SMART Goals - What They Are, How to Use, and Template

What are SMART goals? Setting goals is a good method to go where you want to go in your work. These goals help to determine how to apply your time and resources to create progress by defining targets and generating a clear roadmap for how you'll get there. It might be tough to figure out how to attain a specific job, promotion, or other milestone if you don't have any goals.

smart goals

When you establish a goal for yourself, make sure to include all of the steps required for achievement. You could utilize the SMART objectives framework to assist you. Here's how SMART goals operate, as well as some ideas and examples to help you with your goal-setting.

What are SMART goals?

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based is an acronym that stands for SMART. The SMART framework's elements work together to generate a goal that is well-planned, clear, and measurable.

You may have previously established objectives that were difficult to attain because they were too broad, aggressive, or poorly phrased. Working for an ill-defined objective might feel intimidating and impossible.

SMART objectives can aid in the resolution of these issues. When it comes to personal or professional objectives, the SMART goal framework may help you lay a solid basis for success.

Sometimes, the SMART acronym is referred to as Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based or time-bound. Relevant and time-bound are sometimes switched, though it's the same meaning. SMART is an acronym for these general sets of ideas.

S/Specific

Make sure you're as detailed as possible about what you intend to accomplish. The more specific your objective, the better you'll be able to comprehend the procedures required to attain it.

"I'd want to manage a development team for a fledgling software firm," for example.

SMART framework questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

M/Measurable

What proof will you have that you're getting closer to your goal?

If your objective is to manage a development team for a new software firm, for example, you may track your progress by the number of management jobs you've applied for and the number of interviews you've had.

Setting milestones along the road will allow you to re-evaluate and adjust your path as needed. Remember to reward yourself in tiny but meaningful ways when you reach your goals.

"I'll apply to three vacant roles as a manager of a development team at a tech company," for example.

SMART framework questions:

  • How much is it?
  • How many of there is it?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

A/Achievable

Have you set a goal that you can achieve? Setting objectives that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time can help you stay motivated and focused.

Using the case of leading a development team as an example, you should be aware of the qualifications, experience, and abilities required for a leadership position.

Before you start working toward a goal, consider if it's something you can attain right now or whether there are any further preparation measures you need take.

"I'll update my resume/CV with appropriate qualifications so that I may apply to three vacant positions as a manager of a development team at a tech company," for example.

SMART framework questions:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?

smart goals

R/Relevant

Consider whether or not your objectives are relevant while creating them for yourself. Each of your objectives should be in line with your values and long-term objectives. You should reconsider a goal if it does not add to your overall aims.

Consider why the goal is important to you, how attaining it will benefit you, and how it will help you achieve your long-term objectives.

“To reach my objective of becoming a leader, I will update my resume/CV with appropriate qualifications so that I may apply for three available positions as a manager of a development team at a tech startup,” for example.

SMART framework questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?
  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?
  • Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?

T/Time-based

When do you want to achieve your goal?

An end-date might help you stay motivated and prioritize your tasks. For example, if you want to get a promotion to a more senior job, you may set a six-month deadline for yourself.

If you haven't met your objective within that time range, think about why. Your deadline may have been unreasonable, you may have encountered unanticipated setbacks, or your objective may have been unattainable.

“To reach my objective of becoming a leader, I will update my resume/CV with appropriate qualifications so that I may apply to three available positions as a manager of a development team at a tech company this week,” for example.

SMART framework questions:

  • When should it be?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

Sometimes referred to as "time frame," too.

Why are SMART goals important?

The SMART goal framework establishes limits and outlines the actions you'll need to take, as well as the resources you'll need to get there and the milestones that will help you track your progress. You're more likely to reach your objective efficiently and effectively if you use SMART goals.

Here are some instances of how SMART objectives may help people in various situations:

  • John wants to change jobs, industries, and careers.
  • Lorenzo wants to be a sales manager. Though, doesn't know where to begin.
  • Toni wants to work in the healthcare field, and has no prior experience.

smart goals

How to set SMART goals

Here's how to use the SMART method to write and achieve the goal you set.

Setting SMART goals includes the following:

  1. Use precise language.
  2. Include goals that can be measured.
  3. Aim for objectives that are actually reachable.
  4. Choose goals that are relevant to your business.
  5. Include a timeline and deadline information to make goals time-bound.

Are your goals SMART? Learn how to write a SMART goals.

