In this article, we will dive into multiple SMART goals examples.
Some are detailed and help you work through the process of figuring out your goals. Others are less detailed but are examples of what a SMART goal may look like.
As a reminder, the SMART Goal framework is meant to help you write more effective goals.
It helps by making each letter stand for something that helps make your goal more effective (though not everything).
(To learn more about smart goals, the basics, how we often do them wrong, and tips to do them right, check out our article here).
M – Measurable
A – Attainable/Achievable
R – Relevant/Realistic
T – Time-based
Let’s dive into some SMART goal examples.
Kennedy and shooting for the moon – A SMART – and stretch – goal example
Kennedy’s goal to put a man on the moon is a great example of what a SMART goal should look like ( though it can also be considered a stretch goal).
Let’s check it out:
“I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
Let’s go through the SMART framework:
Specific – Is it specific?
Yes. Put a man on the moon and back safely is specific.
Measurable – Is it measurable?
Yes. You know you accomplished it if they got to the moon and back safely.
Attainable– Is it attainable?
In Kennedy’s eyes, yes. In others, maybe not. That’s why it can also be considered a stretch goal – reaching for the “impossible”. But often the impossible is attainable when we believe it possible.
Relevant – Is it relevant?
Yes, it was relevant to the times and to the mission of NASA.
Time-based – Did it have a deadline?
Yes, the deadline was the end of the decade.
What else made the goal work so well?
It was attainable, though challenging.
It pushed them forward. It was inspiring. It was motivating. It was ambitious.
And they lived up to the challenge.
It was also focused.
They weren’t aiming at 50 different goals – they had one – get a man to the moon and back safely.
There was passion toward the goal.
It was something they could easily get passionate about. If the goal was for NASA to study crop rotations, there would not have been much if any passion toward it.
It was also relatively short and concise.
There wasn’t a lot of fluff. He didn’t add strategies and plans or make it corporate-ese. It was relatively concise.
And because it was concise, it was more inspiring. Long written goals aren’t inspiring. Corporate-ese speak also hurts any inspiration.
Sure they had strategies and plans and such. They were written elsewhere – but if they stuck that in the goal, it would have ruined it.
Do you see how effective the goal is? And guess what happened. We got to the moon – and back – safely.
SMART Goals examples for increasing enrollment at a college
Let’s say you are over the enrollment at a college. You want to increase enrollment. You currently average about 4,000 students in the fall, and you want to increase it to 4,500 next fall.
How would you do that?
First, let’s write out our main goal – Increase fall enrollment by 500 students next Fall.
Is it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based? Yes to specific, measurable, relevant and time-based for sure.
Is it attainable? Remember, it’s good to challenge and stretch yourself but do something that is realistically possible (can’t run a marathon in a week if haven’t exercised in a year).
Is it attainable for the college, for you? Possibly (and possible is okay – it’s okay to try and fail). Does it stretch and challenge? There’s a good chance it does, depending on what the average growth (if any) is.
So you have your main goal:
Increase fall enrollment by 500 students next fall.
You have your first goal. You next steps are to strategize how you are going to do that and put a plan in place. One way to do that is through sub-goals.
Remember, if you’ve been averaging 4000 students for the past few years, to get something different, you will likely have to do something different.
Here some sample sub-goals:
- Increase social media advertising by 40% by January 1st.
- Increase the number of school visits by 10 per recruiter per quarter by October.
- Increase twitter following to 10000 by February 1.
This list is, of course, not fully inclusive of all you could do. The principle, however, is you set your main goal and then can set sub-goals that, if done, will help you attain your main goal.
Your main goal can be a SMART goal that’s challenging or even a stretch goal.
SMART Goals Examples for Improving Relationships
Let’s look at some SMART goals examples on how you can improve your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
Saying “I want to improve my relationship” doesn’t mean much.
What do you mean by improve? How will you get there?
And then, the question is, how do you rate the level your relationship is at?
