SMART Goals: Template and Examples

Find the easy way to write Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely - SMART goals.

SMART goals are crucial to setting, managing, and achieving our objectives, whether in business or personal life. They provide a clear path with concrete steps to follow.

By being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound, they help to prevent vague or abstract goals and instead encourage us to develop well-defined objectives that we can work towards in a structured way.

What are SMART Goals?

SMART goals describe a specific method for goal setting. The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These criteria are designed to ensure that goals are clear, reachable, and trackable.

What is each of the letters of the SMART acronym stand for?

The acronym stands for S-Specific, M-Measurable, A-Achievable, R-Realistic, and T-Time-bound. Let's look in a more detailed way at each one of the components:


Goals should be written with clarity to indicate what you intend to do.


Goals should be qualifiable so that you have actual data that you have met your objectives.


Goals should be attainable; they should stretch you little enough that you feel challenged but are well-defined enough for you to achieve them.


Goals must be achievable and realistic with available resources.


Goals should have a well-defined schedule, including a start and finish date.

Benefits of SMART Goals

The benefits of SMART goals are obvious for someone who is using them often. In a simple way, you switch from vague to brilliant. However, the results will be very impressive for someone new that implements SMART goals in their day-to-day activities. Take a simple example. 

  • Not-so-smart goal: Keep our social media accounts updated. 
  • SMART goal: Update our Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts 3 times per week with Stories, Stats, and Best Practices about our industry. I will ask our team managers to provide fresh content every Friday for the next 3 months. 

In this way, because of implementing smart goals in your workflow, you will leverage the following benefits:

  • Clarity: They provide a clear understanding of the steps needed to achieve the goal.
  • Trackability: They are measurable, allowing you to check your progress.
  • Achievability: They are realistic and attainable, preventing discouragement.
  • Focus: They provide direction, helping to keep you focused on the end goal.
  • Motivation: Achieving each step can build momentum and increase motivation.

How to write SMART Goals?

When your manager asked to submit your quarterly goals to your performance tracking platform, he referred to submitting SMART goals. We have some questions to help you make your goals address each of the 5 letters of the acronym.

1. Write the initial Goal

Write your initial goal in a basic way. Don't worry about it not being fully SMART; we will cover these details in the next section.

2. Make the goal Specific

The goal should be unambiguous. It should explicitly state what is to be accomplished.

You will address this component by answering these questions:

  • What exactly do I want to achieve? 
  • Why? 
  • Who is involved? 
  • Where is it located?

Other experts highlight that within the specific section, you're answering the five Ws questions: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

3. Make the goal Measurable

The goal should have concrete specifications for measuring progress and determining when it has been met.

Essential questions to help you quantify your goal: 

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

4. Make the goal Achievable

Given available resources, knowledge, and time, the goal should be challenging yet achievable.

To make a goal achievable, answer these questions:

  • How can I accomplish this goal? 
  • What are the logical steps I should take?

5. Make the goal Realistic

The goal should be realistic and aligned with overall objectives. It should stretch abilities but provide a reasonable expectation of achievement.

Reflect on the following question:

-    Given the resources and constraints, can I realistically achieve this goal?

-    Why do I setup this goal now?

6. Make the goal Time-bound

The goal should have a specific timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency. Deadlines help focus efforts.

Ask yourself these questions to make the goal timely:

  • When? 
  • What can I do today?
  • What can I do in the next 7 days? 
  • What can I do six weeks/months from now? 

In summary, SMART goals are clearly defined, have quantifiable measures, are possible but challenging, relevant to broader aims, and are bounded by time constraints. Following the SMART framework helps create effective, meaningful goals with a higher chance of successful completion.

Tip: We expand on how to set goals with a 7-step framework that you can use if you want to be more efficient.

SMART Goals Template

We are fans of templates and like to have one for setting goals. In this one, we have one section for each of the 5 SMART components and the questions that will help you professionally address the primary goal. We have shared a Word version and a printable PDF that you can download free of charge.

Goal ComponentQuestions
SpecificWhat exactly do I want to achieve? Why? Who is involved? Where is it located?
MeasurableHow much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
AchievableHow can I accomplish this goal? What are the logical steps I should take?
RealisticGiven the resources and constraints, can I realistically achieve this goal?
Time-boundWhen? What can I do today? What can I do in the next seven days? What can I do six weeks/months from now?

Download our worksheet to help you define your SMART goals PDF version

SMART Goals Examples

Here are 10 examples across different departments and types of organizations:

SMART Goals for Marketing Teams

GoalIncrease website traffic by 25% over the next quarter.
SpecificIncrease the number of unique visitors to our website.
MeasurableAchieve a 25% increase in traffic.
AchievableThrough SEO optimization and targeted ad campaigns.
RealisticThe increase in budget to the add campaigns will lead to more traffic.
Time-boundAchieve this over the next quarter.

