GenTwenty

15 Practical Goal Statement Examples and How to Write Them

By: Author Candice Zhang

Posted on Last updated: February 2, 2024

Categories Career , Goals , Self Development

It’s the start of a new year, which often means new beginnings. With that said, many of us decide to set goals known as ‘resolutions.’ However, goals can come in other forms as well, with one of them being a goal statement.

Instead of setting a new habit, writing a goal statement allows us to pinpoint the ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ of our lives. This allows us to see how we can make the change from our current self to our future self. If we want a better job or a promotion, we can be sure to write this goal down as a sentence, track it, and work towards it. 

Now, you surely have heard of a mission statement and they are typically associated with businesses. So, you may be wondering; “What exactly is a goal statement?” 

What is a Goal Statement? 

Whenever you thought of a personal goal, you probably would have written it down Then over time, kept track of it, and continued to manifest results. You probably thought of something that you really wanted to achieve, and decided that the outcome would be worth it.

So, you decided to work hard towards the goal, regardless of any obstacles or situations that may arise. But in the end, the goals that many of us write in our notebooks are usually results-oriented.

We typically think of the end picture and write what we want to happen, kind of like a vision statement. But we rarely break these goals down into steps and we rarely describe why we want to achieve such goals. 

Goal Statements and How to Write Them

However, writing a goal statement will solve all of those issues. Instead of outlining the specific results, the goal statement will allow us to analyze why we want to achieve the goal and how we will achieve it. This makes it action and process-oriented. 

Whenever we are feeling devastated and hopeless, we can read our goal statement for some motivation. Plus, we can also add this statement on our cover letter and resume. 

The Benefits of Writing a Goal Statement 

Goal statements do come in handy when needed. Though they may be difficult to brainstorm, there are multiple advantages which outweigh the costs. Some of these benefits include: 

1. They provide direction and motivation 

Whenever our goals and processes aren’t written down, we may find it difficult to focus on one path or outcome. Our personal life circumstances in are always changing, which makes it difficult to stick to a previous goal we’ve set. And due to all of this, we may forget about our goals before attempting to try.

But there’s a way to remember them! When you write these goals down and explain the process in terms of achieving the outcomes, you’re more likely to work towards them.

The statements can provide you with a sense of direction in life as they will help you identify your own values. In fact, research even supports this strategy as well. 

Hence, having a goal statement will give you a sense of direction and motivation. You know what you’ll aim for, and you’ll be able to track your progress towards the ultimate goal. This way, you’ll never lose sight of the bigger picture. 

2. Goal statements allow you to work towards your own true values 

Your goal statement is entirely personal and customizable, depending on your needs and characteristics. By writing down a goal statement you’ll be able to pave your own path towards self-development.

You can chose one which which resonates with your current aspirations, without worrying about the needs of others around you. Hence, goal statements allow you to see the potential you have within yourself. 

Once you identify your own potential, you’ll feel more confident. This can also bring some clarity on long-term career goals or relationship goals.

Goals for relationships

3. They emphasize the importance of action, not just words. 

Oftentimes, we rely on words in order to motivate ourselves. For example, remember when you have to do chores? Throughout the process, you’re probably thinking of how good it must be to have some chores completed.

After all, your house will look tidy and organized. To remind yourself, or motivate yourself, you may tell a friend, “Oh, I do my chores on Sunday.”  However, Sunday arrives, and you’re exhausted and find yourself recuperating for the week ahead. 

Sometimes, we use words to give ourselves a confidence boost. We tell others what we’re doing to remind ourselves to get started on a particular task. But although words are a great motivator, they won’t necessarily help you complete a task. 

In order to reach the finish line, we’ll have to work towards action. Fortunately, goal statements will help us with that. 

When we’re writing the goal statement, we’re not just thinking about the words and the result. We’re instead thinking about the actions, and the process, which puts us on the right track to reach our long-term goals. 

How to Write a Goal Statement 

There are many methods in terms of writing a goal statement. You can take inspiration from a few, but you shouldn’t just be regurgitating the goal. Remember, you want a goal with results!

Instead, you need to think of the process and the value of the goal. Now, you may ask, “How can I identify that?” Well, let’s explore how to get that started: 

1. Ask yourself what you desire to achieve 

You know those days when we all lie in bed, and wonder what happened to our previous dreams and desires? If you have a previous dream or desire which you still think about fulfilling, keep track of this and perhaps jot it down.

There may be a reason why you continue to think about it. Our passions and callings in life tend to keep making themselves evident. You may find yourself considering a career change or re-examining your social networks.

Perhaps this dream can be one of the smart goals you wish to fulfill in the future. Write down this vision statement as a spring-board for your goal statement and you’ll be headed in the right direction.

2. Focus on the things that bring you joy 

I know it sounds cliché as we probably have heard from multiple people to pursue and “focus on things that we’re passionate about.” However, there’s actually some validity behind the statement. 

Imagine working on a goal that you do not necessarily want to achieve, but feel the need to due to external factors. Would you actually be happy once you achieve it? You may answer “No,” because the goal was not something you have envisioned or planned out for yourself.  

So, pinpoint a few hobbies or activities that bring you joy. Then, list some of your core values or beliefs. You can tie these elements together and work towards your own personal vision for the future. 

Pursuit of Joy

3. Identify and believe in the goal statement process 

Goals are perceived as destinations. But in order to get to a destination, we must go through a journey. And the journey in itself is a never ending process. Once you set a goal, you shouldn’t forget about this journey.

The journey is filled with wins and losses. Sometimes, you’ll feel as if you’re near your goal, just to have everything robbed from you. However, you should believe that everything that happens is a lesson. 

You could also incorporate some smaller steps into your outlined goal as well. These small steps will allow you to allocate your goal into other short-term goals, which can be a benchmark for you to work towards. 

When you achieve these smaller goals, you’ll be able to track your progress. Then, you will be fueled by these accomplishments when you feel the need to take on long-term goals. 

4. Remember to incorporate action 

Many goal statements include an action plan and strategy, which outline the process of achieving the outcome. So, whenever you think of a specific goal, be sure to describe what you will do to achieve it in your statement.

Keep the steps involved reasonable to your skills and abilities so they are practical and achievable. This way, you’ll find a way to take initiative and control of your progress. And, this will allow you to track your own results. 

5. Remember there are always external factors 

Often when we set a goal, we are so focused on accomplishing it and start to forget about other external factors which may influence our progress. Unexpected events or changes can be discouraging, or even devastating.

For example, when we want to achieve a perfect attendance rate in school or at work. We often forget that there are times when we may be sick, which will prevent us from going to class in the first place. 

As a result, when such things happen, it’s best to acknowledge that they’re simply out of your control. And you could only react to them by finding a different way to solve the problem. 

In this case, aim for a more realistic goal of 90% attendance rate to account for unforeseen circumstances. Give yourself grace and recognize how the variability of everyday life can influence your goals.

Achieving success

Practical Goal Statement Formats

Now that we covered the basics of writing goal statements, there are multiple goal formulas which we can consider when writing our statement. You can pick any depending on your preferences or goal needs: 

1. SMART Goals

I’m sure we have heard of this term from someone, whether it was from the resume and cover letter sessions or the class reflections which we’re required to finish. 

The SMART goal acronym stands for: 

  • Specific: Goals should be specific to you and answer the 5 Ws; who, what, when, where and why. 
  • Measurable: Goals should be quantified or have a specific metric assigned to them to ensure that you fulfill them. 
  • Attainable: Ensure that you are not setting too high or too low expectations of the specific goal, and that they are attainable with the current or predicted resources. 
  • Relevant : Goals should align with your own core values and missions. 
  • Time-bound: Make sure to specify when the goal can be achieved by outlining the time expected to achieve each step. 

SMART goal setting

Example of a SMART goal: 

I want to get a 4.00 GPA next semester by studying and reviewing 2-3 different courses every day for one to two hours, doing the practice questions required, and participating in lectures by answering or asking questions. Before the first midterm, I aim to obtain at least an 80 on one to two assignments. 

This goal is specific, as it identifies the situation in the beginning, which is aiming for a higher GPA. It is also measurable as well, as every aspect of the SMART goal is quantified by a number. For example, the 4.00 GPA and the “80 percent on one or two assignments.”

This SMART goal is attainable as the student is not reviewing a full course load everyday. They are only reviewing some portions of the lecture which is a good idea to keep themselves on track toward the ultimate goal. 

If the student is looking to improve their study habits, the goal is relevant as well. Moreover, this goal is time-bound as it specifies how much time is needed to reach that finish line. 

2. PACT Goals

Another option for a goal-setting method is the PACT formula. The PACT focuses more on the core values and actions of an individual, which may be more of a fit for those looking to write a goal statement. 

In a way this is a statement of purpose and with so much potential for personal development. This formula can also be implemented to create a good mission statement.

PACT stands for: 

  • Purposeful: What does the goal mean to you? How can it change you and lead you to develop into a better person? 
  • Actionable: What steps can you take towards your goal? 
  • Continuous: Even if you do achieve the resulting goal, how can you utilize the new skills you gained towards your own personal or professional development? 
  • Trackable: How can you track your goals? What metrics can you use? 

Instead of focusing on specific and measurable goals, PACT goals aim to focus on an individual’s future development based on their own values and characteristics. 

Example of a PACT goal: 

I aim to try out more activities this year based on my own interests as I aim to prioritize my mental and physical well-being more. Since I prefer moving around on my own instead of going to the gym, I will sign up for a weekly beginner’s dance class. Throughout the weeks, I can see how I progress and see which genres I like. If I do end up enjoying the activity, I will try out more dance genres. I’ll be able to find a new activity and prioritize my physical well-being. 

This goal is purposeful, as it outlines the individual’s purpose on why they wanted to set a specific goal. Moreover, steps are also outlined in order to achieve the ultimate goal. For example, signing up for a weekly beginner’s dance class is a good way to start and commit time towards the activity. 

The goal is continuous as well, since it states how the activity can benefit the individual in the future. Since the goal is broken down into time periods (weekly), it easily tracks by week as well. 

Time tracking activities

3. GROW Goals 

GROW goals require some self-reflection and awareness when analyzing the outcome. However, being able to reflect on your current situation will definitely allow you to realize that you’re able to be in control of your personal life no matter what. 

The acronym stands for: 

  • Goal: What is the desired result? 
  • Reality: What is happening in your current life right now? 
  • Obstacles : What are some of the barriers you’re facing? 
  • Will: How can you overcome these barriers and achieve your dreams? 

Example of a GROW goal: 

I hope to find a co-op position in the field of sales and communications. Currently, I’m a student and I work two part-time jobs in retail and customer service. I also have rent and other living expenses to pay. Therefore, I do not have much time to apply to positions or to network. However, I do have a decent amount of savings. So, maybe I can switch my work hours and take a week off in order to prepare for interviews and networking sessions. I will be sure to communicate this with my employer.  

The example above outlines a GROW goal because the first sentence states the desired result, which is securing a co-op position. Then, the student writes about their current living situation and the obstacles that they are facing.

However, they then decide to address these barriers and find new solutions. This is a vital part of the GROW goal statement to ensure success. 

4. HARD Goals 

Sometimes in life we all have to make tough decisions and face difficult situations. We often wonder why we made such a challenging decision, and what was the purpose of the decision we made. 

When we’re questioning these aspects, a good formula to remember is the “HARD” goal formula . These include: 

  • Heartfelt: What is your intention when setting this goal? What motivates you to achieve this goal? 
  • Animated : How will you feel once you achieve this goal? 
  • Required: What makes it important to achieve this goal? 
  • Difficult: How difficult will it be to fulfill your desired outcome? 

Goal Statements and How to Write Them

Example of a HARD goal: 

A fter I complete my bachelor’s degree, I aim to hopefully pursue more studies . I noticed that I enjoy being in a classroom setting and learning new topics, and to me, being educated on different subjects is important. I want to learn more about the world and see the world through various perspectives. It is difficult, as I’ll have to sacrifice lots of time and financial resources. But in the end, the time and financial resources will be worth the fulfillment from my education. 

In this goal, the writer clearly states the intention by writing why they decided to set the goal in the first place. Moreover, the writer touched upon feelings as well, such as “feeling fulfilled.”

The writer also states the importance of learning more about the world through different topics. Difficulties and challenges are also addressed as well, which include the time and financial resources. 

5. OKR Goals 

Sometimes, the complexity behind the other goal-setting formulas can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there is an option to goals in a more simple manner. 

The OKR goals are a simple way to set measurable outcomes, which are broken down into different benchmarks. It works similar to a vision statement and stands for: 

  • Objective: What is your big goal? 
  • Key Results: What results will you need to achieve in order to reach your big goal? 

Example of OKR Goal: 

My big goal is to one day launch my own startup company. In order to do so, I need to be trained in business operations, accounting, finance, and human resources. I also need to know how to promote and market my brand to my targeted audience as well. I can begin by noticing my interests, creating an inception plan, and pitching my ideas to different ventures. Then once I receive the funding, I can begin with product design and implementation. 

In this goal, the objective defined is an individual launching their own start up company. Then, they decide to describe some key results, which include action items such as creating an inception plan. Also, benchmarks such as pitching ideas and receiving funding are outlined. 

Goal Statement Examples

Now that we have covered some different formulas regarding goal statements we have a toolbox to get started. It is a good idea to brainstorm some of our most recent needs and see how they can impact our goal setting frameworks as well. 

As we have seen, goal statements can be written in a variety of manners. Goal statements are flexible and can be dedicated towards plenty of different industries and settings. 

For now, let’s consider three important aspects of our 20s in terms of goal setting: academic, career, and relationship. 

goal statements for academics and career

Academic Goal Statements 

Below are some sample goal statements for those who are in college and university. These goal statements mainly focus on academic performance. 

I hope to make it onto the Dean’s Honor List by obtaining over a ___ GPA (as determined by the school) this year. I need at least a ____ GPA for the first and second semester in order to do so. To do this, I’ll set a schedule and dedicate around 2 hours of studying each day and ensure that I attend lectures on time. When I need help, I will be sure to utilize the tutoring sessions offered by the department.  (SMART). 

I hope to obtain a GPA of 4.00 in one of my human resources courses. Learning about human resources resonates with me as I want to learn more about human behaviour and organizational structures. Being a good student is also what I aim to continue to be as well, since I want more options when I apply to graduate schools. To do this, I can request to seek advice from the professor in regards to unclear instructions, and dedicate around 3 hours of study in this course. I can then utilize these new skills for future courses. My short-term goals can be tracked through the grades of my assignments, whether I see an increase in trend or not. (PACT). 

I hope to increase my GPA from 3.8 to 4.0 this semester. Currently, I have to work and fulfill some extracurricular obligations which may take around 20 hours a week. Therefore, I have limited time for studying. However, I can always decide to study efficiently; perhaps, I can decrease some free time and skip Friday nights. (GROW) 

I aim to get into law school because I am passionate about the legal industry. I have always read books about law and want to learn more about the subject. Once I achieve this goal, I will feel content and realize that I’ll be able to hopefully achieve my dream job as a lawyer. I do need a good CGPA in order to make it into law school, so I need to put in more effort in terms of studying and consult with my professor for my assignments. (HARD)

I aim to get into medical school after graduation. In order to do this, I will have to dedicate some time to study, perhaps volunteer at the hospital, and join a few extracurricular clubs which are focused on health research. I hope to also gain a research assistant position as well. Then, in my third or fourth year, I’ll prepare and take the MCAT exam. (OKR). 

goals for life

Career Goal Statement Examples 

Whether you’re eyeing on a new promotion, or wanting to improve your professional life, having a career path is a big part of being in your 20s. Below are some sample statements of professional goals:

I hope to gain a new promotion from my current position. I can do this by taking on more initiative in tasks, and trying to see what my supervisor may need assistance with. For now, I will try to take on at least one extra project and see if I can collaborate with my fellow team members. Then, in the next month or so, I can perhaps tackle more projects with others and assist my supervisor with more of their tasks (SMART). 

I hope to get a position related to my degree, as I studied the subject and enjoyed the material. Then, I can apply my academic coursework into my experience. I will start looking for jobs immediately, and ensure that the jobs I apply to are related to the subject I learned at school. Hopefully, this job will bring me new career growth and opportunities. And overtime, through the interviews, I can see what worked or did not work. (PACT). 

I desire to work in the field of accounting as I have graduated from university with a degree in accounting. Right now, I do have the ability to apply to jobs but I am still studying for my CPA exam. I also have a part-time job which may interfere with the interview hours. But to overcome these barriers, I can still continue to apply and see what I can get. I can also ask to get my shifts switched in order to make it to the interviews. (GROW). 

I aim to take on more freelance photography projects throughout the year. I like to create different art forms and work with companies and businesses. Once I achieve this goal, I will feel content that more people are enjoying and being exposed to my work. This goal is important to me as my art is a direct reflection of my emotions. To achieve my professional goals, I will continuously need to promote my services on social media and word of mouth, while practicing my skills. (HARD). 

