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4 SMART Goal Examples

SMART-goal-examples

This article is meant to help you understand SMART goals and how to use them. By giving plenty of examples along the way, you can use this goal making tool to your advantage and achieve all your personal and professional goals. You may have heard the acronym SMART goals by now, and you may be wondering what it means and how to use this tool to up your goal setting game.

  1. Professional Goals
  2. Fun Personal Goals
  3. Serious Personal Goals
  4. Financial Goals

What are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART is a mnemonic device that is meant to help you create “smarter” goals. The 5 elements of a SMART goal are the 5 key characteristics of an effective goal that you can actually achieve. So you want the goals you make to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Specific

To make your goals specific enough, you want to answer the key “W” questions, who, what, when, where, why? You want to decide your goal and describe it in as much detail as possible. The key is to have a clearly defined picture of your goal in your mind, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Ask who, what, where, and any other details?

Measurable

Making your goal measurable is mainly making it so you have a measurable outcome to work toward, so you’ll know for certain when you are successful or not. So instead of just wanting to lose weight, figure out how many pounds you want to lose. If you want more Instagram followers, think about how many more followers you want. What you can measure is going to be different for each goal, but there is always something you can measure. Maybe you want to be happier, what are some measurable things you can keep track of that will show whether your plans are working? Maybe you can measure how many hours of sleep you get each night to see if you’re getting your full 8 hours each night, or record in a mood journal how you feel at certain times of the day for a couple weeks to try and find patterns.

Ask how?

Attainable

Just like when dealing with your finances you’ll want to determine whether the ROI is worth it. Each goal is going to take time and resources. Are they going to yield worth while results? Is the effort your goal would require doable? Maybe you want to run a marathon but you’ve never run before, so perhaps a better goal to start with would be to run 20 minutes every day. Sometimes you need to take your vision down a bit for a goal that you are actually able to do right now in your life.

What’s the level of attainability?

Relevant

Sometimes we feel pressured by our surroundings to make certain goals. Maybe your parents want you to be a doctor, but you want to be an English teacher. Maybe the people around you make you feel like you need to make intense dieting and weight goals to buff up or slim down, but you’re actually at a healthy bmi(link to how to gain weight on a budget post). Goals take time and effort, they come with their own costs, so above all your goals have to be made for you, by you. So when making a goal ask yourself what your motives are and make sure they’re good, worth it, will actually yield the results you desire.

Ask why?

Time-Bound

Time needs to be a major element in any goal you make. You need to create a plan that aligns with calendar dates and deadlines. Having a due date helps us stay focused, motivated, and kick us into action. Remember that it is here where you can bog yourself down if you’re not careful, so be flexible and plan smartly so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t be afraid to adjust when you need to, sometimes learning your limits and what works best for you takes some trial and error.

Ask when?

SMART Goal Examples

There are different elements that make up our lives and thus there are different kinds of goals we can make for each aspect of our lives. There are the more formal, professional, and serious goals we need to make, and then there are personal and fun goals we want to make. Make goals for your more professional and serious successes, but set goals for yourself as well. Below are some key goal categories to remember:

1. Professional Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to wake up earlier for work each morning.

Measurable: (ask how) You record on a chart beside your bed every night you manage to go to bed at 10:30 pm. On a similar chart beside the door you mark each morning you are able to leave your house for work at 7:30 am.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) Instead of making a goal to get to work by 7 each morning, you’ve started with a goal to get to work by 8 each morning, because you know working toward this goal is more feasible for you right now.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant for you because going to work earlier will allow you to leave earlier in the day, giving you more time for other goals and endeavors outside of work.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You’ve set alarms on your phone to remind you when to get ready for bed, and when to wake up and get ready for the day. You’ve decided to give yourself a month to get into this routine, and if you are successful, you’ll reward yourself to a Friday movie night with friends.
 
professional-goals
 

2. Fun Personal Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to make more friends in college.

Measurable: (ask how) You plan social events to go to every weekend this month and decide you have to stay at each for at least a full hour, and must talk to at least 3 people you don’t know. You record the events, how long you stayed, and who you befriended in your journal after each weekend.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) You know you can attain this goal because there are social events you know you’ll be able to go to, and you have a roommate who is very social land willing to go with you to each event.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant to you because you’re a freshman in college and want to make friends in this new phase of your life. You know your overall wellbeing and happiness will increase by reaching this goal.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You have this month to enact your plan before reevaluating all the new people you met, and continuing with your goal by inviting some of those people to a social event at your own apartment at the beginning of the following month.
 