SMART Goals for Sales Teams

GoalBoost sales revenue by 15% in the next six months.
SpecificIncrease sales revenue.
MeasurableAchieve a 15% increase in traffic.
AchievableBy introducing new sales strategies and improving sales team training.
RealisticThe goal is according in line with the annual sales growth.
Time-boundAchieve this in the next six months

SMART Goals for Customer Development Teams

GoalIncrease customer retention rate by 15% in the next two quarters.
SpecificIncrease customer retention rate.
MeasurableAchieve a 10% increase.
AchievableBy improving product/service quality and customer service.
RealisticThe increase from 10% to 15% is realistic.
Time-boundAchieve this in the next six months

SMART Goals for Product Teams

GoalLaunch a new product feature by Q3 that improves user retention by 10%.
SpecificDevelop and launch a new product feature that has the highest priority in the roadmap.
MeasurableImprove user retention by 10%.
AchievableBased on user feedback and analysis.
RealisticThe feature is not an addition to the current product, and there is enaugh manpower to focus on the goal.
Time-boundComplete by end of Q3.

SMART Goals for HR Teams

GoalReduce employee turnover rate by 20% over the next year.
SpecificDecrease employee turnover rate.
MeasurableAchieve a 20% reduction.
AchievableBy improving employee engagement and satisfaction.
RealisticIn the next 365 days a series of changes will be implemented, basedo on the results of the employee surveys, and leadership support.
Time-boundAchieve this goal over the next year.

Discover addional SMART Goals for HR

SMART Goals for Customer Support Teams

GoalImprove customer satisfaction score to 85% over the next quarter.
SpecificIncrease customer satisfaction score.
MeasurableAchieve a score of 85%.
AchievableBy enhancing support training and implementing customer feedback.
RealisticIncreasing from 80% to 85% with support from the developers is achievable.
Time-boundAchieve this over the next quarter.

SMART Goals for Startups

GoalSecure $2M in Series A funding in the next 12 months.
SpecificObtain Series A funding by meeting with 100 investors interested about our industry, stage and geography
MeasurableSecure $2M.
AchievableThrough effective business, financial planning and networking.
RealisticGrowth metrics of our company are similar to other companies in the industry that already raised series A.
Time-boundAchieve this in the next 12 months.

SMART Goals for Non-Profits and Charities

GoalRaise $500,000 in donations for our annual campaign by year's end.
SpecificIncrease fundraising for our annual campaign.
MeasurableReach $500,000 in donations.
AchievableThrough a strategic fundraising campaign.
RealisticBy engaging new donnors to our fundraising campaign we will be able to deliver our annual program.
Time-boundAchieve this by the end of the year.

Tip: If you're interested in additional smart goals for work, we expand on this topic and provide you with 10 additional professional goals you can use within your business.

SMART Goals Tips

If you have written your goals in the SMART way, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, 80% of the job is already done, however, if you want to be an expert at working with SMART goals, review these tips:

  • Create your list of goals. A good list should have 5-7 goals. If you make a longer list, you might feel they are impossible to realize
  • Share your goals with your manager and coworkers. They can tell you if you're too ambitious or easygoing with your objectives. Additionally, they might tell you what obstacles you might encounter and how to overcome them. Sharing goals builds accountability and support.
  • Write goals down. Documenting goals cements your commitment and allows you to revisit and revise them.
  • Use goal-setting platforms. You might use a goal-tracking platform to list all your goals and collaborate with your colleagues. 
  • Review and adjust goals regularly. If you see your goal list daily/weekly, you will identify where you stand, and if you're using it for work-related purposes, know if you're advancing or if something is blocking progress. Update goals to reflect changing priorities and circumstances.
  • Break big goals into smaller steps. Steps that are achievable in the short term will add up to big accomplishments.
  • Prioritize goals. Focusing on one or two critical goals at a time increases your chance of success.
  • Reward progress and achievement. Celebrate milestones to goals as well as attaining the final goal.


What Does SMARTER Goals Mean?

SMARTER is an extended version of the SMART goal-setting strategy. The additional "E" stands for "Evaluate," reminding us to check on the progress of our goals regularly and adjust if necessary. The "R" stands for "Relevant," i.e., your goal should be consistent with your overall goals and beliefs.

What is the Origin of SMART Goals?

The acronym SMART was originally used in November 1981 in a paper by George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, published in Management Review. The paper, titled "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives," discusses the difficulty of setting objectives and offers the SMART criteria as a solution.

Download the S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives essay

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