My big goal is to become an assistant manager at my community centre. In order to do this, I need to take on a few leadership positions. I will apply to some and go through the interview process. Moreover, I will also ask my current manager for mentorship advice, a performance review, and work more hours in my current position for seniority. Throughout this, I will also become more favorable for a potential employer if I choose to apply for other jobs (OKR). 

statement of goals for career

Relationship Goal Statements 

We all know how difficult relationships are to navigate during adulthood. This can range from the friends we meet in class, to the Tinder date who continuously bombards us online. But there also can be goals set for relationships and friendships as well: 

I hope my partner and I communicate our issues more transparently. We are in the process of booking couple counselling sessions. We aim to go weekly and we hope that they’ll be able to provide us with a sense of direction. (SMART) 

I hope I can apologize to my friend about what I have done previously. I really valued our friendship and believed that I should not have acted the way I did. If I do, I can hopefully build my communication skills and learn to do the right thing next time. This can perhaps also improve the current friendships in my life as well. (PACT)

I hope to get closer to my family, as we once drifted apart during my teenage years. I agree that there were misunderstandings, but now I feel that since I have grown, I finally realize the intention behind their actions. It’s hard to see them currently as I do live away from home, but I will continuously keep in contact with them and see if it is possible to go on trips with them. (GROW) 

I hope to get along with my sister as we were once best friends. Since I moved away, everything changed. However, once I begin to communicate with her, we can support each other. After all, family is important. I understand it is difficult as our schedules often collide, but I can always try my best to reach out whenever I can. (HARD)

My big goal is to find myself a committed, loyal partner. It will take time but I will need to first understand the other individual’s personality, and see how compatible we can hopefully be. I need to communicate more about myself and hopefully, the right person will come along. (OKR).

goal statements lead to success

Final Thoughts on Practical Goal Statements 

Writing a goal statement is similar to creating a mood-board for your future dreams and career aspirations. It involves knowing what you currently want, and working towards achieving the specified outcome. 

Instead of thinking of specific goals, writing goals in the form of statements allows us to see what we truly want, and work towards them. Such statements can allow us to be motivated in terms of completing our personal vision to the next level. 

There are plenty of different methods to write goal statements with multiple examples. There is the SMART approach, which is for more specified and measured goals. And there is the GROW approach, which is for goals that resonate deeply with your own personal values and beliefs. The right one is the method which resonates the most with your mission, and motivates you the best. 

Once you begin writing down your own goal statements, you may notice small changes in your life. You may notice that you’re more optimistic and perhaps, you may decide to tweak your everyday life routine. 

With that being said, achieving goals is not easy most of the time. There are multiple barriers which do get in the way. But when they do, it’s best to take it one step at a time. After all, we can all work towards change throughout our lives. What matters the most to many of us is to not give up. 

About the Author

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Candice is currently attending school for social service work. One of her passions is helping others through my writing. In her downtime, you'll find her listening to music, watching random YouTube videos, and writing about career goals and resumes. She hopes to start freelancing for writing and obtain a leadership position in a public services sector.

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writing goal statements examples

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writing goal statements examples

How to write SMART goals

It’s easier to succeed when you have clearly defined objectives that are based in reality.

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5-second summary

  • Teams often fall short of meeting their goals due to a lack of consensus on the definition of success.
  • SMART goals use a specific set of criteria to help ensure that objectives are clearly defined and attainable within a certain timeframe.
  • Working through each step of creating a SMART goal can reveal instances where priorities and resources are out of alignment.

Meet Jane. She’s a product manager at a mid-sized tech company – let’s call it Techfirm, Inc. Jane has been tasked with increasing usage of Techfirm’s mobile app.

She knows she’ll need all hands on deck to make this happen, but when Jane has set team-wide goals in the past, they’ve quickly fallen off track. Nobody seemed to have a clear understanding of what success should look like; progress wasn’t monitored closely enough, and inevitably, that important objective slipped to the back burner (before toppling off the stove entirely).

That’s why, this time around, Jane plans to leverage SMART goals for setting an action plan and staying the course.

Want to get started right now?

Use our template to define the different components of your SMART goal.

What are SMART goals?

The SMART in SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Defining these parameters as they pertain to your goal helps ensure that your objectives are attainable within a certain time frame. This approach eliminates generalities and guesswork, sets a clear timeline, and makes it easier to track progress and identify missed milestones.

An example of a SMART-goal statement might look like this: Our goal is to [quantifiable objective] by [timeframe or deadline]. [Key players or teams] will accomplish this goal by [what steps you’ll take to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will [result or benefit].

Let’s use Jane’s objective to work through each component.

S: Specific

In order for a goal to be effective, it needs to be specific. A specific goal answers questions like:

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Who’s responsible for it?
  • What steps need to be taken to achieve it?

Thinking through these questions helps get to the heart of what you’re aiming for. Here’s an example of a specific goal Jane might come up with:

Grow the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns.

M: Measurable

Don’t underestimate the outsized impact of short-term goals

Don’t underestimate the outsized impact of short-term goals

Specificity is a solid start, but quantifying your goals (that is, making sure they’re measurable) makes it easier to track progress and know when you’ve reached the finish line.

Jane and her product team want to grow the number of their mobile app users – but by how much? If they get even one new signup, that’s technically positive growth – so does that mean they’re done? Same goes for their strategy – how many platforms will they advertise on? 

To make this SMART objective more impactful, Jane should incorporate measurable, trackable benchmarks.

Increase the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns for four social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

A: Achievable

This is the point in the process when you give yourself a serious reality check. Goals should be realistic –  not  pedestals from which you inevitably tumble. Ask yourself: is your objective something your team can reasonably accomplish?

Jane might look at her goal and realize that, given her small team and their heavy workload, creating ad campaigns for four social platforms might be biting off more than they can chew. She decides to scale back to the three social networks where she’s most likely to find new clients.

Increase the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns for three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Safeguarding the achievability of your goal is much easier when you’re the one setting it. However, that’s not always the case. When goals are handed down from elsewhere, make sure to communicate any restraints you may be working under. Even if you can’t shift the end goal, at least you can make your position (and any potential roadblocks) known up-front.

R: Relevant

Here’s where you need to think about the big picture. Why are you setting the goal that you’re setting? Jane knows that the app is a huge driver of customer loyalty, and that an uptick in their app usage could mean big things for the company’s bottom-line revenue goals. Now she revises her statement to reflect that context.

Grow the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns for three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Because mobile users tend to use our product longer, growing our app usage will ultimately increase profitability.

T: Time-bound

To properly measure success, you and your team need to be on the same page about when a goal has been reached. What’s your time horizon? When will the team start creating and implementing the tasks they’ve identified? When will they finish?

SMART goals should have time-related parameters built in, so everybody knows how to stay on track within a designated time frame.

When Jane incorporates those dates, her SMART goal is complete.

Grow the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 within Q1 of 2022. This will be accomplished by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns, which will begin running in February 2022, on three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Since mobile is our primary point of conversion for paid-customer signups, growing our app usage will ultimately increase sales.

Knowing how to set goals using the SMART framework can help you succeed in setting and attaining goals, no matter how large or small.

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How to write a great goal Statement + 20 Examples

writing goal statements examples

In business, we all work towards goals.  Achieving goals is usually what our work life is centered around.  

However, if these goals are not clearly defined, attainable or managed through to delivery then they are not worth the paper they’re written on, there owners often becoming disillusioned.

Why you need great goal statements

In simple terms, clear goals deliver clear results.

Without clear goal statements, we may not know what our company is trying to achieve (or whether it has achieved it), this leads us to typically waste time on non-value add activities (that we may think, incorrectly, are adding value). 

Unfortunately, not all business set great goals (or even understand how the goals they do set relate to corporate strategy) and many fail badly. Usually, this failure is driven by the setting of either large complex unachievable goals or fuzzy, unclear unrelated goals.

In this post we’re going to look at goal setting methods & goal setting examples, we’ll cover 4 different methods:

  • SMART objectives
  • CLEAR objectives

What is a goal statement

Goals are usually deployed to drive action and provide direction.  As you can see from the diagram below, goals setting forms part of the hierarchy of strategy and sits underneath the companies vision and mission statements.

writing goal statements examples

Goals are there to help us:

  • Understand what we have to do
  • Drive step changes in results and help us achieve great things
  • Link to a bigger corporate mission
  • Bind us emotionally to succeeding
  • Facilitate collaboration between teams

Why great goal statements matter?

Which of the following is the best goal statement?

Take a look at the two examples below:

1/ I’m going to be a millionaire

2/ By the time I’m 30 I’m going to own a retail business that will drive revenues enabling me to have a net worth of over one million dollars

Which is best and why?

The goal statement does describe an aspirational step change that is being targeted. When you look more closely at the two, perhaps number one could be best referred to as a dream, while the second contains a target and several measurable details that will enable you to track success.

Neither goal statements state how you will achieve the goal (or whether it’ll require new skills or require you to collaborate with other parties) – it merely describes the end state you’re looking to achieve.

Now consider how this applies to goals in a business setting and what happens if you get your goal statement wrong. Your employees fail to add the value that you require (due to confusion) and money and time are wasted.

How to write a goal statement

So a great goal statement describes an objective to be accomplished, and some details around what the end state will look like when it’s complete (i.e. “cost base reduced by 25%”) and when you expect it to happen.

However, a great goal statement isn’t just about delivering something. Great goal statements drive change both in terms of the business and the owner of the goal (through new skills etc). Great goals tie the owner emotionally to them. And if the goal is a stretch target then those changes are likely to be significant.

Alternatives to SMART goal setting

Chances are if you’re researching Goal setting most people will tell you that you need SMART objectives, and yes we’ll cover that here, but there are other methods.  There are question marks over the use of SMART objectives and their effectiveness to drive significant change, they don’t necessarily work for everyone, indeed many of the alternatives try and build in an emotional link to the goal that you’re trying to achieve which is something that SMART doesn’t typically utilize (there’s a belief that a goal without an emotional or aspirational link is unlikely to be successful) SMART also doesn’t directly drive improved working practices (i.e. collaboration).

Ok so let’s look at some examples of goal setting methods.

1/ SMART Goal setting

The first example we’re going to take a look at is Smart Goals

Smart is an acronym for

  • Measurable 

Let’s have a look at those attributes in a little more detail:

The whole purpose of a goal statement is to show what is being targeted by your business to accomplish. The use of language here is very important, for example – consider

a) I want to look at the cost structure

b) I want to reduce costs

Statement (a) is a little fuzzy where (b) clearly states the intent.

As we stated above a goal statement should state clearly what is being accomplished. By clearly defining a measurable requirement (i.e. reduce costs by 25%) you are then able to analyze whether you have accomplished it or not. Many business goals do not take five minutes to finish and may take many weeks months or even years to complete so being able to measure progress and see what tangible improvements have been made is crucial.

Setting a goal that you cannot achieve would be stupid. A smart goal is realistic and is attainable. Well, the objective may be hard to achieve (it might require new skills or financial outlay for example) it should still be sensible.

There is no point in having a goal that is not relevant to your organization success. Relevant goals deliver something worthwhile to your company and apply to the current business strategy.

This refers to the requirement to state clearly how long the objective should take.

Let’s look at some Smart goal statements examples:

1/ Increase our click-through rate on our commerce website by 25% in the next 6 months

2/ Reduce our operating costs by 10% within 6 months and a further 5% in the following 6 months

3/ Introduce a minimum of 2 new product ranges to our European market within the next 18 months

4/ Grow our Social Media following by 15% within the next 12 months

5/ Reduce our Supply Chain Procurement costs by 2.5% by the end of the next financial year 

2/ CLEAR objectives

Clear stands for:

  • Collaborative – Goals should specifically drive employees/teams to work together
  • Limited – Your goal has a clear scope
  • Emotional – Achieves emotional buy-in of the team/individual that you’re setting the goal on (it matters to them, they can visualize the results and the importance to them that it happens). One way of achieving this is by aligning it to their objectives. Having an emotional buy into your objective implies you’re far more likely to achieve it.
  • Appreciable – this refers to goals being set at a smaller attainable level so that you can build goals in stages (rather than one massive goal you might have a series of smaller – measurable – goals building to the same result.
  • Refinable – As your project moves forward and lessons are learned you should be able to refine your goals. While this might seem an alien concept for some (surely your goals are there to be achieved not modified, it does stand to reason that there should be some form of feedback from the work that you’re doing then being fed into updated goals and objectives (and don’t forget your goals don’t have to be reduced as you learn they can be extended!!).

Here are some examples of CLEAR objectives

1/ To participate in Engineering & Supply chain projects to select 5 parts and launch design for cost projects for each, delivering 5% cost savings on each component selected within the next 18 months.

2/ Marketing & Design departments to launch a customer feedback project and utilize results to prototype & launch 10 new products into the European market within the next 12 months

3/ Quality & Supply Chain teams to introduce a minimum of 5 continuous improvement projects within the 5 worst performing suppliers and deliver a minimum of 15% improvement in on-time delivery

4/ Supply Chain and HR to Develop & launch Personal Development plans for all management grade staff within the next 12 months 

5/ Engineering & Quality Department to launch Key Performance Indicators & root cause program delivering 5% reduction in Drawing updates within the next 12 months

3/ Fast goals

FAST stands for 

  • Frequently discussed – How many of us have undertaken our annual review, been set a series of objectives by our boss, only to find that 12 months later, they were not really the priority and barely got a look in? In reality, our Goals need to be a priority for us – the meaning behind frequently discusses is that they should be at the front of our to-do list and of key focus.
  • Ambitious – FAST goals take the stance that there is little point in starting on a goal if it’s easily achievable – Goals are there to be challenging. Most businesses want a level of incremental change, setting your goals to be ambitious but achievable helps to drive that
  • Specific – Similar to the other methods, this sets specific details around the goals (i.e. time and value-based concepts).
  • Transparent – This one is an interesting concept (and has pro’s and con’s) that the other goal-setting methods don’t explicitly utilize that is that goals should be transparent and visible to others.  The reason is, of course, that if you share your objectives with others that it helps to make you accountable – I’m not sure whether this would work in all businesses but clearly would help drive the focus of those receiving goals. Let’s face it you wouldn’t want to turn up to too many team reviews and demonstrate that you’ve not made progress.  

Example FAST goal statements:

1/ Increase our online sales by 20% within the next 12 months 

2/ Reduce our Logistics costs by 15% within 6 months 

3/ Launch 5 new sales channels within the next Financial Year

4/ Reduce outsourcing personnel costs by 15% removing all contractor staff within the next 12 months 

5/ Outsource our Supply Chain Management function, reducing costs by 15%, within the next 12 month period. 

4/ Hard goals

Finally in our list is HARD goals – don’t worry these are not impossible goals that are being set HARD is merely another acronym. HARD goals are centered around the why behind the goal and ensuring the goals deliver a step change. For example, is the goal going to help you achieve something great? Are they going to push you to learn new skills?

It’s not that HARD goals (go check out Mark Murphy ) are written very differently from other goal-setting methods, it’s that the intent behind them is VERY different in that the goals aim to have actual meaning and drive step changes and deliver something to the owner of the goal taking them outside of their comfort zone and teaching them new skills along the way.

HARD stands for:

  • Heartfelt – Goals that enrich others (i.e. customers)
  • Animated – I can comprehend how the goal will make me feel when I achieve it
  • Required – my goals are important to the success of the company
  • Difficult – my goals will take work and/or skills (some of which will require learning) to help me achieve them.

1/ Reduce product defects delivering an improvement of 10% on customer returns within the next 6 months.

2/ Reduce Customer wait times on support channels by 15% within the next 12 months

3/ Reduce “delays to start” within the manufacturing facility by 25% within the next 12 months

4/ Improve click-through rate on company website by 15% within the next 6 months

5/ Reduce customer lead times by 10% within the next 12 months

Goal setting is extremely useful but think carefully about what you’re setting out to achieve and select a method that works for you!

This has been an interesting journey into goal setting. Traditionally most of us will look to utilize some form of SMART goals but it’s interesting to delve into other methods and see the pro’s/con’s against using SMART. SMART is more black and white and doesn’t explicitly drive cultural behaviors (such as a collaboration) that your business may want to utilize. The other fascinating aspect for me is how to achieve emotional buy into your objectives. This can be a clear enabler for many.

What do you think? Have you tried alternatives to SMART objectives, how did it work out for you? Maybe you utilize something else?  We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or DM us on Twitter.

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The Essential Guide to Writing SMART Goals

By Kate Eby | January 9, 2019

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In this article, you’ll find the latest tips and examples to help you create and execute on SMART goals. We’ve also provided a free, downloadable SMART goals template to get you started.

