership contracts for design work for 4 more clients with direct marketing outreach and request referrals from 12 of my past clients. This will give me billable work and pipeline for future projects and I want to accomplish this by the end of the quarter.
Need a SMART Goals template, with prompts and step-by-step illustrations to set Goals for your business?
Don’t miss our best-selling Ultimate SMART Goals Handbook!
Let’s explore more types of SMART Goal statements.
Examples of SMART Goals for Networking
🎯 I want to strengthen my LinkedIn Profile and grow my network and client base over the next 6 months. I will achieve this by adding at least 100 more quality connects, with systematic outreach (3-5 invites each week) to professionals in 6 of my target industries.
🎯 In the new year, I want to set up virtual meetings or discovery calls with 2 new clients every week. For this, I will send out at least 15 cold emails and 20 new connection requests on Linkedin.
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SMART Blogging Goals
🎯. In the next 30 days, I will write 2 new blog posts of 1500 words or more, to help sell my eBook. For this, I will research popular topics, SEO and keywords, and write outlines with a minimum of 6 pointers each.
🎯. I want to evaluate and refresh at least 2 previously published blog posts on my website per week. I will update old CTAs, add new internal links and add new keywords if required.
Examples of Goals in Marketing
You can write your goals for content creation, social media, lead conversion, customer acquisition, customer loyalty, SEO and so many more.
🎯 Our goal is to grow our email subscriber rate by 15% in the next 30 weeks, to help strengthen our sales funnel. We will achieve this by placing our subscription forms in 6 new web pages and add 2 new downloadable freebies.
🎯 I want to improve the ranking of our blog post Design a Small Business Website your Clients will Love for [xy, ab and cd] keywords by 10 points over the next 6 weeks. For this, I will optimize content by adding at least 10 new related keywords and re-index on Google & Bing.
Goals related to Social Media
🎯 My target is to increase my Twitter following to 2000 to build authority and click throughs to my website in the next 30 days by publishing 5 tweets per day, adding 8 high volume hashtags.
🎯 I want to strengthen my Linkedin profile by researching other similar profiles and job opportunities. For this, will identify the top 8-10 keywords in my niche and add them to my profile in the next week.
🎯 I want to monetize my influencer base by achieving a 7% engagement rate on my Instagram account, in 6 weeks. For this, I will research 20 high-focus hashtags and interact daily with 40 big accounts in my target niche.
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Get EVERYTHING that you need to Plan, Track, and Crush your Goals!
The Ultimate SMART Goals Handbook can work wonders!
Professional SMART Goals Examples
🎯. My goal is to complete writing my book consisting of 10-12 chapters in the next 100 days by writing and editing a chapter a week. This book will help me attract more clients for my coaching business.
🎯. I’m motivated to conquer my fear of public speaking to enhance my marketing and interaction skills by the end of the year. For this, I will complete 2 public speaking classes, practice with 2 FB lives and record 1 YouTube video each month.
Pro tip: Use the right adjectives and action words to make your goal more powerful and to motivate you to work towards success!
Examples of Leadership Goals
When it comes to Goals, you can opt for qualitative goals, provided they are specific in scope.
🎯. In the next 2 quarters, I will launch 3 morale boosting activities for my team with a target participation rate of 65% or more,
🎯. To build employee morale in my company, I will train 2-4 of my team members in 1 new self-development technique each month, using exercises and one-on-one sessions.
SMART Goals Examples for Personal Growth
🎯. Learning a new skill each quarter is my plan for this year. This will help me growing my business.
🎯. I will sign up for an SEO course to understand on-page and off page SEO in order to write better blogs. I will finish the course this week and then fix 2 blogs/week on my website.
🎯. My aim is to read at least one book for my business and brand each month. This will help me learn strategy and tactics from the experts.
🎯. I want to make the time to learn from podcasts and also get some steps in. I will listen to one business podcast every working day while taking a walk around my block, right after lunch.
🎯. My new year resolution is to be mindful of the hours I sit continuously in front of my computer. For that, I will put a reminder to do quick stretches at my desk, towards the last 5 minutes of every work hour and also take a quick walk if I can.
🎯. Setting aside 60 minutes each week for a wellness activity like yoga or nature walks, will enable me to be fitter and calmer.
🎯. I want to take deliberate steps towards a positive mindset this year. For that, I will begin journaling my challenges and action items each day for 5-7 minutes.
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These business freebies and tools and personal growth workbooks can equip you with the right tools to forge ahead.
Smart goal setting is one of the top challenges in business or personal development. A new year or not, SMART goals help with your resolutions all year long. A great way to embrace smart goals is by practice. Once you work towards setting goals systematically for each of your target areas, you get more adept at doing this smartly and with ease.
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’