Precise language

When establishing SMART objectives, bear in mind that they are "particular" in the sense that the employee is attempting to attain a definite and fast endpoint. Because it isn't precise, "improve at my work" isn't a SMART objective. Ask yourself instead, "What are you growing better at?" How far do you wish to improve?

If you work in marketing, you're undoubtedly familiar with key performance indicators, or KPIs. As a result, you may pick a certain KPI or statistic to enhance, such as traffic, prospects, or customers. You should also identify the team members who are working on this objective, their resources, and their strategy.

Goals that can be measured

SMART objectives should be "measurable" in the sense that they can be tracked and quantified. Because you can't measure the growth, "increasing website traffic through email marketing" isn't a SMART objective by itself. Instead, consider the following question: How much email marketing traffic should you aim for?

If you want to track your team's success, quantify your objectives, such as increasing visits, leads, or customers by X percent.

Attainable objectives

A SMART objective that is "attainable" takes into account the employee's capacity to achieve it. Ascertain that the X-percentage-point rise is based on fact. Instead of aiming for a high 25% rise, if your blog traffic rose by 5% last month, aim for an increase of 8-10% this month.

smart goals

Otherwise, you could bite off more than you can chew if you don't build your goals on your own statistics rather than industry norms. So, to the SMART objective we set earlier in this blog article, let's add some "attainability."

Relevant goals

Relevant SMART objectives are those that connect to your company's overall business goals and take into consideration current industry trends. Will increasing your email traffic, for example, result in more revenue? Is it even feasible, given your existing email marketing strategies, to dramatically increase your blog's email traffic?

You'll be more likely to create objectives that help your organization rather than just you or your department if you're aware of these considerations.

A timeline and deadline

A SMART objective that is "time-bound" keeps you on track. It's fantastic to improve on a goal, but not if it takes too long. Setting deadlines for your objectives puts a fair amount of pressure on your team to meet them. This allows you to make steady and meaningful improvement over time.

For example, would you want to grow organic traffic by 5% per month, resulting in a 30-35 percent increase in six months? Or how about attempting to boost traffic by 15% with no deadline and accomplishing that target in the same amount of time? You're correct if you choose the first option.

smart goals

SMART goals template

Here is a project planning form/sheet to assist in setting the criteria to meet a specific goal or to set goals (long-term goals or short-term goals).

Specific:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?

Measurable:

  • How?
  • How much?
  • How little?

Attainable:

  • Is it reasonable?
  • Is it achievable?

Relevant:

  • What's the expected result?

Time-based:

  • When?
  • When should it be complete?

SMART goal examples

Below are examples of SMART goals.

Example one

Within three months after receiving my Bachelor of Science in Education, I will be hired as a high school English instructor.

  • Specific: Becoming a high school math teacher is a well stated objective.
  • Measurable: The amount of applications, interviews, and job offers may all be used to gauge success.
  • Achievable: The goal-setter will have the necessary education for the position.
  • Relevant: After earning an education degree, the goal setter intends to work in the education field.
  • Time-based: The goal setter has set a deadline of three months after graduation to fulfill their goal.

Pro tip: You're 42% more likely of achieving your goals when you write them down.

Example two

By completing the needed training courses in three months and applying for the position at the end of next quarter, I will be promoted to senior software engineer.

  • Specific: The goal setter has made it obvious that he or she wants to advance to the position of senior customer care representative.
  • Measurable: Success may be assessed by completing training courses, submitting an application, continuing education, and receiving a promotion.
  • Achievable: The goal setter will finish the appropriate training in order to be promoted.
  • Relevant: After completing their training courses, the goal setter intends to seek for a promotion.
  • Time-based: The goal-setter has set a deadline for completing their goal by the end of the next fiscal quarter.

Example three

It's possible to break down SMART goals into specifics, tied to each of the goal setting types:

  • Specific: By upgrading from a one-column form to a two-column website/form, I want our landing pages to generate more visitors and leads.
  • Measurable: My aim is to increase the engagement on our website by 10% or more.
  • Attainable: We observed that when we A/B tested our conventional one-column form/website vs a two-column form/website on our most-trafficked landing pages, two-column forms convert 13% better than our traditional one-column forms.
  • Relevant: We can close more customers and clients if we produce more form submissions.
  • Time-based: Within 6-months.

smart goals

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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