Included on this page, you’ll find examples of SMART goals , a customizable SMART goals worksheet , and the best project management tool to use to put your plan in action.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are a relatively new idea. In 1981, George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company, published a paper called, “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” In the document, he introduces SMART goals as a tool to create criteria to help improve the chances of succeeding in accomplishing a goal.

What are SMART goals?

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What Does the SMART Acronym Stand For?

The acronym stands for:

S – Specific

When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Think about this as the mission statement for your goal. This isn’t a detailed list of how you’re going to meet a goal, but it should include an answer to the popular ‘w’ questions:

  • Who – Consider who needs to be involved to achieve the goal (this is especially important when you’re working on a group project).
  • What – Think about exactly what you are trying to accomplish and don’t be afraid to get very detailed.
  • When – You’ll get more specific about this question under the “time-bound” section of defining SMART goals, but you should at least set a time frame.
  • Where – This question may not always apply, especially if you’re setting personal goals, but if there’s a location or relevant event, identify it here.
  • Which – Determine any related obstacles or requirements. This question can be beneficial in deciding if your goal is realistic. For example, if the goal is to open a baking business, but you’ve never baked anything before, that might be an issue. As a result, you may refine the specifics of the goal to be “Learn how to bake in order to open a baking business."
  • Why – What is the reason for the goal? When it comes to using this method for employees, the answer will likely be along the lines of company advancement or career development.

M – Measurable

What metrics are you going to use to determine if you meet the goal? This makes a goal more tangible because it provides a way to measure progress. If it’s a project that’s going to take a few months to complete, then set some milestones by considering specific tasks to accomplish.

A – Achievable

This focuses on how important a goal is to you and what you can do to make it attainable and may require developing new skills and changing attitudes. The goal is meant to inspire motivation, not discouragement. Think about how to accomplish the goal and if you have the tools/skills needed. If you don’t currently possess those tools/skills, consider what it would take to attain them.

R – Relevant

Relevance refers focusing on something that makes sense with the broader business goals. For example, if the goal is to launch a new product, it should be something that’s in alignment with the overall business objectives. Your team may be able to launch a new consumer product, but if your company is a B2B that is not expanding into the consumer market, then the goal wouldn’t be relevant.

T – Time-Bound

Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed. Providing a target date for deliverables is imperative. Ask specific questions about the goal deadline and what can be accomplished within that time period. If the goal will take three months to complete, it’s useful to define what should be achieved half-way through the process. Providing time constraints also creates a sense of urgency.

The Easiest Way to Write SMART Goals

When it comes to writing SMART goals, be prepared to ask yourself and other team members a lot of questions. The answers will help fine-tune your strategy, ensuring the goals are something that’s actually attainable. While you should be as realistic as possible, it’s important to approach writing SMART goals with a positive attitude. After all, this is something that you want to achieve.

writing goal statements examples

This doesn’t have to be a daunting experience; in fact, it should be quite illuminating. Later in the article, we demonstrate how to write SMART goals for two typical business scenarios: completing a project and improving personal performance. Below, we’ve included an easy-to-use SMART goals template in Word, along with a template to help you plan and manage your goals in Smartsheet.  

SMART Goals Worksheet Template

‌ Download the SMART Goals Template in Word

Execute on SMART Goals with Project Management in Smartsheet

Once you’ve defined your SMART goals, it’s essential to put a plan in place to achieve them. To help with execution, you need a tool that enables you to plan, track, manage, automate, and report on your goals in real-time.

One such tool is Smartsheet, a work execution platform that enables enterprises and teams to get from idea to impact - fast. With a collaborative, real-time objectives tracker in Smartsheet, you can increase transparency and improve accountability across your initiatives.

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Plus, top project management leaders rely on Smartsheet to help align the right people, resources, and schedules to get work done. Use Smartsheet to create consistent project elements, increase speed, and improve collaboration with scalable options that fit individual work preferences. Hold yourself and your team accountable, improve visibility into team priorities, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

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Examples of SMART Goals

Here are two examples of initial goals we'll use to walk through this process:

  • I want to complete a project
  • I want to improve my performance

This is a typical approach to creating goals, but both of these are very vague. With the current wording, the goals probably aren’t going to be attainable. The statements lack specifics, timelines, motivation, and a reality check.

Now, let’s use the SMART goals formula to clarify both and create new and improved goals.

Goal 1: I want to complete a project

  • Specific: Many people are accessing our current site from their mobile devices. Since it’s not a responsive site, it provides a poor experience for customers. I want to launch a mobile app for my company website by the end of Q2, which requires involvement from software development, design, and marketing.
  • Measurable: Creating a mobile app for our company site will require a lot of resources. To make it worthwhile, I’d like to have 50,000 installs of the site within six months of launch. I’d also like to show a 5% conversion rate from customers using the mobile site.
  • Achievable: The departments that will be involved have signed-off on creating a mobile app. I’ll need to manage the project and set milestones to keep everyone motivated and on target.
  • Relevant: Improving the customer experience on mobile devices is a core initiative for my company this year.
  • Time-Bound: In order to achieve 50,000 mobile app installs and a 5% conversion rate by the end of the fiscal year, the app will need to be launched by Q2 with a robust marketing campaign that should continue through the end of the year.

Goal 2: I want to improve my performance

  • Specific: I received low marks on my ability to use PowerPoint at my last performance review. Improving my skills requires that I learn how to use PowerPoint efficiently and practice using it by creating various presentations. I’d like to be more proficient using PowerPoint in time for my next review in six months.
  • Measurable: By the time of my next review, I should be able to create presentations that incorporate graphs, images, and other media in a couple of hours. I should also be able to efficiently use and create templates in PowerPoint that my coworkers can also use.
  • Achievable: Improving my PowerPoint skills is instrumental in moving forward in my career and receiving a better performance review. I can set time aside every week to watch PowerPoint tutorials and even enroll in an online class that can teach me new skills. I can also ask coworkers and my manager for PowerPoint tips.
  • Relevant: Working with PowerPoint is currently 25% of my job. As I move up in the company, I’ll need to spend 50% of my time creating PowerPoint presentations. I enjoy my career and want to continue to grow within this company.
  • Time-Bound: In six months, I should be proficient in PowerPoint ensuring it only occupies 25% of my workload instead of the nearly 40% of the time it occupies now.

Once you go through and write your goals according to each SMART characteristic, you can then combine and consolidate all the work you’ve done into one SMART goal.

SMART goal: I want to complete a project

  • Description: Improving the customer experience on mobile devices is a core initiative for my company this year, so we are going to create a mobile app. By the end of the fiscal year, there should be 50,000 installs of the mobile app we develop, and it should produce a 5% conversion rate. We’ll build the mobile app in-house and launch it by the end of Q2 with an app-related marketing campaign that will continue to the end of the year.
  • Milestone: Mobile app launches end of Q2.
  • Deadline: End of the fiscal year.

SMART goal: I want to improve my performance

  • Description: To grow in my career, I need to improve my PowerPoint skills. By taking online classes and reviewing tutorials, I’ll improve my PowerPoint skills so that it only requires 25% of my work time.
  • Milestone: Complete an online PowerPoint course in three months.
  • Deadline: Next employee review in six months.

Discover more project management tips, template, and best practices in our comprehensive Project Management Guide .

Establishing Clarity Around Success and Failure of Goals

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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What are SMART goals? Examples and templates

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Vague goals that lack clarity are often left undone, even if they have great potential. Transform fuzzy objectives into attainable goals with the SMART goals framework. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. In this article, we'll dive into why each element of the SMART goals acronym is essential and how to apply them to your own goals.

But hitting an ambitious goal isn’t just about reaching for the stars—you also need a path to get there. That’s where SMART goal setting comes in. With SMART, you can make sure every goal—from project goals all the way to larger company objectives—has everything you need to achieve it. Here’s how.

What are SMART goals?

So, what are SMART goals? Fundamentally, SMART goals are a way of setting objectives that are clear, trackable, and achievable. The SMART goals acronym stands for five crucial qualities your goals should have: 

Measurable 

Achievable 

When you're deliberating the meaning of SMART goals, think of them as a tool to transform lofty resolutions into a concrete roadmap. The SMART goals acronym can help you build a blueprint for success in personal and professional settings alike.

[Inline illustration] SMART goals (Infographic)

How to write SMART goals

Writing SMART goals is all about breaking down your objectives into smaller, more manageable components that are easy to track and achieve. Here's a simple step-by-step guide to make the goal-setting process a breeze.

Keep in mind that you’re setting your SMART goal to attain a specific objective—not a broad one. You don’t just want any initiative to succeed; you want your specific project to succeed. To make sure you can achieve them, make sure your goals are specific to what you’re working on.

For example, instead of creating a goal to raise more money, you might create a goal to raise $20,000 by the end of the year. This is much more specific and gives you a roadmap to work off of. In this case, you can break down how much you need to raise each day to hit your goal and then create an action plan that enables you to hit that number every day.

The “M” in SMART stands for measurable, which helps you evaluate the success or failure of your project. Your goals should have some sort of objective way to measure them—whether that’s a deadline, a number, a percent change, or some other measurable element.

One way to do this is with benchmarks. Benchmarks show you what’s “normal” for specific, recurring scenarios in your company, so you know what to expect. Using standardized benchmarks, you can set more relevant goals that are easier to measure. For example, let’s say you have a benchmark showing that you have three new marketing campaigns each year to help you hit key performance indicators . You can then use that benchmark to set measurable goals to track progress for both the launches and their related KPIs.

You don’t want your goals to be easy to achieve, but you also want to make sure you’re setting goals that you could, conceivably, hit. Achievable says that your goals shouldn't be totally outside the realm of possibility. Ask yourself this question: Is the goal within your project scope ? If not, it’s not Achievable.

For example, let’s say you want to learn to speak Spanish in order to be competitive in your field. If you’ve never spoken a word of Spanish before, you can’t expect to be fluent by next month. That simply isn’t an achievable goal. However, you could set a goal to learn from your foreign language app for 20 minutes every day. By establishing a consistent practice, you can set a more achievable goal.

What about stretch goals—are those achievable?

Stretch goals are goals that are purposefully challenging. For example, if you usually get 30,000 monthly visitors to your website, a stretch goal would be to get 50,000 monthly visitors. That’s a big increase! But this stretch goal is still within the realm of possibility. Make sure you make your stretch goals ambitious, not impossible—like aiming to go from 30,000 monthly visitors to 300,000 monthly visitors, for example.

The “A” and “R” of SMART are closely related. In addition to setting attainable goals, you also want to set Realistic ones. For example, maybe a goal is achievable, but getting there would require every team member to work overtime for six weeks straight. Even though it might be an achievable goal, it’s not a realistic one. Make sure yours is both by creating a clear resource management plan .

Using our attainable goal example of learning to speak Spanish, the goal of setting 20 minutes aside each day to practice Spanish is both realistic and achievable. On the other hand, a goal to practice speaking Spanish for two hours every day is probably not realistic for most working adults, even though it’s technically achievable.

Your SMART goal should have an end date. Without a time limit, your project could drag on, have unclear success metrics , and suffer from scope creep . Deadlines provide a sense of urgency so that short-term tasks don’t drag into long-term goals unnecessarily. If you haven’t already, make sure you outline a clear project timeline .

Deadlines are crucial to implementing goals, since they pretty much force you to take action. If you want to have more focus time at work, you can decide to set a goal to only check your email for 30 minutes every day. But without a deadline, it’s easy to brush it off. Imagine instead if you set a goal to only check your email for 30 minutes every day for one week—now, it starts to feel more attainable.

SMART goals pros and cons

Making sure your important goals have all of the SMART components might be more time-consuming than setting regular goals, but the value you get from SMART goals outweighs the additional time spent on the goal-setting process. Goals shouldn’t be something you set and forget—they’re a key part of your project planning process. When setting SMART goals, here’s what you and your team can expect.

Pros of SMART goals

Clear communication and alignment. When your project team knows exactly what they’re working towards, they’re more motivated and aligned as a team. Team members who know how their individual work contributes to broader company goals are 2X as motivated as their counterparts. Setting and sharing SMART goals can help you boost your entire team’s motivation.

Clarity towards project success. Have you ever gotten to the end of a project and not really known if you hit your project goals or not? SMART goals help you set clear goals, so you can avoid vague or confusing goal language.

Clear roadmap and finish line. With SMART goals, you know exactly what you want to achieve and when you expect to achieve it. You’ve verified that these goals are realistic and achievable. And you know you’ll be able to measure them to see if you hit them or not.

Trackable metrics. When you finish your project, SMART goals help you evaluate its success. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it. In fact, at Asana, we aim to hit about 70% of our goals. That way, we know we’re setting challenging—but possible—goals. Whether you hit your goal or not, SMART goals can help you evaluate your goal, and you can learn from that.

Effective resource allocation. SMART goals make it easier for managers to distribute necessary resources efficiently, whether that's staff, budget, or even time.

Motivation and career development. When goals are achievable and relevant, it boosts team morale. It also creates opportunities for individual career development, as team members may need to acquire a new skill to meet their objectives.

Cons of SMART Goals

Oversimplification. Although the SMART goal framework can be incredibly effective for clarifying objectives, it may also lead to the oversimplification of more intricate, multilayered goals. If your goal is complicated, consider breaking it down into smaller sub-goals before using the SMART framework.

Short-term focus. The emphasis on time-based objectives might discourage more visionary planning, especially around the long-term mission of your business. If this applies to your situation, try creating a vision statement instead. 

Potential to hinder creativity. SMART goals can box you in. Their strict guidelines make you zero in on specific tasks, leaving little room for unexpected, game-changing ideas.

Possibility for a narrow focus. Adopting a SMART objectives approach could lead to tunnel vision, causing team members to lose sight of the organization's broader strategic goals. To avoid this, make sure to connect your SMART goals back to larger organizational objectives —so it’s clear why they matter and how they’re contributing to business success. 

Resource intensive. Smaller teams might feel a bit overwhelmed by the need for measurable outcomes. This is because tracking those metrics often requires investing time and money in specialized analytics tools. 

5 SMART goals examples

Ready to get started? Before you write your own, take a look at these five examples of SMART goals to see how each one aligns with the SMART criteria.

1.  Business goal

Example: Produce at least three different types of large-scale marketing assets (e.g. ebook, webinar, videos, sales one- or two-pagers) per month for Q1.

Why it’s SMART: This business goal is specific (large-scale marketing assets) , measurable (three different types) , achievable and realistic (this depends on how many project team members there are, but we can assume there are enough to cover the three assets per month), and time-bound (per month for Q1) .

2. Team goal

Example: The product team will partner on five cross-functional projects focused on usability testing, customer surveys, customer marketing, or research and development during the first half of FY22.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (projects focused on usability testing, customer surveys, customer marketing, or research and development) , measurable (five cross-functional projects) , achievable (five projects in six months), realistic (the project spans the entire product team), and time-bound (during the first half of FY22) .

3. Professional goal

Example: During 2021, I will develop my management skills through mentorship, with at least two mentees from either our company Employee Resource Groups or my alumni network.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (management skills through mentorship) , measurable (at least two mentees) , achievable and realistic (this person has given themselves two different avenues through which to find mentees), and time-bound (during 2021) .

4. Personal goal

Example: I will train to run the March San Diego half marathon in less than two hours.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (San Diego half marathon) , measurable (in less than two hours) , achievable (two hours is an ambitious but doable pace for most runners with proper training), realistic (this person has established they will train in preparation for the half marathon), and time-bound (March) .

5. Nonprofit goal

Example: We will provide 100 hours of free tutoring for middle school students in math and history during the month of February.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (tutoring for middle school students in math and history) , measurable (100 hours) , achievable and realistic (depending on the amount of volunteers the nonprofit has), and time-bound (during the month of February) .

6 steps to make your goal SMART

When you’re ready to set your own SMART goal, kick things off by jotting down your project objective in a sentence or two. Then fine-tune it with each of the five SMART attributes. 

To make the goal-setting process smoother, you can use this SMART goals template to get some hands-on practice in setting your SMART objectives.

1. Initial goal:   Write down whatever your initial goal is. Don’t worry about it not being completely SMART—we’ll get to that later in the template.

Example: I want to improve our company brand on social media.

2. Make it Specific:   Does your goal define exactly what you want to do? If not, re-work the language to make it specific to your particular project.

Example, continued: Improve our company brand on Instagram with company-specific hashtags.

3. Make it Measurable:   Have you established how you’ll measure your goal once your project is complete? If not, add a way to measure success or failure at the end of your project.

Example, continued: Develop company-specific hashtags to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers.

4. Make it Achievable:   Is your goal something you can achieve, given your project scope? Make sure this specific goal falls within your project capabilities.

Example, continued: Develop and use company-specific hashtags, in conjunction with popular hashtags in our industry, to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers.

5. Make it Realistic:   Can your project team reasonably hit your goal? Even if it’s a stretch goal, make sure this is something you can accomplish with your resources.

