Every time I say “goals” the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is SMART goals. But nobody really knows how to set them, let alone what the acronym even stands for. All you need to get good at them, though, are some examples of SMART goals.
Here are just a few examples of SMART goals to get you started:
- Grow closer to your family by spending an hour of quality time together daily.
- Get a new job by applying to one each week.
- Lose one pound a week by exercising 30 minutes daily.
The usual pattern is “I will accomplish [result] within [time period] by [action steps] each [day or week].” This is an easy way to make all of your goals SMART, or specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Check out my article on lead and lag indicators you’ll understand that this pattern is actually “I will accomplish [lag indicator] within [time period] by doing [lead indicator] each [day or week].”
This makes your goals specific because it breaks your bigger goal down into weekly and daily action steps.
It’s then measurable because you can easily find out whether or not you completed your action steps and desired end result by asking yourself how you did.
These kinds of goals are attainable because they give you a clear pattern to follow and a way to determine if you need to adjust your plan to do more or less.
This system also makes sure you set realistic goals because you know how much you can accomplish within a day or week. It’s hard to aim too high when you’ve got these restraints.
And finally, your goals are time-bound with this method because “day” and “week” are time periods in which you’ll work toward and accomplish your goal!
How This Guide is Set Up
I’ve broken it up into three sections representing the main areas of life, giving five examples within each of these:
I’ll start with the goal, then highlight the words and phrases within each of them that identify how each goal fulfills the SMART requirements.
However, the “Realistic” and “Attainable” components both depend on your own limitations. Therefore, I’m not going to be including these components in each example. Instead, I will only show you how each example fulfills the “Specific,” “Measurable,” and “Time-Bound” pieces.
Making your goals measurable by using the words “week” and “day” is enough to tell you how attainable and realistic they are.
Track your progress to get a better idea of how you’re doing and whether you need to change them or not. If a goal is too challenging, don’t be afraid to lower your objectives to make it more attainable and realistic!
Also, you can tell how measurable your goals are by seeing whether or not your statement lets you ask the questions “did I do my action steps?” and “did I accomplish the end goal?” Notice the examples below all fulfill this.
Alright, now let’s dive right into these examples of SMART goals so you can see this system in action!
Examples of SMART Goals in Relationships
1. Become best friends with my 4-year-old son by taking him on hikes twice a week.
Specific- “hikes” & “become best friends”
Measurable- “hikes twice a week” & “become best friends”
- Note that the end result of “become best friends” is difficult to measure. This will always be the case with relationships because you can’t measure love and connection, and that’s okay! Just because something isn’t as measurable doesn’t mean it’s not important.
- You can still measure this by asking yourself the question “How has my relationship improved?” or something similar.
Time-Bound- “twice a week”
2. Deepen my relationship with my spouse by going on a date once a week.
Specific- “deepen my relationship with my spouse” & “date once a week”
Measurable- “going on a date once a week” & “deepen my relationship”
Time-Bound- “once a week”
3. Find a boyfriend/girlfriend in the next six months by going on dates once a week.
Specific- “boyfriend/girlfriend” & “dates”
Measurable- “find a boyfriend/girlfriend” & “once a week”
Time-Bound- “six months” & “once a week”
4. Find a better friend group this year by going to two social events on my list per week.
Specific- “better friend group” & “social event on my list”
- For the “list” part I mean looking up events around you or even online and compiling them all into one place so you have a specific place to go to identify the specific events you want to attend each week.
Measurable- “two social events per week” & “better friend group”
Time-Bound- “per week” & “this year”
5. Become more patient this quarter by reading books about it for 30 minutes every day.
Specific- “patient” & “reading”
Measurable- “become more patient” & “reading books for 30 minutes every day”
Time-Bound- “quarter” & “every day”
Examples of SMART Goals in Finances
6. Get a new job in the next six months by applying to one once a week.
Specific- “new job” & “applying once a week”
Measurable- “applying for a new job” & “ get a new job”
Time-Bound- “six months” & “once a week”
7. Save a $5,000 emergency fund in one year by budgeting and saving $100 each week.
Specific- “$5,000” & “Budgeting and saving”
Measurable- “save $5,000” & “budgeting and saving $100 each week”
Time-Bound- “one year” & “each week”
8. Double my income this quarter by getting one new client every 3 weeks.
Specific- “double my income this quarter” & “one new client every 3 weeks”
Measurable- “double my income” & “get one new client”
Time-Bound- “quarter” & “3 weeks”
9. Pay off all my debt in the next 24 months by paying off one credit card or loan every six months.
Specific- “pay off all my debt in 24 months” & “paying off one credit card every six months”
Measurable- “pay off all my debt” & “paying off one credit card”
Time-Bound- “24 months” & “six months”
10. Start a business in a year by saving $1,000 a month for one year and researching how to make money online for an hour each day.
Specific- “start a business” & “saving $1,000 a month”
Measurable- “start a business,” “$1,000 a month,” & “researching… an hour each day”
Time-Bound- “in a year” & “an hour each day”
Examples of SMART Goals in Health
11. Lose one pound a week by exercising 30 minutes a day.
Specific- “lose one pound a week” & “exercising 30 minutes a day”
Measurable- “lose one pound” & “exercising 30 minutes”
Time-Bound- “week,” “day,” & “minutes”
12. Run a 10k at the end of 12 weeks by following a training plan for 30 minutes a day.
Specific- “10k at the end of 12 weeks” & “training plan for 30 minutes a day”
Measurable- “run a 10k” & “following a training plan”
Time-Bound- “12 weeks” & “a day”
13. Get better sleep this month by shutting all devices off at 9 pm each night and waking up at 6:30 am every day.
Specific- “get better sleep this month,” “devices,” & “waking up at 6:30am”
Measurable- “get better sleep,” “shutting all devices off,” & “waking up at 6:30 am”
Time-Bound- “this month,” “9 pm,” “6:30 am,” & “every day”
14. Improve my overall health this year by only eating until I’m 80% full at every meal.
Specific- “overall health” & “80% full at every meal”
Measurable- “improve my overall health” & “eating until 80% full”
Time-Bound- “this year” & “every meal”
15. Improve my mental health this quarter by meditating for 30 minutes every day.
Specific- “mental health” & “meditating”
Measurable- “Improve my mental health” & “meditating for 30 minutes”
Time-Bound- “quarter” & “every day”
Remember, the usual pattern for creating SMART goals that will truly change your life looks like this:
“I will accomplish [result] within [time period] by [action steps] each [day or week].”
But why should you care about SMART goals? Because when you’re specific and set goals that stretch you but that you can measure within certain time periods, you’re more likely to accomplish them.
And whether you realize it or not, you want to achieve your goals because you want a better life. You want to be closer to your family and friends, obtain financial freedom and a job that you love, and have a healthy body and mind.
Making your goals SMART so you can change your life isn’t always fun. But I hope that by sharing these examples of SMART goals I’ve helped inspire you to see how it can be a little easier.