In situations like these, it often can be useful to set goals based on the activities that you do for a better relationship (or whatever the topic).
What are some aspects of an effective relationship?
- Working through problems constructively
- Spending time together and having fun together
- Putting the relationship and the other person above yourself (don’t mean being a martyr, however)
So how could you write some goals based off those? Now, most of these will be activity based with a time set per week, not necessarily a deadline. However, you can attach a deadline, for example, say for 5 weeks. Then try to achieve the times per week for the 5 weeks and celebrate when you make it.
- Before bedtime, spend at least 15 minutes each night listening to each other talk about their day. If work schedule is crazy, could also add something like on at least 4 nights a week.
- Have a weekly couple’s meeting to talk about issues every Wednesday after the kids go to bed.
- Go on at least one date every week (or every Thursday to be more specific).
- Read at least 4 books this year on being a better spouse.
- Attend 2 marriage conferences by the end of next June.
- Find at least 3 things my spouse hates doing and do it for them at least once every week
You get the idea. Improving your communication can improve your relationship, so you set a goal on improving your communication.
SMART Goals examples for your career
More than likely, you want to grow your career. What are some examples of SMART goals for that?
They can include where you want to go and improving your general work performance.
- Become manager of the marketing department by 2022.
- Delegate half of my non-essential work (the 80% of my 80/20) by the end of the quarter.
- Read at least 1 book a month this year in my field.
- Blog 2X a month about topics in my field every month this year on LinkedIn/personal site.
- Meet with mentor/coach/successful person I want to be like at least once a month each month this year.
- Attend at least two networking functions each month this year.
- Become certified in X by June of this year.
- Give at least 2 speeches at work or civic groups this quarter.
- Increase commission this year by 20%.
- Increase salary by $20,000 this year.
- Volunteer at least 1x a month every month this year.
SMART Goals examples for your work
One’s goals will depend on one’s job or one’s particular business, but here are some examples you can model after:
- Increase revenue by 20% by October 1.
- Lower customer complaints by 10% by January 31st.
- Increase customer retention by 15% by June 11th.
- Increase 5-star customer ratings to 95% by October 11th.
- Decrease company turnover by 20% by end of year.
- Increase training hours for each employee by 10 hours per quarter this year.
- Increase FAQ questions on the site by 50 by end of quarter.
- Improve factory output by 5% by March 31st.
- Finish X project 10% under budget.
- Increase product awareness on the West Coast by 10% by November 1st.
- Finish and edit financial reports before next week’s meeting.
- Increase typing speed by 10 words by the end of the month.
SMART Goals examples for your health
Here are some sample SMART goals for your health. Remember, you would need to then plan or build a strategy for your goal and, depending what it is, you may want to do sub-goals.
- Walk three miles every morning before work for the next month.
- Lose 30 pounds by June 11.
- Eat 6 more servings of vegetables and 4 more servings of fruit a day for the next month.
- Increase bench-press by 50 pounds by October.
- Attend yoga class 3x a week every week this quarter.
- Wake up 30 minutes earlier every day to stretch/whatever this month.
SMART Goals examples for family
Just as with relationships, you likely want to set goals for your whole family and family life. Here are some examples:
- Be on time 7/10 times over the next two weeks.
- Have family dinner time 4/7 nights each week this month.
- Have clothes set out the night before every night this week.
- Have a family game night at least 1x each month this year.
- Each person read at least 30 minutes a day 4x a week.
Hopefully some of these goals helped spur your creativity in writing your goals.
But let me give you one more, very important, step.
Making up these goals means nothing if you don’t take action. Many people set goals and never do anything toward them.
Don’t be like that.
For many of these goals, you will need to plan it out. What steps will you need to take to make your goal happen?
Then, start working your plan, even if you just only know the next step.
Take. Action. Immediately. Toward. Your. Goal.
Otherwise, it may just turn into another wish that never happened.
Now to you: What are your thoughts. Do you have any other examples? Any other areas where you would like some samples?