Example, continued: Post once daily on Instagram, and ensure every post has a mixture of company-specific hashtags and popular hashtags in our industry in order to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers.

6. Make it Time-bound:   When will you achieve your goal? Make sure you clarify your target date or time frame in your SMART goal.

Example, continued: Post every workday on Instagram for the first half of FY22. Ensure every post has a mixture of company-specific hashtags and popular hashtags in our industry in order to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers by June 30th.

What to do after creating your SMART goals

Do you track your goals in emails, meetings, or spreadsheets? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Asana Goals Report , 53% of businesses track their goals via email, 36% track them in spreadsheets, and 31% track them in in-person meetings.

The challenge with tracking your goals is finding a way to connect your goals with your team’s daily work. You’ve taken all of this time to create a SMART goal—keeping it front of mind can help you make sure you achieve it. At Asana, we believe goals should be closely connected to the work they’re, well, connected to. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Share your SMART goals with project stakeholders and team members

At the start of the project, make sure you surface your SMART goals to everyone involved in the work. Your SMART goals should guide your whole team as you work on project deliverables, so you know exactly whether or not you hit your project objectives.

The best way to do that is with a work management tool like Asana. That way, your team has a central source of truth with all information in the same place—from your daily work all the way to your project’s goals. Instead of hiding your goals in docs, decks, and other hard-to-find places, connect them to your daily work so everyone is motivated, focused, and on the same page.

2. Check in on progress regularly

In addition to sharing your SMART goals with your team at the beginning of your project, make sure you periodically measure the progress you’ve made towards your goal. You don’t want to work on the project and then find, at the very end of the work, that you’ve missed your goals. You’ve worked hard to set specific, measurable goals for a reason—you can use them as your north star, and course correct during your project if necessary.

The best way to regularly check in on your SMART goals is to send weekly project status updates . Status updates are a great way for you to highlight the important work your team did, any upcoming milestones, and whether or not you’re on track.

3. Evaluate your success

SMART goals bring clarity to your goal-setting process—so you can gauge exactly whether or not you hit your project goals. If you did, it’s time to celebrate! And even if you didn’t, having such clear goals—and checking in on your goals regularly—can help you best identify what went wrong and where you can do better next time.

Remember, not hitting your goals doesn’t mean your project was a total failure. You may have purposefully set a stretch goal to challenge yourself or your team. Even if you didn’t set a stretch goal, it’s more important to calmly evaluate why you missed your target rather than pretend it didn’t happen. That way, you can learn from your mistakes and bring those learnings with you the next time you set SMART goals.

Set smarter goals

SMART goals can help your team succeed by bringing clarity into the goal-setting and project management processes. When your team has clarity and is moving in the same direction, they’re more likely to be motivated and to know what work to prioritize.

Visualizing and tracking your goals both makes them easier to measure and achieve. In Asana, you can set, track, and report on your SMART goals all in one space. With the ability to connect with everyone on your team and share with stakeholders, you can coordinate everything you need to achieve your most ambitious goals.

SMART goals FAQ

What does the smart goals acronym stand for.

The SMART goals acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. George T. Doran popularized this framework, which offers a methodical approach to setting goal-specific objectives. By following the SMART acronym, you're more likely to set specific goals that are both effective and achievable.

What are the 5 SMART goals

The 5 SMART goals refer to the five criteria that any SMART objective should meet. These are:

Specific: Clearly defined objectives that spell out what you aim to achieve.

Measurable: Quantifiable goals that allow you to track your progress.

Attainable: Goals that are challenging yet achievable, ensuring you're not setting yourself up for failure.

Relevant: Objectives that align with your broader aims and values.

Time-bound: Goals that come with a deadline promote effective time management.

How do I write a SMART goal?

To write a SMART goal, begin by defining what you specifically want to accomplish. Next, determine how you'll measure success and ensure that your objective is attainable. Make sure the goal is relevant to your broader life or career ambitions. Finally, add a timeframe to create a sense of urgency. A well-crafted SMART goal might look like this: "I want to increase my LinkedIn network by 200 connections within the next three months."

What are the best SMART goals?

The best SMART goals are those that are closely aligned with your own or your organization's broader aims, serving as stepping stones toward your ultimate goal. They should challenge you while still being achievable. These goals should be easily measurable and promote effective time management, allowing you to allocate resources wisely. For example, if career development is a priority, an excellent SMART goal could be "to complete an advanced course in digital marketing within the next six months."

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How to Write SMART Goals: Explained with Examples

A SMART Goal Template

Free SMART Goal Template

Ayush Jalan

  • January 1, 2024

SMART Goals

SMART goals are stepping stones to your destination. Setting the right goals at the right time makes the journey toward your success clear and achievable. They help you focus and create direction for everyone in the organization. Making goals help you prioritize the next big thing that’s on your list.

Oftentimes, it is easier to lose sight of the reasons why you started something. Having set goals makes you feel good about the small achievements and keeps you excited about the ones yet to come. Furthermore, goals give meaning to everyday tasks and help you see the bigger picture while also paying attention to the present.

Clearly, goals are essential for any business, but how effectively you set them defines their efficacy. Setting the wrong goals stagnates growth and disheartens you. Therefore, set quantifiable goals.

Table of Contents

What are smart goals.

  • How to set SMART goals?
  • Examples of SMART goals

In this article, you will learn the SMART method of setting goals.

Most times, we make goals that are very vague and that lack a plan that will help us achieve them. For instance, when you set a goal such as “I will eat better” or “I will make more money,” these don’t mention the process, the time, or any specifics of the goal.

Vague and immeasurable goals are unachievable because there is no clear metric to judge their success or failure.

SMART is a method that will help you create clear and measurable goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These are the 5 attributes that should be kept in mind while making goals.

This concept was first introduced in 1989 by George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company. In his paper  ‘There’s a Smart Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives, he describes SMART goals as a tool for businesses to make success more feasible.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the traits of SMART goals.

How to Set SMART Goals?

Now you know that setting goals are not something you do on a whim, but an explicit and thoroughly evaluated process. These are the five steps that you need to follow while creating SMART goals:

  • Add specific details
  • Mention how you will measure it
  • Make sure it is attainable
  • Make it relevant
  • Create a timeline

Now, let’s see how to write SMART goals.

Step 1: Add Specific Details

The first step to creating SMART goals is to describe your goal clearly and mention details that will help you achieve that goal. These are the five ‘W’ questions that should be answered during this step:

  • What – Mention what you want to achieve through this goal. And try to be as detailed as possible.
  • Why – Specify the reasons why you have set this goal. Write down its importance.
  • Who – Mention all the people involved in this goal. Mention their roles and contribution toward the goal.
  • Where – Mention where it is located. This might not be necessary for personal goals, but if there are any details related to the location, write them down here.
  • Which – State the resources involved and constraints you may have. This will be essential to determine if your goal is attainable or not.

Answering all the above questions help you will get a better understanding of how you can achieve your goal with the resources you have. This will also help you identify any obstacles that you may have along the way.

Step 2: Mention How You will Measure It

measure goals

Listing out the specifics isn’t enough to achieve a goal, it’s important to determine how you will measure and track your progress . Now in this step, you will choose suitable metrics that will help you do that. Setting milestones along the way will help you decide whether you are on the right track or not. With this analysis, you can correct your trajectory if needed.

Step 3: Make Sure it is Attainable

attainable goals

It’s good to aim high but if your goals are simply unrealistic and impossible to achieve then you are more likely to fail than succeed. Setting goals that are well within your ability to achieve is the right way of approach.

To verify if your goals are achievable are not, you should consider the time required to achieve them, the resources you have, and the obstacles that may come your way. All these aspects together will help you decide if they are realistic or not.

Step 4: Make it Relevant

To ensure the goal is relevant to you, you should observe how important it is for you and how it aligns with your business plan. To decide whether the goal is relevant or not you should answer these questions:

  • Is it justifying the time and effort you put towards achieving this goal?
  • Is this the right time for you to take up this goal?
  • Does it align with your needs and bigger goals?
  • Are you a suitable person for this goal?
  • Is it appropriate for your current socioeconomic status?

If your answer is ‘Yes’ to all the above questions, then your goal is relevant and you can proceed. In case you have answered ‘No’ , then you should rethink your goals.

Step 5: Create a Timeline

Create a Timeline

The final step is to create a schedule and set a deadline for your goal. A single target date is not enough to keep you motivated to achieve the goal. Hence, it is essential to establish milestones that will assist you to prioritize your goals over your everyday tasks.

These business milestones include regularly reviewing your progress, deciding when to do a particular task, specifying when to accomplish a part of the goal, etc. Before you begin, you should also define whether your goal is long-term or short-term; this will help you plan the timeline accordingly.

Examples of SMART Goals

A SMART goal is a tool every business needs to incorporate into its goal-setting process . Here are two examples that will help you better understand how to implement what we have just learned.

  • Goal: I want to increase my profits
  • Specific: I will increase my revenue by cutting down expenses and operational costs by moving to an affordable place.
  • Measurable: I will take up new projects and take on new clients in the next 6 months. I will review my finances monthly to track my progress.
  • Attainable: I will create new leads through promotion by referrals, social media, and brand networking, thereby increasing revenue through new clients.
  • Relevant: Relocation to a cheaper office will reduce costs, which I can further invest in marketing, contributing towards achieving the goal.
  • Time-bound: My profits would have increased by the end of 6 months. I will set milestones to help me stay focused and motivated to achieve the goal.

SMART Goal Statement: I want to increase my profits by cutting down some operational costs by moving to a cheaper place and using that capital to generate new leads that will help me increase revenue. I will review my financial progress monthly and set milestones to help me stay focused on the goal that I will achieve by the end of 6 months.

  • Goal: I want to get a promotion
  • Specific: I want to attain the required qualifications to get promoted to a managerial position.
  • Measurable: I will review my progress and take tests to analyze my skill development.
  • Attainable: My manager is nearing his retirement and there will soon be an opportunity for me to apply for the position. In addition to that, considering my experience in the company I might have a greater chance of promotion.
  • Relevant: This is a great opportunity for me as I have all the resources and time required. Moreover, my manager is also willing to guide me through this process.
  • Time-bound: My manager will retire by the end of this quarter, which will give me 4 months to get certification for the skills that I need. The course that I am taking requires 3 months of training, and I will have one more month to prepare myself for the process.

SMART Goal Statement: I want to acquire qualifications for the upcoming opportunity of a managerial position by taking a three-month course and with the guidance of my current manager, who is nearing his retirement. I will review my progress monthly to keep track of it and refine my skills before the promotion process begins.

Start Making SMART Goals

We hope these examples helped you understand how to make SMART goals . Remember, goals without a plan to achieve them are simply wishes. The ideal way to set up a goal is to create a framework that will help you reach it.

Goals and milestones help achieve desired outcomes and to businesses this means profit. SMART is an effective tool to bring clarity, focus, and motivation that will take you a step closer every time you work towards your goal.

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About the Author

writing goal statements examples

Ayush is a writer with an academic background in business and marketing. Being a tech-enthusiast, he likes to keep a sharp eye on the latest tech gadgets and innovations. When he's not working, you can find him writing poetry, gaming, playing the ukulele, catching up with friends, and indulging in creative philosophies.

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What is a goal statement?

3 benefits of writing a professional goal statement, how do i write a personal goal statement, how do i write a business goal statement, the bottom line.

Setting a career goal is like plotting your route on a roadmap. Back in the days of paper maps (remember those?), we would put a sticker at the endpoint and work backward from there. We’d highlight the roads, gas stations, and attractions we want visit along the way.

These days, GPS has automated the route-planning process — but there’s no GPS for your career. You’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Creating a goal statement is one way to plan your career. 

People often assume that we're stuck with a goal once we pick it. That’s not true. A career goal statement is dynamic and grows with you. Like any road trip, you’re free to change course or pick a new destination altogether. 

Using goal statements, let’s go over how you can set goals that will supercharge your career and personal development.

There are two main types of goal statements: a personal goal statement and a business goal statement. 

Personal statement

This kind of goal focuses on your personal, long-term career objectives. Think about what you want to accomplish, your dream job title, and the new skills you need to reach it. These are all part of your personal goals. Then you have to create a plan to achieve your end result.

You can include this as a statement of purpose on your resume or cover letter to communicate your ambitions to a hiring manager.

Business statement

As the name suggests, a business goal statement focuses on the long-term development of your business. It provides the framework for your day-to-day operations. This kind of goal statement also includes your core objective, key performance indicators, and the tasks required to arrive where you want to be.

This kind of goal statement may be more for entrepreneurs . However, whether you’re thinking of starting your own business or just want to be involved in the development of your current company, a business statement could be beneficial.

(D2C) BetterUp Blog - improve influence_half size_v2

Here are a few reasons why you should consider writing a goal statement. 

1. You can use it as a strong motivator 

A strong goal and plan of action can keep you going on the tough days. If you feel frustrated with where you’re at, you can look back at your goal statement and plan for the next step. 

When in doubt, you can also try positive self-talk and review your progress so far. Looking back at goals you’ve achieved already can give you a boost when you’re not feeling particularly motivated . 

2. Keeps you on task and accountable

Like any good plan , a goal statement will help you measure your progress. Specific tasks with appropriate deadlines will keep you on schedule as you work towards your goal.

You can also share your goals with a friend or colleague. This will add a layer of external accountability to ensure you never stray too far from your ambitions. In fact, studies show that you have a 65% greater chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone else that you will do it.

Woman-Writing-Notes-In-Notepad

3. Gives you a clear direction in your life and career

Human beings have the gift of free will. We can take our lives in any direction we choose. But sometimes, the choices are overwhelming . A clear goal will keep you on the right track in your career advancement.

Research even shows that writing down your goal and making an action commitment increases your chances of achieving your goal . 

Writing a goal statement should be exciting as you consider everything you can accomplish in the future. However, if you need extra support, consider a platform like BetterUp . We can help you talk your goals out and keep you on track. 

Want to know how to write a personal goal statement? Follow these six steps: 

  • Focus on your passions
  • Understand what your goal entails
  • Visualize the future you want
  • Use the SMART method of goal setting
  • Make an action plan
  • Be flexible 

Let’s dive into each of these steps. 

1. Focus on your passions

This step involves some self-reflection . Think about what gets you out of bed in the morning. Maybe you enjoy being of service to the public, you’re obsessed with building the next big consumer product, or you love spending time with your family. These are all valid passions to include in your goal.

If you don’t know what your passion is , try experimenting. Volunteering or freelancing is an excellent way to expose yourself to other experiences.

Mom-Baby-And-Dog-Walking-On-Path-Morning-Routine

2. Understand what your goal entails

Do your research. Try reading blogs, joining community forums online, and attending conferences. Look for folks who have jobs you want and ask how they reached their position. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible as you plot your goal and achieve it.

3. Visualize the future you want

With the information you’ve accumulated so far, think about what your life could look like with this career. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Where do you see yourself in five years ? 10 years?
  • What projects did you love working on? Which did you hate?
  • What are some skills you can improve on? What are you really good at?
  • What impression do you want to leave on your colleagues?
  • Why do you love your job and your field?
  • How does your work align with your values ?

Hopefully, these questions will teach you something about yourself and help you write a more personal goal statement. 

4. Use the SMART method

The “ SMART goals method ” is a way of setting and achieving your goals. Here’s what each term means:

  • Specific: Make sure your goal is concrete and concise. You don’t want any confusion about the task at hand.
  • Measurable: You need a way to measure success. Pick a benchmark that will mark your finish line.
  • Attainable: If you aim too high too quickly, you’ll set yourself up for failure . Make sure your goals are achievable. 
  • Relevant: Choose goals that are related to your passions and values. Don’t aim to work at a bank if you’re passionate about NGOs.
  • Time-bound: Set long- and short-term time frames for your goals. The end of the year is often a clean deadline to strive for.

5. Make an action plan

Now that you have a long-term goal, decide how you’ll achieve it. Include things like graduate school, professional development courses, and mentorships you might need to get there. 

6. Be flexible

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Be ready to adjust, adapt, or replace your goals if that’s what you need to be happy . Remember: This is your roadmap, and you can change your destination or add any detours that you please. 

Board-of-directors-planning-during-meeting

Example personal goal statements

Here are some personal goal statement examples to inspire you: 

  • “I will become the director of research operations at my company within the next five years. To do this, I will develop my administration and leadership skills and build a positive relationship with the research teams.” 
  • “Over the next year, I will develop a reputation as a reliable graphic designer and secure 20 new freelance clients. To do this, I will focus on high-profile contracts and promote my work through social media.”
  • “I will attend school, and change careers from accounting to IT in the next four years. This will mean taking night classes and sacrificing free time to do my assignments.”

Business goals require less soul-searching than personal goals, but there are still some things you should look out for.

1. Match it to your mission statement

Mission statements are the philosophy of the company. Make sure that your personal goals align with that mission. 