fun personal goals
 

3. Serious Personal Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to lose 10 pounds.

Measurable: (ask how) You’ll weigh yourself on a scale and record your weight progress on a chart.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) This goal is attainable because you’ve spoken with your doctor and it is ok for you to lose 10 pounds. You also have a dietary and exercise plan that should yield results over time.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant to you because losing 10 pounds will put you at a healthier weight, give you more energy, and build your confidence.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You schedule regular weigh-in dates for the following weeks to come, and estimate that you should reach your weight loss goal in time for the beginning of summer.
 
serious personal goals
 

4. Financial Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to decrease your debts.

Measurable: (ask how) You know how much overall debt you have, and after sitting down with your budget you can reorganize your spending so you know exactly how much you can spend on debts and other spending each month. This will also tell you exactly how long it will take for you to pay it all off. You can keep a record of when you successfully make each payment, and visually see yourself getting closer to paying all of it.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) You can know the attainability of this goal by how well you budget for spending more on debts and less on other varied expenses. If you ever need help reaching your financial goals and getting back on track you can take out a personal loan at Check City.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant because you have debt to get rid of, and getting rid of debt will free you to spend more on other things and save for the future.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You have a due date for your bills each month and by keeping on track with these monthly dates, you stay on track to finish paying off your debt in the months you’ve given yourself.
 
financial goals
 

Document Your Goals

In order to make sure your goals follow the SMART goal rules, it may help to record them on a chart or utilize a goal setting app. There are countless goal setting apps out there to help you track your habits and reach your aspirations. Here are some of the best goal setting apps for making SMART goals:

smart-goal-chart-printable
 
In some ways, goals are how we live our lives. It’s how we make decisions and enact change. Understanding the 5 key characteristics of SMART goal-making can help you level up in your personal and professional life, and more effectively plan for success. As a great artist once said:
 
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

—Pablo Picasso



READ MORE
Read the section on SMART goals from YourCoach.
 
Read another Check City article about goal making by reading, “How to Set Goals.”

How to Set Goals

setting-goals

We all make goals and we make them for many reasons. They can help us be productive in both our personal and professional lives. But if you don’t know the key aspects of goal making than your efforts can seem pointless. By taking into mind the following key components of goal setting, you can successfully accomplish all your goals.

  1. Make the Main Goal
  2. Find the Goal’s Purpose
  3. Make a Detailed Plan
  4. Measure the Results
  5. Reward Yourself

Why Make Goals?

Goals are how you decide to do something and the plan you take to achieve it. Goals consist of long term and short term goals. Sometimes your goal is a big picture, far in the future kind of goal, and other times your goal is closer to the present. Sometimes long term and short term goals can be seen as main goals and sub goals that lead you to your ultimate goal.
For instance, maybe you want to start a successful business, having a successful business would be your long term or ultimate goal. All of the tasks and accomplishments that are necessary for you to get to your ultimate goal are the short term goals or subtasks or steps necessary to achieve the main objective. One of those short term goals might be getting the papers for your business in order.
inspirational-quote-goals

Different Kinds of Goals

Goals don’t just have to be professional. You can make fun goals too! There are lots of formal, professional, and serious goals we need to make throughout our lives, but there are personal and fun goals we can be making along the way as well. Make goals for your more professional and serious successes, but set goals for yourself as well, like to get out every Friday, or to save up for a vacation this summer. You’ll also want to be making financial goals, like to save up for a new car, or spend less on entertainment this month. If you ever need help reaching your financial goals and getting back on track you can take out a personal loan at Check City.

  • Professional Goals (goals about work, or your own professional endeavors, hobbies, or talents)
  • Fun Personal Goals (goal to save up for vacation this summer)
  • Serious Personal Goals (goals to better your physical or mental health)
  • Financial Goals

What are SMART Goals?

SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It is an acronym that describes the kind of goals you want to make. You want the goals you make to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
 
Don’t just make a blanket goal to lose weight, make a specific goal to lose 10 pounds.
Utilize a scale to measure your progress.
Plan to achieve your goal by formulating a new plan for your meals and exercise.
Make a plan to lose weight because this goal is relevant to your life, and will give you tangible health benefits.
Give yourself a timeline by planning dates for weigh-ins, with specific weight goals for each weigh-in date.

1. Make the Main Goal

Don’t have too many goals at one time. This may be difficult if you are creating a business, but that is why hiring dependable employees and delegating effectively and communicating well with each other is so important, especially in the beginning. If any one person in your project has too many goals they need to achieve they can have trouble focusing and end up not accomplishing anything very well. So delegate goals so that each person can have the most focus possible for their manageable set of goals. That way, each goal gets accomplished on time, and in the best way, done all the way and not incomplete or done poorly.

2. Find the Goal’s Purpose

Every goal needs a clear sense of purpose. You need to have a specific objective in order to effectively motivate yourself to achieve this goal. Yes you may want to have a successful business but why? Think about your reasons and write these down. Many successful businesses today made it big because they had a clear motivation behind all they do, and a lot of them end up sharing this in their company’s origination stories or in their company motto.

