Download our SMART goals template for Word and Google Docs to get you on track to construct meaningful goals within a defined framework. Each letter stands for an attribute that will help you refine your goal. The SMART acronym stands for; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. SMART goals don't just need to be work related; you can apply the same principles to set goals for anything you want to achieve in your life.
Let's break it down by each of the five SMART goal attributes.
What exactly do you want to achieve? Keep it concise - the clearer and more well-defined your goal is, the more powerful it will be. Aim for an action statement to inspire yourself. The other attributes will expand on the in-depth details you need.
Ask yourself: Is this goal too vague?
This can be the most important attribute. Your goal needs to be quantifiable so that you can measure it and know if you've completed the goal or not. Don't just say you need to improve - define it by how much.
Ask yourself: How will I know when I've reached my goal?
Tip: Break down your measurable attributes into smaller milestones. When tracking your goal progress you can check off the milestones along the way.
Your goal should be challenging but still attainable. Don't set your sights too low, but be realistic about what you can actually do in order to achieve your goals with the resources you have. Aim to stretch yourself so long as you think through clearly the obstacles you'll encounter along the way.
Ask yourself: What support will I need to achieve my goal?
Your goal needs to relate to your job role, the broader organizational needs, your other goals and your life priorities. For work goals, think about how your goal relates to and supports the team and department performance. Is this goal truly relevant to your job role or is it out of scope? Is it relevant to the progress you want to make in your life or is it unrealistic for where you currently are?
Ask yourself: Is this goal worthwhile?
You absolutely need to set a deadline. Time constraints and mean you have a clear time frame in which to work on your goal. Without a deadline your goal can drag on forever with plenty of excuses for not getting started yet. Once you hit the deadline, take time to reflect on the milestones you've achieved along the way and dig into where you might have gone off track and why.
Ask yourself: Can I achieve this goal in the timeframe I've set?
The process of constructing SMART goals is simple but powerful. Start by writing out the goal you have in mind, then refine it using the SMART attributes. You'll come out with a clear, concise goal that you can start working towards.
Tip: If you're setting goals for direct reports or team members, start with our guide to setting clear goals for your team.
Stick to working on just three goals in one cycle. If you have any more they're likely not as impactful as you think and they'll divide your focus. Make sure to prioritize! You can break your SMART goal metrics down into measurable milestones that act as sub-goals to keep you on track.
Once your SMART goal is defined, plan out three key action steps you'll need to take to make the objective happen. Start now! Getting started is the hardest step and you want to keep the momentum going.
As you progress with your goal you'll probably encounter obstacles along the way. Write these down and identify the support you think you'll need to overcome them. This way they don't become such a blocker and you can become aware of obstacles to future goals as well.
When you hit your target date, mark off whether you achieved your goal or not. Reflect on your goal achievement and celebrate the wins! Note down where you went off track and use it to learn when setting new goals going forward.
This SMART goals template in Google Docs will help you to refine your goal planning using the SMART methodology. You'll create an action plan to achieve your long term and short term goals, and use the same template to track your goals progress as you develop. You can reuse this template for as many goals as you'd like.
We have also added the SMART goals template to Word in case you want to use it as an offline resource.
Want to know more? Take a deep dive with our Essential Guide to SMART goals. It's full of helpful knowledge including 5 reasons to set milestones unsing SMART goals methodology, what the goals cycle should look like, tips on writing SMART goals, and what SMART goals mean for employees and managers.
Alternatively, read our article on performance goal examples that will help your professional and personal development in 2020.
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SMART goals for work are essential for individual development as well as the overall performance of an organization. The SMART goals methodology allows you to set clear goals for individuals as well as teams and achieve business growth.