For example, your company might sell paper, and your mission might be to “Build a greener future.” A compatible goal would be to set a clear, measurable recycling quota for your departments.

2. Stack your deck with ACES

“ACES” is another goal acronym that stands for:

  • Achieve: What’s your ideal benchmark?
  • Conserve: What’s worth keeping?
  • Eliminate: What should you get rid of?
  • Steer clear: What should your company avoid?

These elements will help you keep the ship pointed in the right direction.

Workers-Discuss-Productivity-At-Factory-Warehouse

3. Track your results

What are your key performance indicators? Every objective should have a measurable goal attached.

The key term here is “measurable.” If your goal is to boost Twitter engagement, define how many “likes” would constitute a success. If you want to improve sales, pick a number. Be as specific as possible, and make sure your specificity is attainable.

Example business goal statements

We’ll say your paper company sells stationery to consumers. While there’s no template or true goal statement format, your mission is to “help customers build authentic connections through letter-writing.” 

One of your business goals might be “give customers an easy way to create personalized stationery.” This goal is aligned with the organization’s mission and is easily measurable. 

You could build a web tool where consumers customize their stationery before ordering to achieve that goal. You can then measure the tool’s performance based on how many consumers use it. Remember, be specific. Maybe you aim for 100 new users per month in the beginning and gradually increase as the platform becomes popular.

It’s important to prepare before embarking on a road trip. You’ll need an emergency kit, a spare tire, and some snacks. Professional goals are no different. You’ll have to be ready for life’s many twists and turns, so set a clear destination, make a plan, and fill your toolbox with the right skills. Writing goal statements is an easy way to point yourself in the right direction.

Thankfully, BetterUp is here to support you on your journey, too. With the right questions, tools, and team, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

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Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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SMART Goals Examples

10 Powerful SMART Goal Examples to Help You Achieve Your Dreams

Let’s cut to the chase: These SMART goal examples can help you to achieve your dreams. How? Because they can help you to create powerful goals that get results.

Why does this matter? If you don’t create SMART goals, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You know what they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

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Okay, but what is a SMART goal exactly, and how can they help you improve your life?

In this article, we’ll explore 10 powerful SMART goal examples, and you’ll learn how to write a SMART goal to achieve anything.

Let’s dive in.

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writing goal statements examples

What Is a SMART Goal?

‘SMART’ is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or Attainable), Relevant, and Time-bound. SMART goals meet all 5 of these criteria — and, as a result, are strategic, focused, and actionable.

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Let’s explore each characteristic a little further.

  • Specific : The goal should be very precise with no room for misinterpretation.
  • Measurable : The goal should be quantifiable, and progress should be easy to track.
  • Achievable : The goal should be attainable — not outlandish or unrealistic.
  • Relevant : The goal should contribute to your broader, overarching goals.
  • Time-bound : The goal should have a defined start and end date.

Why Are SMART Goals Important?

Why use SMART goals? When you use the SMART goal framework, you rid yourself of confusion and gain clarity. Setting a SMART goal will help you understand exactly what you need to do (and when you need to do it) to achieve your desired outcome.

As Zig Ziglar, motivational teacher and trainer, once said , “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

On the other hand, if your goals aren’t SMART, they’re… well, dumb!  

Seriously, goals that aren’t SMART are often more like wishes and resolutions — they feel good to make, but they’re virtually impossible to implement and achieve.

In short, you’re more likely to achieve your goal when you make it SMART.

Why Are SMART Goals Important? Zig Ziglar Quote

10 Effective SMART Goal Examples

Now that you understand what they are and why they’re important let’s look at some SMART goal examples to inspire you.

These 10 SMART goal-setting examples showcase how you can create powerful personal, business, work, and leadership goals.

Personal SMART Goal Examples

Here are some examples of personal SMART goals to show you how you can improve anything in your life.

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to get fit.

SMART Goal Example:

  • Specific: I’m going to start running daily and train for a marathon.
  • Measurable: I will follow the Nike app training program to run a full marathon without stopping.
  • Achievable: I have done some running before, my body is reasonably healthy, and the marathon is 6 months from now.
  • Relevant: I want to become a fit, healthy, and strong person — I want to be full of vitality, energy, and zest for life!
  • Time-bound: I have signed up for a marathon 6 months from now.

SMART Goal Example Summary: 

I’m going to follow the Nike app training program to run a marathon 6 months from now without stopping.

2. Achieve a Personal Project

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to write a book.

  • Specific: I’m going to write a 60,000-word sci-fi novel.
  • Measurable: I will finish writing 60,000 words in 6 months.
  • Achievable: I will write 2,500 words per week.
  • Relevant: I’ve always dreamed of becoming a professional writer.
  • Time-bound: I will start writing tomorrow on January 1st, and finish June 30th.

I’m going to write a 60,000-word novel in 6 months, finishing on June 30th. I will do this by writing 2,500 words per week.

3. Improve Relationships

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to improve my relationships.

  • Specific: I will develop my relationships with David, Sarah, and Mom.
  • Measurable: I will call each of these people twice per week.
  • Achievable: I talk to these people regularly, and we always say how it’d be nice to talk more.
  • Relevant: I want to deepen my social ties, feel more loved and supported in my life, and support those I love.
  • Time-bound: I will stick to this plan for 3 months, then re-evaluate and plan my next steps.

I will call David, Sarah, and Mum twice per week for 3 months to develop my relationships with them.

Business SMART Goal Examples

Whether you want to start or grow a company, here are a few business SMART goal examples to help inspire your goal-setting process.

4. Start a Business

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to be an entrepreneur.

  • Specific: I will start a dropshipping business .
  • Measurable: I will work on my business for 1 hour each day, and the goal is to land my first sale within 2 weeks.
  • Achievable: I have watched some videos on dropshipping and know that I can use Shopify to start a business quickly .
  • Relevant: I want to quit my job, work from home, and be my own boss .
  • Time-bound: I will begin on Saturday and land my first sale within two weeks.

I will start a dropshipping business with Shopify on Saturday. I will spend 1 hour on this business each day and work to land my first sale within two weeks.

5. Market a Business

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to make more sales.

  • Specific: I’m going to learn how to use Facebook Ads and invest 30% of my profits into this marketing channel.
  • Measurable: The goal is to double my sales within 3 months.
  • Achievable: I have a reasonably successful small business that is ready to handle a growth in sales.
  • Relevant: I want to make 6-figures per year working from home.
  • Time-bound: I will start a Facebook Ads course tomorrow and start running paid campaigns within 1 week. Then, I’ll continue to learn and scale-up, and evaluate my results in 3 months.

I will begin a Facebook Ads course tomorrow and start investing 30% of my business profits into paid campaigns within 1 week. I will continue to learn and invest in Facebook Ads to double my sales within 3 months.

6. Grow a Business

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to grow my business.

  • Specific: I’m going to hire a virtual assistant (VA) to manage customer service inquiries for me. That way, I can free up time to conduct product research and add new products to my store.
  • Measurable: The goal is to hire a VA and add 5 new products to my store.
  • Achievable: I have some experience hiring freelancers on Upwork, and I understand how to find winning products .
  • Relevant: I aim to work on my business, not in my business so that I can grow my income and work less hours.
  • Time-bound: I will hire a VA within 2 weeks and then add 5 new products to my store within 1 month.

I will hire a VA to manage customer service inquiries within 2 weeks to free up time. I’ll use this time to research and add 5 new products to my store before the end of the month.

SMART Goal Examples for Work

Here are a couple of professional SMART goal examples for work to help you progress in a rewarding career.

7. Land a Dream Job

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to get a better job.

  • Specific: I’m going to become a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist for a leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) company like Shopify and work remotely.
  • Measurable: I will apply to a minimum of 8 job applications within two months.
  • Achievable: I’ve worked as an SEO specialist for two years in an office for an accounting firm, and I’m good at my job.
  • Relevant: I want to collaborate with interesting people, contribute to something innovative, and join a company with room for me to grow. Also, I want to travel long-term as a digital nomad .
  • Time-bound: I will apply to 8 suitable job applications within two months by submitting 1 application per week.

I will land my dream job working for a SaaS company like Shopify and travel long-term as a digital nomad. To achieve this, I will apply to 1 job per week for 2 months — submitting a total of 8 job applications.

8. Earn a Promotion

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to secure a promotion.

  • Specific: I’m going to earn a promotion and become a senior SEO specialist.
  • Measurable: I will complete the required training and submit my application. I will also take on an additional work project to demonstrate my readiness to shoulder more responsibility.
  • Achievable: I’ve worked as an SEO specialist for 3 years, and my work has produced significant results. Also, my company is looking to take on another senior SEO specialist at the end of this quarter.
  • Relevant: I want to keep learning and challenging myself as I progress in my career.
  • Time-bound: I will take on 1 additional work project within the next 2 weeks, complete the required training within 6 weeks, and submit my application within 8 weeks.

I’m going to land a promotion to become a senior SEO specialist at my company. I will do this by taking on an additional work project within 2 weeks, completing the required training within 6 weeks, and submitting my application within 8 weeks.

Leadership SMART Goal Examples

Here are some examples of SMART goals for leaders to illustrate how you can lead a team to success.

9. Improve Team Results

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to help my team land more sales.

  • Specific: I’m going to help my team qualify sales leads better, so they only spend their time selling to people who are likely to purchase.
  • Measurable: The goal is to increase the team’s sales by 5%.
  • Achievable: We’ve identified the top reason our leads don’t purchase: they don’t fully match our target market . If we can ensure everyone we call matches our target market, our sales will likely increase.
  • Relevant: Our core aim is to grow company sales by more than 20% this year.
  • Time-bound: We aim to increase sales by 5% within 3 months before re-evaluating our strategy.

I will lead my team to improve our qualification process so that the team only calls high qualified leads that are likely to purchase. We aim to increase sales by 5% within 3 months.

10. Manage a Team Effectively

Weak Goal Example: I’m going to help the team communicate better.

  • Specific: I’m going to help the team communicate better to free up time wasted on communication inefficiencies. This way, the team can spend this time on their core responsibilities instead.
  • Measurable: Our time-tracking software shows that team members spend an average of 1.5 hours per day on email. We aim to cut this time in half to 45 minutes per day.
  • Achievable: We can avoid the confusion created by long email chains with a team messaging solution like Slack. If we implement a messaging solution, it’s plausible that we can drastically reduce the time spent on email.
  • Relevant: I want to empower my team to produce their best work and increase their impact by reducing time wasted on unnecessary and inefficient tasks.
  • Time-bound : We will implement a messaging solution within two weeks and half the time spent on communication within the next month.

I will improve team communication and free up wasted time by implementing a team messaging solution within two weeks. The aim is to cut the time spent on messaging from an average of 1.5 hours to 45 minutes per day per team member within 1 month.

Summary: How to Write a SMART Goal

Why are SMART goals effective? In short, they can help you gain clarity on your objective and ensure that you do what’s needed to achieve your goals.

In summary, follow these 5 simple steps when learning how to set smart goals:

  • Specific : Determine what you want.
  • Measurable : Identify what success is.
  • Achievable : Make sure your goal is reasonable.
  • Relevant : Ensure your goal aligns with your overarching goals.
  • Time-bound : Set a deadline and create a schedule.

Now it’s your turn! Take a few minutes to set a SMART goal that will move you closer to your dream life or business.

Feeling brave? Share your new SMART goal in the comments below!

Want to Learn More?

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writing goal statements examples

How to Write Goals for Work in 2024: Writing Goals 101 with Examples

By Jessica Wishart

How to write effective goal

Annual & Quarterly Planning

Strategy Execution

how to write goals

Sadly, professional goal achievement doesn't fare much better; 67% of great strategies fail due to poor execution. Writing an effective goal will increase your chances of successfully achieving that goal or quarterly rock. Fortunately, goal-setting is a skill that you can learn and improve. Setting goals and priorities is essential to running a great company with proper professional development so it is worth the time and effort to improve this skill to write effective performance goals.

Here are 6 Easy Steps to Goal Writing:

Hbspt.cta._relativeurls=true;hbspt.cta.load(116436, '6c5752e3-7f51-4270-ac93-5cae56f2c18c', {"usenewloader":"true","region":"na1"});, how to write effective goals, use rhythm systems ai goal coach.

Rhythm SMART AI Goal Coach is an incredibly powerful tool for achieving personal and professional goals. Whether you’re starting a new business, searching for a new job, or simply looking to improve yourself, the goal coach provides you with guidance and resources to help you reach your goals. It starts by gathering information about your current status and then establishes short-term, executable objectives broken down into manageable steps. The goal coach also ensures that each step has a specific deadline so that users can keep on track toward their target goal. Finally, the goal coach offers personalized advice and feedback to help users stay motivated and constantly evaluate their progress while considering potential pitfalls they may encounter. With its helpful features, Rhythm SMART AI Goal Coach is a great way to ensure that your efforts are channeled in the right direction so you can enjoy the rewards of achieving success.

Make it Actionable.

Use a verb when writing your goal. Goal setting must be clear and specific about what you will do. Anyone should be able to read your goal and understand exactly what you'll be doing. For example, we see goals that simply say, "Tradeshow." You can increase the likelihood of successfully setting and achieving your key result by making it more specific: "Get the contact information for 20 leads from demo booth at Trade Show." Specific goals make it clear for all involved parties and leave no room for interpretation.  

Assign an Accountable Goal Owner.

Many people may contribute work to your priority or goal, but there should only be one owner-one person who is accountable for the priority's success. Without one clear owner, the goal may slip off your radar screen; you need someone who is driving it, coordinating all the moving parts, keeping the momentum going, and ensuring the work gets done. This is often overlooked in goal-setting, yet it is one of the most important.

Establish Timing.

When setting priorities, always include a start and end date and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given time frame. Time-bound goals are important, especially if others are dependent on you completing this goal and creating a sense of urgency.

Clearly Define Success.

Determine clear success criteria for your priority so you know what it looks like to achieve the goal. If your goal is a business one, ensure your expectations of success are aligned with everyone on the team. Everyone needs to agree on when we reach the goal to ensure that we are achieving success. We use a simple Red-Yellow-Green method to set clear success criteria :

  • Red = Failure or unacceptable performance on the priority
  • Yellow = Between Red and Green
  • Green = Successful completion of the goal
  • SuperGreen = Stretch goal

Connect to Why.

Understanding how this goal fits into the big picture is important and will help you stay motivated. Link this priority to your longer-term strategy or connect it to your larger goals in some clear way to increase the likelihood that you will complete it.

Break Goal Writing Down into Milestone Actions.

Once your goal is written, the real work begins now. You have to execute to achieve the goal. If you've followed the steps above, you've set yourself up for success by thinking and planning effectively against the actionable goal. This will help you maximize your chances of success now that you're ready to move into doing the work, and is an integral part of any plan.

If you are a manager, please read the manager's guide to goal setting or implementing OKRs in your organization for additional information.

Download Rhythm for OKRs: Simplify Your OKR Process

What Makes a SMART Goal?

When writing goals, follow the SMART goal framework as part of your writing process for each specific goal.

  • S= Specific: The objective is crystal clear
  • M = Measurable: It must be a measurable goal; otherwise, there can be confusion on whether the key result was accomplished
  • A = Attainable Goal
  • R = Realistic Goal
  • T = Time Bound (or timely)

Writing Goal Examples:

  • Keep it visible. Put it on a dashboard where others can see it and help you remain accountable to your stated goal and track your progress.
  • Status it weekly. How are you doing based on the success criteria you set out for yourself? Does this help to move the business plan forward?
  • Make adjustments as needed. If you can see that you aren't on track to hit the goal by the deadline, what else can you do to move forward? Do you need to enlist some help? Do you need to move your milestones around? Do you need to say no to some other things so you can focus more on your goal? It is okay to write a lofty goal, but make sure it is also attainable - yes, it is a fine line sometimes.
  • Include long-term goals. Remember to remember the end and plot out your long-term project goals. Too often, we focus on the immediate and urgent at the expense of longer-term success. Make sure you plan to work towards the longer-term goals, not just the short-term ones, with a clear action step outline.

How to Write Goals for Work Video:

What is smart goal setting.

Writing goals for work using SMART goal setting is an essential skill for both personal goals and professional success.  Writing goals down and tracking them on a weekly basis is essential for achieving success.

What are the benefits of goal setting?

Writing an effective goal will increase your chances of successfully achieving that goal or quarterly rock . It allows complete communication and trust between employees and managers with clearly defined outcomes, deadlines, and definitions of success.

How do I keep track of my progress?

Put it on a dashboard where others can see it and help you remain accountable to your stated goal and track your progress.  Rhythm Systems' strategic planning software can do this for you.

What if I use OKR Goals?

No problem, we can handle those too. Objectives and Key Results have been around for a long time, and we fully support them and have great ways to implement OKRs in your organization. In fact, we have a whole post dedicated to Mastering OKRs: How Artificial Intelligence Can Help You Set and Achieve Better Objectives and Key Results that will provide all that you need to know.  

