40 + SMART Goals Templates : Ready to Use Excel, PDF, Word Templates

SMART Goals Template is widely used in organizations and public institutions to set a goal and achieve it in a systematic way. In this article, we have tried to consolidate different forms of SMART goal templates which can be used for different situations. Before getting into the templates, let us understand what a SMART goal is. 

What is a SMART Goal?

SMART is a memory device that is utilized as a learning technique in order to aid the retention of information in one’s memory. More specifically, SMART sets certain criteria that aid in setting objectives and goals. The five letters in SMART create an effective goal-oriented framework and are typically the five main characteristics that your goals should exhibit. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound (S.M.A.R.T) are the five criteria of SMART Goals. This technique is one of the most powerful and popular tools for the creation of realistic goals. It can be used by anyone from a high school student wanting to lose weight, to a Chief Executive Office of a multinational firm. Setting SMART goals for yourself improve your probability of success due to its compartmentalized approach.

Samples of SMART Goal Worksheets


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It is worth mentioning that each letter in SMART refers to a different characteristic used to judge your objectives. The first two letters (Specific and Measurable) are the generally accepted criteria by most sources; however, the remaining three letters (Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) are usually never the same depending on which source you are looking at. For example, while one source may use Timeframe (T), another may use Timely (T), whereas here we are classifying it as Time-Bound. Either way, whichever criteria you choose to go with, they typically all have the same definition and purpose, with a different naming convention.


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SMART Goals Template Examples

How to Set SMART Goals?

The most important factor that needs to be determined before setting SMART goals is the specificity of your goal. The more specific and detail oriented your goal is, the higher your chances of success. General goals rarely go far with SMART Goals due to their broad characteristics. In addition, your goals need to be measurable. That is, can you determine whether or not you have achieved a certain milestone on your path towards successfully completing your goal? If not, you need to reevaluate the measurement and verification of you goals.

If attaining your goal feasible? If not, then there is no point to setting this goal for yourself, let alone utilize the SMART Goals method to make it happen. You must develop the self-awareness that will enable you to determine how realistic the goal you set for yourself truly is. Finally, is there are specific time frame for you to achieve your goal? If not, there should be. In most cases, goals that have an infinite amount of time to be completed usually never make it out of 1st gear. Giving yourself a time frame will push you to achieve that goal.

With that, we have covered the basic requirements of setting SMART Goals, but in order to further understand and master the art of setting SMART Goals for ourselves, we need to delve further into each criteria in order to gain a better understanding and grasp of this technique.



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Making Your Goal Measurable

Again, you need to be able to measure the progress towards achieving each goal you set. If you set a goal that is not measurable, you will never know when you achieved it. Measurable criteria can include target dates or milestones. Regardless of which one you choose, you first need to determine if your goal is measurable. The main question you need to be asking yourself is: “How will I know when I accomplished my goal?” Continuing from the example above, you’ll know once you obtain your engineering degree. It’s measurable, so we can now continue using the SMART technique.

This criterion has a high dependency on concrete characteristics that are used to measure progress towards a goal. A manager with a goal that is not measurable cannot possibly know whether or not his or her team is making progress towards the successful completion of a project by a certain deadline. In addition, by measuring your progress, you also help yourself stay focused and on track. Other questions that can be answered are: “How much?” and “How many?” These should always be quantifiable.

Making Sure Your Goal is Attainable

When you start identifying and classifying the goals that you want to achieve, you begin to push and figure out ways that will make them come to life. By developing the necessary skills, attributes, ability and financial capability you further increase your chances of achieving success. This criterion serves to identify whether or not your goal is realistic and attainable. By developing the aforementioned characteristics that will help you reach your goal, you begin to identify some opportunities that may have been overlooked along the way.

A goal that is attainable will typically answer the question “How?” For example, how can you accomplish your goal? How realistic is the goal you have set for yourself when compared to possible constraints? Goals that seem to be far away at first begin to move closer within reach, not because your goals are becoming smaller, but because you are growing and expanding to match the characteristics required in order to finally achieve them.


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Making Your Goal Specific

As we already know, there is no point to a broad goal. Yes, at the end of the day you might want to become the Chief Technology Officer of Apple; however, that is a very general goal that is not feasible and cannot be achieved by the SMART technique. Instead, you might need an engineering degree to begin to even think of becoming CTO at Apple. That goal is more specific and can be utilized with the SMART technique. Once you complete your goal, you can then move on to another goal that will get you one step closer to CTO.

The five most important questions you need to ask yourself when setting a specific goal are: who, what, where, why and which? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can successfully say that you have set a specific goal. For example, what do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish it? Who would be involved? Where do you need to be to accomplish this goal? Which constraints will serve to hinder my progress?

Making Your Goal Relevant

When choosing goals, you need to choose ones that matter. You could be the CTO of Apple and set a goal for yourself to make 70 drawings of cats by the time your office closes. While one would argue that it is specific, measurable, attainable and timely, is it really relevant? Goals that are relevant to your current situation, capacity and surroundings will receive all the support that it needs. Relevant goals are usually high goals that you set for yourself. Low goals have a demotivating factor that rarely promotes achievement.

A goal that aligns with the bigger picture can be considered a relevant goal. Take, for example, the engineering degree that you must get to become CTO of Apple. These two things are relevant. Answering yes to the following questions will allow you to classify your goal as “relevant”. Is this worthwhile? Does it match my needs? Am I the right person?

Making Your Goal Time-Bound

The last criteria of the SMART Goals but, arguably, the most important one has to do with time frame. Your goal needs to have a set deadline or time frame in order to push a sense of urgency on you. For example, if you want to lose weight, when do you want to lose it? Someday? That doesn’t work. You need to attach a time frame to it; something that will push you to get the job done in time. By doing that, your unconscious mind begins to set in motion and work on achieving that goal. Giving your goal a target date and a commitment to a deadline helps drive your focus.

The main reason this SMART goal is the most important of them all is due to the fact that it denies your goal from drowning in the havoc of your day-to-day life. “When?” is the first question that allows you to set a deadline for yourself. If you do not have any idea of the time required then you should question your capacity to do work. What can you do a day or a week or a month from now? Can you do anything today?


Developing feasible and sound goals is critical to managing your life and that of your employees. By getting into the mindset of working with SMART, anything and everything you possibly want to achieve can be associated with this technique. Whether you want to lose weight or are asking your employees to set goals for the upcoming year, train yourself to use the SMART technique. There is no scale for this technique and almost anyone can use it.

Remember, in order to give yourself an edge, make sure your goal is specific. You should have the ability to measure your progress on a day-to-day basis. Make sure you select a goal that is attainable and that can be achieved. One that is relevant and that can be completed within a specific timeframe.