3. Make a Detailed Plan

When planning your goals you’ll want to list out a series of steps or subtasks, or sub-goals that are going to get you to your main goal. You want these steps to be very specific things you can really do. Be detailed so nothing important falls by the wayside. For instance, only saying “make print ads” may not be helpful. You also need to plan out how you’re going to make them, when they are due, and where they’re going to get posted, and who is in charge of getting the permissions to post them at each location. Right all these things out, plan out the times, the places, and the people involved.

4. Measure the Results

Keep track of how you’re doing. If the steps you have in your plan aren’t giving measurable results than you can change your plan.

5. Reward Yourself

Sometimes an extra motivator or benefit is helpful when reaching your goals. In life we always like to have good things to look forward to, so feel free to reward yourself when you reach your goals. There are many healthy ways you can reward yourself. You can reward yourself with food, like a celebratory dinner, or a favorite dessert. You can also reward yourself by going shopping and buying yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Activities like fun outings, a movie or spa night, can also be great ways to reward yourself for achieving something.
 
goal-chart-printable

Create a Goal Workspace

It can also help to have a place where you write all these things down. Some even find it helpful to hang up your planned goals where you can see them every day. It can also help to place your plans in the most relevant place. For example, if your goal is about losing weight it would make sense to keep your goal chart in the kitchen, or near your treadmill. If your goal is about work then you’ll want to keep your goal chart in your workspace.

  • Put your goals on a calendar. With a calendar you can easily outline the dates of your plan.
  • Put your goals on a template, or chart. With a chart you can keep track of your progress levels and check off items once you’ve finished sub-goals.
  • Use an app. There are countless apps out there to help you track your habits and reach your aspirations. Here are some of the best goal setting apps:

Daylio is a great app for journaling and tracking your moods. It is also one of the most customizable apps, and allows you to track anything you want. It has a pleasing design, icons, and color palettes.
Loop is another great app for tracking. With Loop you can easily see all your goals and their progress in one place.
ATracker has some nice calendar and task features.
TickTick is a great goal app for groups or partners. You can sync and share tasks and goals with other people. There’s also a function to help you focus on certain tasks.
 
In some ways, goals are how we live our lives. It’s how we make decisions and enact change. Knowing how to properly set goals can help you level up in your personal and professional life. As Les Brown once said, “Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.”


READ MORE
Learn more about setting goals by reading, “How to Set Goals the Easy Way.”
 
Read more about SMART goals and how this acronym applies to your personal life by reading, “Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.”

Preparing Your Financial New Years Resolution

It’s that time of the year again when the calendar psyches you into a sense of renewal, fresh starts, and a future of success! If you struggled financially last year, start this new one off right! Create your own, simple, doable, Financial New Year’s Resolution and look forward to a bright new year!

Baby Steps

We all know that New Year’s Resolutions tend to fizzle after just a few weeks. Unexpected things happen, we are busier than we expected, our resolve is weaker than we expected… Don’t let this happen to you this year! By taking baby steps towards progression, you won’t burn out as soon as people who try to change their world overnight. You might even want to come up with a twelve-step New Year’s Resolution – a baby step for each upcoming month of the year. (Make a January Resolution, a February Resolution, etc.)

Budgeting

Take some of your vacation time to sit down and work out a doable budget. Look back at the previous year and see where you went into the whole, how you could have avoided it, and what unnecessary expenses you had. What could you do differently? Start with minor changes (unless you’ve got a rock solid resolve) and plan to improve little by little each month. (Remember, baby steps!) So, for example, if you tend to eat out too much, just cut down your weekly trips by one or two trips per week. Each month wean yourself off a little more, and before you know it, you’ve conquered your problem!

Smart Shopping

Recognize that a lot of money goes down the drain because of careless shopping. Take the time to look through grocery ads. Price match at stores that will let you. Use coupons. Look for sales. Buy off-brand items. (Sometimes off-brand is actually better!) It will take patience and practice. But if you can learn to shop smart, you’ll be amazed by how much money you can save.

Cut the Truly Unnecessary

Let’s face it. There are some truly useless things that we buy or spend money on that you simply need to cut out. Your little puppy-dog does not need a new outfit every month. You do not need a pint of ice cream with every meal. You do not need a zombie apocalypse protection kit. Just stop it now.

Get Help

When it comes to things as intangible as personal resolve, you may need some moral support. Make a deal with your spouse, a friend, neighbor, or roommate. Let them punish you if you mess up. Let them reward you when you do well. Make them your shopping-help hotline if you ever feel temped to make a debatably unnecessary purchase. You can also turn to your bank for advice. The professionals there can help you better understand finance, budgeting, and money management.

Let this New Year, be a truly brighter one! Have confidence that you can and will work through your financial problems and enjoy a richer future!

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