Ready to join that elite 8 % of people who successfully hit their goals? Good luck, and please share any tips that help you write more effective goals. The journey to writing a brief description of how you plan to achieve your priority or what success looks like starts with a single word. Write SMART goals to get the most out of yourself and your team. If you need any help, you can count on the goal gurus at Rhythm Systems to help.

Need help getting your team goals aligned to your growth goals? Rhythm systems software was ranked the #1 easiest software to use, highest ROI, fastest implementation, and highest adoption rate on G2.

The Power of Systems and People: Accountable Leaders and Teams coaching programs to improve team performance.

Super SMART Goals

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Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Jessica Wishart

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How to Write Goal Statements: 3 Simple Steps with Examples

Why goal statements matter.

Writing goal statements can provoke plenty of debate and passion. Within the realm of key performance indicators (KPIs), goal statements are heavily used in the process of building KPI trees . 

There are various ways to approach these statements, but unfortunately, there are also numerous ways to make mistakes in the process. This post aims to help you craft effective goal statements to use in a variety of instances, from building your KPI trees to planning your business strategy to mapping out your future career. 

This post breaks it down into 3 simple steps, providing goal statement examples  for each step, as well as pointing out 3 common mistakes to avoid. Scroll down to the end of the post for some FAQs.

Man writing using typewriter to write goal statement

Typical time to write a goal statement: 10 minutes

How to write goal statements in 3 simple steps with examples

Brainstorm the outcomes and results you are looking for

Use whatever tool you are most comfortable brainstorming with. Focus on outcomes and results , not on activities and tasks .

Sign up for the Sawdust and Running Diet Plan

...is a task or action .

Maintain a healthy body weight

...is the result that you are likely striving for when you sign up for that diet.

light bulb, representing the concept of brainstorming

Sort your goals by breadth, select a goal to define

In Step 2, you rank the brainstormed objectives with the most strategic at the top and the least strategic at the bottom.

When you brainstorm goals around a particular topic, some of those goals will be low level.

Which goal should I choose?

Generally, we will set the goal based on the most strategic of the goals we have brainstormed, though you may have a specific reason to choose a lower level goal.

Let's say we are brainstorming goals around personal health and fitness. We might come up with both...

'We use comfortable running shoes'
'We have a long and healthy retirement'

Clearly the goal 'We have a long and healthy retirement' has a broader scope than 'We use comfortable running shoes'.

sports podium icon as a metaphor for ranking

Write your goal as 'future fact'

Write your goal as though it has already  been achieved. You can call this ' tomorrow's truth ' or ' future fact ' (credit to Stacey Barr for that term, here's a link to her article ).

  • Make sure you focus on outcomes and results, not activities and tasks.
  • Do not include targets and figures (these can be done separately, later on).
  • Use pronouns (I, we, us, our) to make it easier to write about 'future fact'.

The draft goal statement...

Build warehouse C17 by March

...is a task with a target delivery date. It is not clear why we should care about a new warehouse being built and what benefit it will deliver. Rewording this, focusing on outcomes and removing targets and goals, it becomes...

  • Our products are shipped without delay

upward chart on phone icon as metaphor for ideal future state

3 common mistakes when writing goal statements

Why goal wording matters.

In my professional experience, ' how to write goal statements ' is one of the most common questions that comes up when people are learning to build KPI trees and is something many people find difficult. It may be tempting to reach for the SMART goals  framework here, but scroll down to the FAQs section at the end of this post to find out why I don't recommend it.

Having run hundreds of goal writing sessions as the starting point for building KPI trees , there are 3 common mistakes that consistently pop up. The good news is that there are a few simple principles that can make writing effective goal statements much easier. Here are the 3 common mistakes and the simple fix.

The problem of writing goal statements using just tasks, action or activity

Mistake 1: Goal statements that are really 'Tasks, actions or activities'

If I go on a diet, my goal is not 'go on a diet'; it is to 'reach and maintain my ideal body weight'.

'Goals' that are tasks, actions or activities, perhaps including a deadline, may look like goals but are, in fact, not.

Here are three simple goals statements examples that are really tasks, actions or activities:

  • Build warehouse C17
  • All staff to complete health and safety training 101
  • Sign up for the 'saw-dust and running' diet plan

These are not goals because they don't describe the impact of those activities. On a practical level, once the task is complete, they cease to be meaningful, and that's not a great foundation for our KPI design.

Taking our first example, once 'Build warehouse C17' is completed, what happens? Why should we care? What is the beneficial outcome? All we have described is a task and a deadline for that task.

Put simply, goals are about the results and outcomes we want to achieve, not the actions we take to achieve them.

Now, tasks, actions and activities do have their place, typically as part of the OKRs that we develop alongside our KPIs, though these should not be confused.

Key points:

  • Tasks, actions and activities happen, then are complete, so they do not provide a solid foundation for selecting our KPIs.
  • Tasks, actions and activities do not describe the outcome or result we are looking for, merely the things that should take place.
  • We may decide to measure activity lower in our KPI tree , but this kind of KPI is a poor alternative to measuring outcomes and needs to be treated with caution.

The problem of how to write goal statement - Activity + Target + Timeframe

Mistake 2: Goals that are 'Activity plus Target plus Timeframe'

A target + timeframe goal will typically follow the verb + subject + target + timescale format. Here are three examples of this format...

  • Handover of operational new warehouse C17 by January 2024
  • Deliver H&S training to 100% of the staff by the close of this month
  • Complete 'saw-dust and running diet' and lose 20kg

The challenge with these statements comes in two parts.

Firstly , targets can be highly emotive and can distract from selecting meaningful measures.

For instance, in a commercial organisation, few people would argue with the concept of 'increasing profit'. However, if you were discussing a KPI tree with a sales team and you added the goal of 'Increase profit by 10x' there's a good chance many will have a very strong opinion about the legitimacy of that goal. That anger and emotion will distract from the almost certain agreement that 'increasing profit' is a good and sensible thing for the organisation to do.

Secondly , good targets take time, care and effort to create.

At this stage in the process, we probably don't know how we will measure something and/or what 'great' performance looks like. Targets should be a separate , later discussion apart from the discussion on whether we should be measuring something.

For both of these reasons, we should deal with targets separately and later in the process. Interestingly, I developed a 7-step method for organisational KPIs where targets come into play in Step 5. Click on the following link for an overview of the ROKS Enterprise method with all 7 steps.

  • Targets can be specific and emotive, clouding the discussion on whether the general goal is valid or not.
  • At this stage in the process, we don't know how we will measure the goal, or what 'good' performance looks like, so it is not sensible to try and set up targets just yet.
  • First, we set a measurable goal; later, we set the targets or key results.

The problem of how to write goal statement - Achieve Result X through Task, Action or Activity Y

Mistake 3: 'Achieve result through task' goals

Another common structure for written goals takes the form verb-subject-action (credit to Stacey Barr for that description ), like these:

  • Improve customer delivery times by building new warehouse C17 on time
  • Create a safe working environment through daily toolbox talks
  • Achieve ideal weight by following the 'saw-dust and running' diet

The issue with this kind of goal is that is far too easy to focus our measurement on the activity , or task , rather than the outcome . In fact, the wording actively encourages us to do this. So the focus for our first example would be to implement the 'Build warehouse C17 on time' rather than focus on improving customer delivery times.

  • Using the 'achieve result through task' structure encourages focus on measuring the activity rather than measuring the outcome.
  • This focus can also act to accidentally exclude other mechanisms that may positively support the outcome, but which we have not yet been identified.

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How to fix these common mistakes

A simple way to avoid these three problems is to word your goal as though it has already been achieved. You can call this ' tomorrow's truth ' or ' future fact ' (credit to Stacey Barr for that term ).

So here are our original three examples...

Rewriting these goal statements as 'future fact', they become...

  • We offer timely delivery to our customers
  • We have a safe working environment
  • I maintain a good body weight

These look good, but they still have a problem: woolly words .

Sheep - metaphor for woolly words in the context of writing goal statements

Woolly words: sound great, hard to pin down.

Woolly words are words that sound inspiring, but are really hard to measure or describe. Extreme examples include...

  • Best in breed
  • Bleeding edge

These are words that you will often find in advertising copy, mission and vision statements. They can make the reader feel great, but can be very difficult to clearly define and, as a result, measure.

In our example, our woolly words are...

If you still need persuasion that wording counts, check out this 'wording horror story' regarding the Cobra Effect !

3 great goal statement examples

Let's see what our three goal statement illustrations look like after replacing those woolly words with clear simple language:

  • Our team go home safely each day
  • We maintain a healthy body weight

When it comes to knowing how to write a goal statement, describing an ideal future state of the result we care about is one of the most powerful and natural ways of doing this.

Write as though it has already been achieved, making sure you avoid letting woolly words creep into your statements.

Put it into practise

There we have it! If you follow these 3 simple steps as well as the guidance on how to avoid the 3 most common mistakes, you will be writing goal statements that are in great shape to not only be turned into KPI trees , but also to guide your action setting to achieve your goals. Check out some final FAQs below and browse the Made to Measure blog for more valuable knowledge on all things KPIs.

Better KPIs using KPI Trees, turn your KPIs into meaningful KPIs visually

How to write goal statements FAQs

Shoud i use pronouns when i write my goal statement.

The use of pronouns such as I, we, us, our is optional, but from experience that they help the 'future fact' statements flow naturally, so their use is encouraged.

Should I use the SMART goals approach as a guide for how to write goals statements?

People tend to reach for the SMART goals approach (based on the work of Locke and Latham) as soon as they hear the word 'goal' mentioned.

The SMART approach states that all objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Targeted. In truth, SMART is more about setting specific targets than describing outcomes or results.

Experience has shown that as soon as you start mixing targets with broad objectives, the focus shifts to discuss the size of the target, taking focus off the objective and our reason for wanting to achieve it.

Once you have read this post (How to write goal statements) and are ready to set targets, try the ROKET-DS approach for a field-tested approach to setting effective targets and key results .

How can I tell if my goal statement has covered everything?

If you are writing goal statements for an 'ideal future', you can test it/them by asking the simple question 'could we achieve that goal (or those goals) but still have problems?'. If the answer to that question is 'yes' then your goal statement(s) is/are incomplete.

This approach is known as 'reverse brainstorming' and you can find out a lot more about it in this in-depth reverse brainstorming page  (along with a free downloadable how-to guide).

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Soft Skills

11 minute read

Your Guide to Career Goals Statements (and Why You Need One)

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

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Imagine that it’s a Monday morning, and you’ve just arrived at the office. You sit down at your desk, ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Now, tell me this: What’s on your mind?

Are you thinking through the meetings on your schedule? The emails that need to be answered? The tasks that must be completed that day? All of the above?

If so, you aren’t alone. Our workdays are busy, which means our minds are often consumed by what’s right in front of us. We take things day by day.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that (after all, that stuff does need to get done). But here’s the problem: It’s far too easy to become overwhelmed by those immediate things, that we neglect to zoom out and get a broader view of what we’re actually working toward (beyond completing that day’s to-do list).

This is exactly where a career goals statement comes in handy. It reminds you of your main objective and gives you a greater sense of direction. So let's look at some career goals statement examples!

Career-goals-statement-examples

What exactly is a career goals statement?

As the name implies, a career goals statement is your personal vision for the future of your career. Think of it as the ultimate target that you’re aiming toward.

For example, perhaps you’re currently employed as a marketing analyst, but your long-term career plan is to start your own marketing agency that primarily serves software clients. Or maybe you’re interested in  starting a small business  in a different field. Your career goals statement should formally document that objective.   Your career goals statement should formally document that objective.

What exactly is meant by “formally document”? Put simply, your goals statement should be written down—it’s not just something that lives in the back of your brain. We’ll talk more about why that’s important soon. But with all of that in mind, here’s what that career goals statement could look like:

I will start my own agency that provides an array of marketing services to clients in the software industry by the year 2025. I will accomplish this by maximizing any marketing position I fill in order to refine my skills, getting involved at community and social events to strengthen my connections, and scheduling informational interviews with current agency owners.

Many graduate schools actually require that a goals statement (otherwise referred to as a personal statement or statement of purpose) or a similar essay be submitted with a student’s application materials.

However, for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to focus on career goals statements that are used personally—for people who want to formalize their objectives and increase their understanding of what they’re working toward in their careers.

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Why does your career goals statement matter?

At first glance, a career goals statement might seem like an unnecessary formality. But make no mistake, working on your own career goals statement comes with several benefits.

1. It forces you to ask yourself the hard questions

Chances are, your average workday is full of questions. Should you do this or that first? Where’d you put that important file? What should you grab for lunch? Do you have time to snag another coffee ahead of that meeting?

Yes, you’re asking yourself plenty of questions—but you probably aren’t taking any time to reflect on the really important ones. When’s the last time you’ve checked in with yourself about things like:

  • What do you envision for your career in another 10 years?
  • What more can you do to work toward that vision?
  • What tasks or projects make you feel most fulfilled ?
  • What tasks or projects make you feel most drained?

Those are exactly the types of questions you’ll need to answer when creating your own career goals statement, and that chance for reflection is valuable for ensuring you don’t get caught up in the minutiae of your day-to-day.

2. It gives you a sense of direction

Have you ever felt sort of rudderless in your career? Like you were just clocking in and out each day for nothing more than a paycheck?

This is another benefit of creating your own career goals statement: It breaks you out of the monotony, dangles a carrot in front of your face, and renews your sense of motivation.

That’s because, as the Goal-Setting Theory explains, goals themselves are incredibly motivating. You feel much more inspired to get to work when you actually have a clear idea of what you’re working toward.

Additionally, focusing on the end game allows you to get a stronger grasp on what skills you’ll need to develop or refine in order to make that goal a reality.

3. It increases your accountability

There’s something almost intimidating about writing your goal down, isn’t there? You’ve documented it—it’s real, and now there’s a greater sense of accountability.

As frightening as it might seem, that’s actually a positive thing. Research shows that people who are able to vividly picture or describe their own goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to actually achieve them. What better way to get that clarity than by writing that objective down?

Plus, doing so will help make that goal stick. Other studies show that writing things down improves your memory of them.

5 tips to write your own career goals statement

A career goals statement offers numerous benefits. But what do you need to know to write one for yourself? Let’s cover five tips you should put into play.

1. Invest the time in reflection

Remember when we talked about the opportunity for self-reflection above? Before jumping right in with scribbling down your career goals statement, make sure you actually take the time to do that

This will help you avoid setting a goal that you think you should have and instead focus on one that you want to have.

That’s the most important piece of a goal: It should be something that you actually want to achieve. Setting one only because you think it’s expected of you ultimately won’t do you any good.

2. Get specific

In order for a goal to be impactful and provide the necessary sense of direction, it needs to be specific. Something general like “climb the ladder” or “earn more money” is too ambiguous to ignite any motivation.

When establishing your career goals statement, try using the SMART goals framework. Here’s what that stands for:

Specific: Clearly state what you plan to accomplish (i.e. “start my own marketing agency focused on software clients”).

Measurable: Similarly, outline what your benchmark for success is so that you know when you’ve actually achieved your goal.

Achievable: You don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment, so make sure that your goal isn’t so lofty that it’s unattainable.

Relevant: Ensure that what you want to accomplish is actually relevant to you (this is where that self-reflection really comes in handy!).

Time-bound: A goal is nothing without a deadline for when you plan to achieve it by. Your career goals statement should be somewhat long-term (and not something you want to accomplish by next week). But “long-term” can mean six months to some people and 20 years to others. Get clear on exactly when you want to reach this objective.

3. Use confident language

Your career goals statement isn’t the place for wishy-washy and noncommittal phrases. There’s no starting with, “I really want to...” or “I really hope I can…”

Open your career goals statement with a certain and confident, “ I will .” Not only does that phrase further remove any ambiguity, but it also gives you a nice nugget of encouragement whenever you refer back to it.

4. Develop an action plan

Setting a goal is a great start, but setting a finish line for yourself means nothing if you don’t understand what you’ll do to cross it.

The latter part of your career goals statement should outline the steps you’ll take to accomplish that goal. This gives you a roadmap that you can follow, rather than just saddling yourself with an objective and feeling clueless about how to get started.

5. Be flexible

Here’s one more thing that’s important to recognize: Goals change. Of course, the very purpose of your career goals statement is to give yourself something long-term to work toward, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be set in stone.

What if after talking to some other agency owners you decide that business ownership really isn’t for you? Or what if you have personal circumstances come up that require you to remain in traditional employment for a while—meaning the 2025 deadline is no longer realistic? Or what if you achieve your goal and need to come up with a brand new one?

Whether good or bad, these things happen, and you need to be flexible and willing to roll with the punches.

If and when your goal shifts, don’t completely trash or delete your previous goal. Instead, keep it and write an entirely new one. It’s interesting to see how your objectives evolve over time, and that progression can actually be quite enlightening and motivating.

Career-goals-statement-examples

Get inspired: 5 career goals statement examples you can learn from

Nothing helps provide some clarity like a solid sample. So with all of the above tips in mind, let’s take a look at a few different career goals statement examples that you can use as inspiration for writing your own .

Career goals statement example #1:

I will be promoted to a Project Lead at CompanyXYZ within the next five years. To do so, I will refine my project management skills, obtain my PMP Certification , and express my desire for growth and advancement to my current supervisor.

Career goals statement example #2:

I will land a job as a Data Analyst at a large financial institution by the end of the year. To accomplish this goal, I will improve my skills in Excel and PowerQuery and connect with other Data Analysts in my network to find out more about their job search processes.

Career goals statement example #3:

I will foster a positive reputation and secure a public speaking gig for a session of over 300 attendees within the next calendar year. I will do this by continuing to refine my public speaking abilities and networking with conference planners in my industry.

Career goals statement example #4:

I will pursue and complete a career change from a Graphic Designer to a Web Developer within three years. To make this happen, I will return to school to get my Associate Degree in Web Development and complete online courses that cover all of the major programming languages.

Career goals statement example #5:

I will gain a Certified Public Accountant license within a year. In order to achieve this, I'll create a study plan and I'll take a CPA exam review course . I'm going to study each day for 2-3 hours after work to pass the CPA exam.

What should you do with your career goals statement?

You did it—you implemented the tips and followed the examples, and now you’re equipped with your own career goals statement. Uhh...now what? What do you do with it?

Keep it somewhere safe. Better yet, keep it somewhere you can easily accessible so that you can refer to it whenever you need a gentle reminder of what you’re working so hard for.

Whether you had a bad day or just need to be encouraged that your career is about so much more than churning through your daily to-do list, your career goals statement will help you step back and get the perspective that’s so easy to lose sight of in your everyday life.

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Kat Boogaard

Kat is a writer specializing in career, self-development, and productivity topics. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, golfing, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her website.

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13 Personal Smart Goals to Help You Grow

You can get there!

Even if you’ve never sat down and intentionally created a list of goals, you’re likely familiar with working toward milestones. This can be something as small as completing all your work in time to enjoy the weekend or as grand as saving up for a new house, car or large purchase.

Setting goals helps build personal development and achieve success, especially when done strategically. In this article, we’ll define the different types of goals (personal goals, smart goals), examples of each kind of goal and how to set personal smart goals with intention.

What are personal goals?

Personal goals are the achievements you set out to accomplish in the span of your lifetime. These personal goals can be oriented to achieving a particular lifestyle, such as retiring early or investing enough money so that you’re able to earn passive income and work very little – or not at all. They can be family goals – whether that’s starting a family, taking a trip or seeing your children reach certain milestones. They can be career goals – such as working for a company you admire or even starting a business of your own.

Personal goals can be as big or small as you make them. For example, you may have your eye set on a big promotion or purchase as a long-term goal. But personal goals can be achieved in the short term and encompass anything from learning one new recipe each month or saving an allotted amount of money from each paycheck to use for fun or leisure. 

What are smart goals? 

Smart goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or Attainable), Realistic (or Relevant and Time-Bound. George T. Doran coined this method of personal goal setting in the early 1980s. His paper, “ The S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives ,” was meant to give companies a framework for setting and achieving goals. Since the paper’s debut in the 1980s, this goal-setting method has been adopted and adapted by many and has become a widely used way to set personal goals.

How to set personal smart goals

When using the smart goal method, consider these questions for each point in the acronym.

Specific: What are you trying to accomplish? Paint a clear picture of the goal – what it looks like, who it involves and why you need to get there. Why is this something you wish to do or achieve? Get familiar with the motivating factors behind why you want to accomplish this smart goal. When will you work on your goal, and what needs to happen for you to have time to do so? Planning for how you’ll reach your smart goal from a time perspective helps keep you on track.

Measurable: How will you measure the success of your smart goal? Utilizing the specifics above, determine what this achievement will look and feel like and how it will be measured. For example, if purchasing a home is your smart goal, what are the parameters that would indicate success? Is it also finding an affordable mortgage rate? Is it buying a house with certain qualities in a desirable neighborhood? Make sure your smart goal is a measurable goal and clarify what those measurements will be. 

Attainable: Smart goals don’t necessarily have to be small goals. However, if you’re setting a personal smart goal that you have no way of reaching – whether it be lack of tools, knowledge or other boundaries that keep it from being attainable – you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Determine what will be necessary in order for you to achieve the goal you’re setting – then work toward obtaining those resources as your first step. 

Realistic: Is it possible for you to meet the smart goal you’re setting? If the goal is something like starring in a movie – but you have no acting experience or concrete steps to take to achieve it, it’s not likely you’ll complete your smart goal. There’s no harm in dreaming big – but ensuring you have the proper knowledge, resources and training to reach the smart goal you’re setting will make it achievable. If your smart goal isn’t realistic, examine what would need to happen to make it more tangible. 

Timely: Even long-term smart goals need to have target deadlines attached in order to achieve them. George T. Doran’s original paper on smart goals recommends working backward from the date you want to achieve your goal by creating an outline that identifies the critical needs and logistics that need to happen – and when – to hit your smart goal deadline. Having your goal be time bound helps to ground and frame the work that needs to be done in order to achieve success.

Why set smart goals?

There are plenty of benefits to setting smart goals. Here are just a few reasons you should consider adopting a smart goal framework to achieve personal success.

Setting smart goals improves results

Top achieving professionals all have one thing in common – they set goals and work toward them. When you have a vision to work toward, the path to success becomes more transparent and tangible. Having a measurement plan for how you’ll track progress helps identify whether or not you’re on track and allows you to maintain the focus needed in order to get there.

Setting smart goals provides a sense of control

Do you often feel like you have little to no control over what happens in your life each day? We all have daily responsibilities we need to get done, from job demands to paying bills, caring for family and other necessary chores. Having a smart goal to work towards gives us something that we’re uniquely in control of and can achieve with the right tools, time and hard work.

Setting smart goals holds you accountable 

At one point or another, all of us have dreamt up overarching goals we’d love to achieve someday in the abstract. Setting a smart goal transforms a vague goal into something specific and attainable. It makes the goal you’ve been dreaming about feel possible in a way it hadn’t before by making the goal measurable, time bound and concrete.

Setting smart goals motivates you

Knowing you have the power to change your current circumstances and strive for something better is a powerful motivator. Setting a smart goal takes things a step further. Following the smart goal framework gives you the focus and discipline you need to achieve success. 

Smart goal examples

You understand what smart goals are, what they consist of and how to set them. But you’re still feeling stuck or unsure of where to start with your smart goals, reviewing smart goal examples can be helpful. Here are a few smart goal examples to help get you started.

Increase your visibility at work

Particularly in a remote workforce, standing out and getting noticed can be tricky, making this smart goal example important. This smart goal is specific – but there are many different methods for getting there. For example, speaking up at least once during each meeting may be your starting point. This smart goal is attainable and realistic. To achieve it, you may spend extra time preparing for each meeting on your calendar and come ready with the talking point you want to discuss. At the end of each week, you can measure your progress by how many meetings you were able to speak at, what the outcome was and the number of people you’ve been noticed by at each meeting.

Learn a new hobby in two months

This smart goal example is relevant and time bound. It’s essential to be specific in the case of this smart goal – with so many hobby options out there, choosing one that’s realistic and attainable to learn is critical. It’s also important to understand why this specific hobby is the one you’re choosing. For example, if you’re working in a very technical field, are you setting this smart goal to tap into your more creative side? Or maybe you’re looking for a hobby that could earn you additional income, such as making a specific craft you can sell. Using the smart goal template , paint a clear picture of when, how and why you’ll learn this new hobby – as well as what success will look like to you at the end of your two-month process.

Become a regular volunteer

How do you define regularly volunteering? It’s up to you to set the parameters of this smart goal. Think about factors such as how much time you have to devote to volunteering, access to transportation that will get you to and from your volunteer work and what kind of organization would be most fulfilling for you to spend your time at. In addition to the time spent volunteering, determine how else you might measure this goal and what time frame you want to achieve this in.

Wake up earlier

The easiest way to get more time into your day is to wake up earlier than you usually do. When setting this smart goal, starting small and working your way up to the optimal time you’re looking to rise each day is vital. Determine a realistic, attainable amount of time to set your alarm clock earlier – this can be as small as 15 minutes to start. Using the “timely” porting of the smart goal acronym, work backward from the date you want to achieve waking up earlier by, and determine how you’ll get there by plotting out how much earlier you’ll rise in the weeks or months leading up to the final goal of your ideal morning routine .

Improve your time management 

Similarly, just because you have extra time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re able to use it wisely. If your smart goal is to become more productive, determine when you’d like to have this goal achieved, why it’s important to you and the barriers to entry that you see. This can be distractions throughout the day or putting more structure into your workday when you complete tasks.

Take 10 minutes to reflect on your wins of the week

At the end of a long week, it’s all too easy to focus on what went wrong and what could have gone better. Making a smart goal to look at what did work for you can help you improve the weeks to come. This smart goal is easily attainable and realistic has a measurable time frame. Taking time to reflect on your wins helps you become more self-aware, which will improve many areas of your life and help you stay motivated.

Limit social media use

personal smart goals examples

This is a great smart goal example for students as well as anyone who finds themselves aimlessly scrolling through social media. There can be a variety of specific motivators behind this smart goal – from increasing productivity to improving sleep and even better self-esteem since you’ll be spending less time comparing yourself to others. Depending on how heavy of a social media user you are, the time frame for achieving this smart goal can vary greatly. But using the smart goal framework to determine why this is important, how you will measure success and the date at which you’re looking to have this habit kicked by will help yield positive results.

Organize one room in your house each week

Living in an organized and clutter-free space comes with a host of mental health benefits, which makes this smart goal example a compelling one to consider. Notice that instead of setting a goal to organize the entire house, this smart goal is broken down into a more achievable, realistic one. When setting this smart goal, you can make this goal even more manageable by assessing how many hours each day per week you’ll spend organizing the room you’re working on for that week. This smart goal also makes it easy to work back on from a time perspective – the number of rooms in your home will dictate how many weeks it will take to achieve.

Make one 20-minute phone call to a friend or family member each week

Hectic schedules can make it easy for us to lose touch with the people we care about. Reconnecting with the people that matter in your life is a crucial smart goal example – one that can be reached by setting aside time each week to dedicate to it. When working toward this smart goal, get specific on who you most want to connect with, then find out when you’re both free to speak. This can be done efficiently thanks to scheduling tools and online calendars. To ensure you stick to this goal, consider sending out calendar invites to those you’re planning to speak to in order to help you stay on track.

Meditate for five minutes every day

Mediation has plenty of health benefits – but blocking out large amounts of time to devote to this practice can be challenging. This smart goal example makes meditation more achievable and realistic by devoting only five minutes per day to the practice. Even the busiest of people can spare five minutes – and even if you’re not successful the first time you try meditating, making it a point to give it a try for at least five minutes every day is a measurable way to see improvement and progress. 

Build an emergency fund that covers six months of expenses

No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario. But being prepared in the event of an unexpected job loss or emergency is a smart goal to make. Budgeting is another chore no one looks forward to doing – but focusing on identifying how much you could be saving makes looking at your overall budget less overwhelming. Measure the expenses you accrue each month, then measure how much you can save each paycheck. From there, it will be easy to see the path forward for how long it’ll take to save up enough money to cover you in case of an emergency.

Plan healthy meals during the workweek

Time is often a barrier for those looking to eat healthily. This smart goal makes doing so more achievable by setting specific parameters for which meals you’ll plan how many times per week this will happen. Determine when your meal planning and preparation will occur – whether it’s all at once on a Sunday or each evening prior to getting you prepared for the following day.

Add one new contact to your network each week

If you’re looking to build and grow your career, there’s no better smart goal than networking. Instead of setting a smart goal to “network more,” adding one person to your network each week makes the goal more attainable and realistic, as well as measurable. However, clicking the “add” button on LinkedIn is not enough for this smart goal. Determine how much time you’ll spend searching for someone who’s a viable network connection, how long it will take you to write a compelling introductory message and the parameters for which you’re measuring the quality of this new contact. 

Whether you’re striving for personal growth, a successful career, self-improvement or other overarching goals to become the best version of yourself, setting smart goals can help you get there. Write smart goals down, get specific on why they’re important and how you’ll achieve them. Remember to make sure the smart goals you set are relevant and time bound, measurable goals that you’re able to achieve. Some of the smart goals you set out to complete may be hard to accomplish at first, but you’re sure to achieve success with the right attitude and hard work.

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11 Professional Goals Statement Examples for Your Next Job Search

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Are you among the many who have been professionally affected by the current recession?

Unprecedented unemployment rates have come along with the COVID pandemic.

In fact, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have reached unemployment rates greater than their highest recorded during the Great Recession–and rates that have not been reached since data started to be collected in 1948.

If you fell victim to layoffs or furloughs, you may still be job hunting, or you may be miserable in a job that you had to settle for in the meantime.

Or, maybe you’ve been able to hang on in your position, but you don’t see it as a “forever” job .

No matter what your professional situation is right now, if you don’t consider it to be your final career destination, you will want to have a plan to help you get wherever you want to go .

When you know what you’re working toward in the long-term , you will feel a sense of direction and purpose that will make going to work each day make a little more sense in the bigger picture of your life.

So in this article, we will look at how you can create your professional plan through a career goals statement by looking at 11 specific examples of these statements that you can use for your next job search.

But first, let’s review what a career goals statement is and why you should create one. Then, after reading the examples provided, you can tweak them to fit your own unique situation.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is a Professional Goals Statement?

A professional goals statement is a clear and specific proclamation of the end result you expect to achieve by accomplishing all of your professional objectives.

Similar to a SMART goal , it clearly states why you do your job, what you intend to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and when it will be completed.

This concise statement defines your professional vision, which will help you plan your next career move and communicate your intentions to potential employers.

Here's a video that provides a quick overview of the SMART goal setting and various examples for each area of your life.

No matter what industry you’re in, writing a professional goals statement will help you develop a specific action plan that will guide you toward your professional vision. Your finished statement will give you clarity as you’re working toward your goals and it will keep you motivated and accountable.

Without a professional goals statement, your job is likely going to end up being a passionless pursuit of a bi-weekly paycheck.

You need a target to focus on to maintain the motivation to improve and grow in your career. Your goals statement will turn each day at work from “just another day” to one day closer to achieving your professional dream.

But before looking at some examples, let’s review how to write a career goals statement so you can tailor the examples to your unique professional goals.

How to Write a Career Goals Statement

Keep these tips in mind when writing your statement.

The first question you want to answer is “why?” Without having a purpose behind what you’re doing, your work will be meaningless in the long run and you won’t have the motivation to give it your best effort.

Why is your career interesting to you? What type of lasting change (if any) are you hoping to make? How do your natural strengths line up with the job requirements?

Thinking about these things will help you create a goal that you want rather than one that you think you should have. And you have to want to achieve your goal in order to feel inspired to get to work.

Commit to It

Be confident in your statement–and not just the end result you’re working toward, be confident in the process that will get you there as well. In order to commit to your goals statement, you need to be aware of all the steps you have to take to be successful.

This may require doing some research on the specific professions in your field of work so you can make sure the obstacles you could face won’t overpower your will to succeed.

Research and Plan

Speaking of research, make sure you have the skills , education, knowledge, abilities, and experiences that are required to be successful.

Think about all of the steps you will have to take along the way and include them in your statement. Your career goal should have clear instructions that lead you from the present moment to the finish line.

Don’t Invite Change

While things may come up in your life that force you to alter your course, plan on going full speed ahead until you reach your goal. Don’t leave any components of your career goals statement up for interpretation–anyone should be able to read your statement and understand your plan.

…But Be Flexible

Your goals may change over time as you grow and your life circumstances change . Your professional goals statement should look way into your future, so unexpected events or factors are almost guaranteed to pop up. You need to be able to work around life’s challenges and not let them steer you off track.

Let’s take a look at what this looks like when it all comes together.

1. I will take a step up in my career from being an office assistant to a paralegal in the next four years. I will earn any credentials I need through a Paralegal Studies program, get an internship with a reputable law firm, go to legal networking events, and practice my legal writing skills to meet this goal.

2. I will open my own agency in the next five years that provides medical respite for those in need of housing after a hospital discharge. I will accomplish this by setting up informational interviews with those who currently own this type of business, obtaining a business loan and license, purchasing a house in the community to house those in need, and attending social events to make connections in order to properly staff the business.

3. I will be promoted to Senior Case Manager at my current organization within the next two years. To do this, I will obtain a case management certification , refine my case management skills by networking with other case managers, and communicate my goal for advancement to my supervisor to gain her support.

4. I will change careers by 2025 from being a sales manager to being an accountant. In order to do this, I will go back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting and work alongside my current company’s accountant for at least three hours per month in order to gain real-life experience.

5. I will obtain my Real Estate license within a year by completing 60 hours of approved Pre-Licensing courses and creating an intensive study plan that includes two hours of studying four times per week in order to earn an 80% or above on the licensing test.

long term career goals statement examples | sample career aspirations statement for managers | how to write a goal statement for work

6. I will become a Clinical Research Manager by 2030 by pursuing a master’s degree in biology and certification with the Society for Clinical Data Management . In doing this, I will gain an in-depth knowledge of regulations and best practices for clinical trials and become familiar with medical terminology, which will help me secure a relevant position.

7. I will learn to speak Spanish fluently within three years to become a more valued and indispensable member of my team. I will do this by using language-learning software , subscribing to Spanish media, and practicing speaking Spanish with those who are already fluent.

8. I will publish five books in two years by writing for 25 hours per week, completing at least 10,000 words on subjects I’m passionate about. I will learn more about self-publishing by reading at least three books on the topic , which will help me keep my skills current. I will land on at least two best-seller lists by creating a website for my books to gain more readers, hold book signings after each book is published, and engage with fans both online and in-person.

9. I will be promoted to a leadership position within my current company in the next 5 years. I will do this by modeling my passion for the industry to my peers, improving my interpersonal communication skills , serving as a role model, holding myself accountable for my work , and inspiring others to do their best work as well.

10. My professional goal is to increase our membership by 20% by 2025. I will do this with my team by holding bi-weekly informational cocktail hours at the facility and offering incentives for current members to refer people they know for membership.

11. I will open a second branch of my business within the next two years by creating a business and marketing plan, building capital and setting up accounting, hiring employees, and purchasing inventory.

Final Thoughts on Professional Goals Statements

Goals are very motivating factors to have in your professional life. They will help inspire you to get your work done because you will have a clear vision of what you’re working toward and what you need to do to get there. ( Learn the differences between vision and goals. )

Once your goal is documented, you will feel a sense of personal responsibility to complete it.

Take the examples of statements in this article and see if you can tailor any of them to your individual career goals. Doing this is sure to make your goals stick and increase your chances of being successful in your next job search.

The process of writing this statement will force you to consider the hard questions– like what you want for your professional life down the road.

And if you're looking for more resources to help you write professional goal statements, here are some articles that might help:

  • 87 Action Verbs for SMART Goals
  • 365 Positive Words to Use Daily [A to Z]
  • 4 Simple Steps to Write a Career Goal Statement for Work

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

writing goal statements examples

Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.

professional goals statements | personal goal statement examples | professional goal statement examples for teachers

Status.net

50 Inspiring Examples of Career Goal Statements

By Status.net Editorial Team on February 7, 2024 — 12 minutes to read

A career goal statement is a clear and concise description of your professional aspirations: it outlines what you aim to achieve in your career path, providing direction and serving as a guide for your professional decisions. Crafting this statement requires self-reflection to identify what truly matters to you in your career.

Think of your career goal statement as a compass. It helps you navigate through opportunities and choices, aligning them with your long-term objectives. A well-defined goal statement includes specific job titles or roles, industry preferences, skills you want to acquire or use, and the values that matter to you in a work environment.

For example, your statement might be, “I aim to become a Senior Software Developer at a tech company that values innovation, in the next five years.” This statement is direct, time-bound, and reflects personal and professional values.

When writing your own career goal statement, start by asking yourself some questions:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • Where do I see myself in five, ten, or fifteen years?
  • What skills do I need to develop to reach my goals?

Your statement can evolve as your career advances and your goals change. Remember, it’s a living document meant to grow along with you. Keep it precise, make it inspiring for yourself, and let it reflect who you are and who you want to become professionally. By doing so, you’ll create a powerful tool to steer your career decisions and help achieve your ambitions.

Components of a Strong Career Goal Statement

A strong career goal statement effectively communicates where you see yourself in the future and how you plan to get there. The keys to crafting this include clarity in your aspirations and how your current path aligns with your long-term objectives.

Clarity and Specificity

Your career goal statement should clearly articulate the position you’re aiming for and the steps you plan to take to achieve it. For example, instead of saying “I want to grow in the tech industry,” specify “My goal is to become a Senior Software Engineer at a renowned tech firm within the next five years by honing my skills in mobile applications development and leadership.”

Alignment with Career Objectives

Ensure that your statement aligns with your broader career objectives. For instance, if you’re determined to enter the field of environmental sustainability, your goal statement could specify, “I will secure a role as a Sustainability Project Manager by gaining expertise in renewable energy solutions and contributing to conservation projects.”

Brevity and Conciseness

Keep your statement concise; it shouldn’t be longer than a short paragraph. A crisp, well-worded statement would look like, “Within three years, I aim to advance to a Lead Graphic Designer position by consistently delivering innovative designs and taking on more strategic projects.”

Personal Motivation

Include a sentence about what drives you towards this goal, which gives a personal touch to your career goal statement. You might say, “I am committed to becoming an industry-recognized financial analyst by developing cutting-edge quantitative models, fueled by my passion for data-driven decision making.”

The Purpose of Career Goal Statements

A career goal statement helps you and others understand where you’re aiming in your professional life. It serves as both a guide and a benchmark for your career progression.

Professional Development

Your career goal statement is a powerful tool for professional development. It’s a declaration of your ambitions, which often falls into specific categories like acquiring new skills, achieving certifications, or reaching a new position. For example, you might aim to become a certified project manager within the next two years, highlighting the steps and skills you’ll need to get there.

Job Search Focus

When you’re on the job hunt, having a career goal statement gives you a lens to evaluate potential job opportunities. Imagine you’re an engineer seeking roles in renewable energy projects; your career goal statement would specify this preference, allowing you to target your job search and tailor your applications to match your aspirations.

Performance Management

During performance evaluations, your career goal statement offers a clear outline of what success looks like for you. It can act as a communication tool between you and your supervisor, ensuring that you’re both aligned on your targets. If your goal is to lead a team, your performance metrics might include leadership training and successful project outcomes.

Personal Reflection and Growth

Your career statement doubles as a checkpoint for personal reflection and growth. By setting specific goals like enhancing your public speaking skills or learning a new programming language, you create a framework for personal progress, tying these improvements back to your broader career objectives.

Writing Your Career Goal Statement

A career goal statement is a clear and concise description of your professional aspirations. It’s important to chart a course for your career by setting strategic goals and outlining the steps you plan to take to achieve them.

Self-Assessment

Start by evaluating your interests, strengths, weaknesses, and values. This step helps you align your career trajectory with your personal attributes and ambitions.

  • If you enjoy creative problem-solving, you might aim for a role in strategic development.
  • Someone with a natural talent for communication might target a career in public relations.

Research and Exploration

Learn about the industries and positions that align with your interests and skills. Find out what qualifications you may need and what career advancement may look like in those roles.

  • Researching the field of data science might show you the importance of skills like programming and data analysis.
  • Exploring the healthcare industry could lead you to consider roles ranging from a health administrator to a nurse practitioner.

Articulating Your Goals

Clearly state your short-term and long-term career objectives. Make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

  • Short-term goal: Completing a professional certification in digital marketing within the next year.
  • Long-term goal: Becoming a chief marketing officer at a technology company within the next ten years.

Revising and Refining

Your career goals are not set in stone. Periodically review and adjust them to reflect your growing skills, changes in the industry, and personal life changes.

  • Revising your goal to include leadership skills if you’re aiming for management positions.
  • Refining your goals to focus more on work-life balance if personal circumstances change.

Examples of Career Goal Statements

When crafting your career goal statement, be specific and align your goals with your desired career path. This section will provide examples for different career stages to guide you.

For Recent Graduates

As a recent graduate, your goal statement should reflect your eagerness to apply your education in a practical setting and grow professionally. For example:

  • “My goal is to secure a role as a software developer at a forward-thinking tech company where I can contribute to innovative projects and hone my coding skills in real-world applications.”

For Mid-Career Professionals

For you in mid-career, a statement should focus on advancing your current skills and taking on larger responsibilities. For instance:

  • “I aim to elevate my expertise in digital marketing to become a marketing manager, where I can lead strategic campaigns and impact the company’s growth directly.”

For Career Changers

As someone looking to change careers, your statement needs to leverage your transferable skills and express your commitment to the new field. Consider this example:

  • “I intend to transition into the field of data analysis, leveraging my extensive background in market research to deliver actionable insights and drive decision-making processes.”

For Executive-Level Positions

Your executive career goal statement needs to showcase your vision for leadership and your ability to steer the company to new heights. An example could be:

  • “I am determined to apply my 15 years of managerial experience to a Chief Operations Officer role, focusing on optimizing company-wide operations to boost profitability and efficiency.”

50 Examples of Career Goal Statements

  • 1. “To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills.”
  • 2. “Seeking a role at (…) Company where I can contribute to the team’s success while developing my skills as an accountant.”
  • 3. “To achieve a lead position in software development that allows me to design innovative solutions and manage a dynamic team.”
  • 4. “To become a primary school teacher that inspires young minds and fosters a love of learning.”
  • 5. “Aiming to leverage my experience in customer service to become a leading sales representative within the next five years.”
  • 6. “To grow into a senior role within the marketing department, contributing to the company’s strategic goals and brand development.”
  • 7. “Seeking a position as a clinical practice assistant for a health organization that focuses on the development of innovative medical treatments.”
  • 8. “To secure a position as a human resources manager and contribute to an organization’s employee engagement and professional development strategies.”
  • 9. “My goal is to become a project manager within a progressive tech company, leading innovative projects to successful completion.”
  • 10. “Aspiring to be a top journalist within a major media outlet, reporting on significant global events that shape our world.”
  • 11. “To develop a career in finance, eventually becoming a chief financial officer for a well-established corporation.”
  • 12. “To obtain a managerial position in the hospitality industry, providing exceptional guest experiences and leading a successful team.”
  • 13. “Looking to apply my graphic design skills in a dynamic advertising agency, producing high-quality work for a variety of clients.”
  • 14. “To establish myself as a leading real estate agent within the community, known for diligently serving clients and achieving their property dreams.”
  • 15. “To become a senior software engineer, specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence, contributing to cutting-edge technology advancements.”
  • 16. “Aspire to join an international non-profit organization, focusing on human rights advocacy and contributing to meaningful change.”
  • 17. “To earn a position as a lead researcher in a top-tier biotech firm, focusing on the development of life-saving pharmaceuticals.”
  • 18. “To be recognized as an expert in environmental law, working to protect natural resources and promote sustainability.”
  • 19. “To secure a role as an art director within a prestigious agency, driving creative strategy and inspiring a team of designers.”
  • 20. “Aiming to become a chief operations officer, optimizing organizational processes and enhancing overall efficiency.”
  • 21. “To advance my career in the field of education technology, developing innovative tools that facilitate learning and growth.”
  • 22. “Seeking to become a master electrician, overseeing complex projects and mentoring apprentices in the trade.”
  • 23. “To climb the ranks to a senior data analyst role, transforming data into actionable insights that drive business strategy.”
  • 24. “To become a leading figure in digital marketing, known for crafting high-impact strategies that generate measurable results.”
  • 25. “Aspiring to be an executive chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant, creating world-class cuisine and leading a top-tier culinary team.”
  • 26. “To secure a position as a cybersecurity expert, protecting sensitive information from threats and vulnerabilities.”
  • 27. “Aiming to be a respected leader in the field of public health, influencing policy and improving community health outcomes.”
  • 28. “To establish a career as a professional musician, performing internationally and sharing my passion for music with diverse audiences.”
  • 29. “Seeking a role as an aerospace engineer with a focus on sustainable design and innovation in air travel.”
  • 30. “To become a leading architect, known for designing eco-friendly and innovative structures that enhance the urban landscape.”
  • 31. “To grow into a senior role in supply chain management, optimizing logistics and contributing to the company’s profitability.”
  • 32. “Aspiring to become a senior content creator, producing engaging and informative content that resonates with a wide audience.”
  • 33. “To secure a position as a labor and delivery nurse, providing compassionate care and supporting families during a pivotal life event.”
  • 34. “To become a principal consultant, offering expert advice and solutions to businesses in my area of expertise.”
  • 35. “Aiming to be a top sales manager, driving team performance and exceeding company sales targets consistently.”
  • 36. “To secure a leadership position within the field of environmental science, contributing to research and advocacy for climate change mitigation.”
  • 37. “To become a recognized expert in user experience design, creating intuitive and user-friendly digital products.”
  • 38. “Seeking a role as a professional event planner, executing unforgettable events that exceed client expectations.”
  • 39. “To advance to a senior technical writer position, producing clear and concise documentation that supports product development.”
  • 40. “Aspiring to be a chief diversity officer, fostering an inclusive workplace culture where all employees can thrive.”
  • 41. “To become a lead mechanical engineer in the automotive industry, contributing to the development of innovative and efficient vehicles.”
  • 42. “To secure a position as a business analyst, helping organizations to improve processes and systems for better performance.”
  • 43. “Aiming to become a senior environmental consultant, providing actionable strategies for sustainable business practices.”
  • 44. “To establish myself as a professional photographer, capturing moments and stories through my lens for global publications.”
  • 45. “Seeking a role as an investment banker, helping companies to grow and investors to achieve their financial goals.”
  • 46. “To become a thought leader in digital transformation, guiding enterprises through the integration of new technologies.”
  • 47. “Aspiring to be a senior policy advisor, influencing legislation and policy decisions that impact the public sector.”
  • 48. “To secure a position as a professional interpreter, facilitating communication in multiple languages for international organizations.”
  • 49. “Aiming to become a leading expert in nutritional science, contributing to healthier lifestyles and dietary choices.”
  • 50. “To establish a career as a professional speaker and author, sharing my expertise and inspiring others in my field.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you write an effective career goal statement for your resume.

When you write a career goal statement for your resume, start by reflecting on your strengths, skills, and experiences. Then, identify the kind of position you’re aiming for and how your career path aligns with the goals of the company. Use action words and quantify achievements where possible.

What are some examples of short-term career goals in professional development?

Short-term career goals might include obtaining a professional certification, improving specific job-related skills such as public speaking or technical proficiency, or networking to connect with industry leaders. These goals are typically achievable within a few months to two years.

What should be included in a personal career goal statement?

Your personal career goal statement should include your career interests, the competencies you wish to utilize, the type of environment you thrive in, and how you see your career progressing. It gives employers a glimpse into your aspirations and professional philosophy.

Can you give examples of comprehensive goal statements for students?

An example for a student might be: “Graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and secure an internship with a leading sustainability organization, to contribute to effective climate change solutions.” This states the education aim and the practical, immediate objective after graduation.

How do you frame a career goal statement for entry into graduate school?

A career goal statement for graduate school should express your academic interests, how the program aligns with your career plans, and what you intend to accomplish professionally with the advanced degree. This could be working towards a specific research field or role in academia.

What elements make up a compelling and succinct one-sentence career goal?

A compelling one-sentence career goal is specific, mentioning the desired industry or role, is realistic, and includes a timeframe. For example, “To become a certified project manager within the next year and lead technology-related projects in a Fortune 500 company.”

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    An example of a SMART-goal statement might look like this: Our goal is to [quantifiable objective] by [timeframe or deadline]. [Key players or teams] will accomplish this goal by [what steps you'll take to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will [result or benefit]. How to write SMART goals

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    Take a look at the two examples below: 1/ I'm going to be a millionaire 2/ By the time I'm 30 I'm going to own a retail business that will drive revenues enabling me to have a net worth of over one million dollars Which is best and why? The goal statement does describe an aspirational step change that is being targeted.

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  5. 40 Best Goal Statement Examples [Professional / Personal]

    Good goal statement examples should be properly documented and detailed. It should also completely define the outcome that you seek to accomplish. A proper goal statement format should describe the activity, purpose or outcome that you must do reach your desired end result. When creating your own statement of goals, include the following:

  6. How to Write SMART Goals [Worksheet and Examples]

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  16. How to Write Goal Statements: 3 Simple Steps with Examples

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  20. 13 Personal Smart Goal Examples to Help You Grow

    His paper, "The S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives," was meant to give companies a framework for setting and achieving goals. Since the paper's debut in the 1980s, this goal-setting method has been adopted and adapted by many and has become a widely used way to set personal goals. ... This smart goal example makes ...

  21. 11 Professional Goals Statement Examples for Your Next Job Search

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  23. 50 Inspiring Examples of Career Goal Statements

    For example, instead of saying "I want to grow in the tech industry," specify "My goal is to become a Senior Software Engineer at a renowned tech firm within the next five years by honing my skills in mobile applications development and leadership." Alignment with Career Objectives

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