How to Create SMART Goals (+ Templates)

Goal setting is an important and helpful practice, both for your personal and professional life.

But if you struggle to achieve your goals, like many people do, it could be because you aren’t setting them correctly. By following some guidelines, it’s easier to define goals that you’ll actually be able to reach.

Today we’re talking about all things SMART goals — what they are, why they work and how to create them. Plus, we’re sharing ten SMART goal templates to guide you through the goal-setting process.

Let’s get into it!


What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are goals that follow a specific framework.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific (or simple, sensible, significant)
  • Measurable (or meaningful, motivating)
  • Attainable (or agreed, achievable)
  • Relevant (or reasonable, realistic, resourced, results-based)
  • Time-bound (or time-based, time limited, timely, time-sensitive)

This acronym was first used in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran and has since been widely adopted by individuals and organizations around the world.

SMART goals are helpful because they give you clear direction. When your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound, you are much more likely to reach those goals because your path is already laid out.

Only 3% of adults have goals that are specific, measurable and time-bound. But for those who apply this framework to their goals, it pays off big time: These people achieve 10 times as much as people without goals.

Setting goals is a helpful way to improve yourself and reach your dreams. But just setting goals isn’t enough — it’s setting the right kind of goals that’s important. Enter: SMART goals.


How to Create SMART Goals

You know what SMART goals are and why they’re important. But how can you actually create them?

Here, we’re breaking down each letter of the acronym, explaining how you can fine-tune that aspect of your goal. Read on for SMART goal examples that will help you build your own.



The first rule of SMART goal setting is that your goal must be specific. Get clear and detailed about what you want to do and why you want to do it.

For example, which of the following goals do you think would be easier to achieve?

“I want more people to know about my company” or “I want to increase qualified leads per month by 20%.”

When your goal is specific, you’ll have a much easier time getting started. The first example given here is vague and arbitrary. The second example explicitly tells you what to do — increase qualified leads by 20%. You have specific direction and the process is simplified; you’re ready to get to work.

Some people even take things a step further by implementing specific actions into their goal: “I want to increase qualified leads by 20% by guest blogging, developing a lead magnet and running Facebook ad campaigns.” This makes your job even easier.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a specific goal, answering the following five questions might help:

  • Who is involved in this goal?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where is this goal to be achieved?
  • When do I want to achieve this goal?
  • Why do I want to achieve this goal?

These questions can help you hone in on the specifics of your goal.



Next up is M for measurable. You need to have a way to track your progress. Otherwise, how will you know when (or if) you reach your goal?

Include specific criteria or benchmarks that can help measure your progress as you inch toward the end goal. Make sure you’ll know when you have reached your goal (for instance, when qualified leads have increased by 20%) and what indicators of progress you’ll use to measure along the way (such as the increase you’re seeing in qualified leads per month).

Reporting your progress to a friend or accountability partner can also help ensure you reach your goal. Research shows that people who set actionable tasks for their goals and initiate weekly progress reporting to supportive peers tend to achieve 40% more than people who don’t. However, you can only report your progress if you know how you’re going to track it.



Your goal shouldn’t be such a wild dream that it will take years of work to reach it. However, you also don’t want to set easy goals that you could reach by next week. There’s a sweet spot somewhere in the middle — and that’s what you want to hit.

Chances are, only you can determine whether a certain goal is attainable and appropriate for you or your company. Challenge and stretch yourself, but make sure the goal is something that’s realistically in reach.

Think about what resources or capabilities you’ll need to reach the goal and whether you have them in hand. Your goal should focus on things that are in your control — such as “spend X hours improving my resume and my interview skills” rather than “get hired by a new company.”

If you successfully set a goal that’s attainable, yet still challenging, there’s a much better chance you’ll reach it: Studies revealed that 90% of people perform better with relevant and challenging goals. So, setting challenging goals leads to achieving more.



Why are you setting the goal you’re setting? Is it truly relevant to you and your business right now? Will it help you reach your ultimate longterm big-picture end goal(s)? Again, you might be the only one who can make that call.

Think about whether a certain goal matters to your company, and if so, why. What kind of difference will it make once achieved? You can also gauge a goal’s relevance based on how enthusiastically your employees or team get on board.

Another way to check whether a goal is relevant: Hold it up against your company’s mission statement and core values. Does the goal align with and support these ideas? If so, this is a good sign. If not, consider going back to the drawing board and tweaking the goal to make it a better fit.



Give yourself a start and finish date to achieve your goal. If you don’t set a deadline for yourself, it’s very likely that you’ll never reach the goal at all. Choose a specific date by which you want to achieve the goal — again, something that challenges you, but is realistic. For instance:

“I want to increase qualified leads by 20% by the beginning of Q4 of this year.”

Setting goals that are time-bound motivates you and pushes you to get them done. You might also choose to break one large goal up into several smaller subgoals, each with their own individual deadline. This might look like:

  • Set up first Facebook ad campaign by X date
  • Finish writing lead magnet ebook by X date
  • Have 10 guest blog posts published by X date

Subgoals make your primary goal seem more manageable and attainable.


10 SMART Goals Templates

Does setting SMART goals feel like a puzzle? Visme has templates and worksheets that can help you get off the ground. Use these ten helpful templates to work through the goal-setting process and come up with a goal that ticks each of the five boxes.

Each template can be customized with Visme — use our document creator to tweak fonts, colors and data before downloading the finished sheet or sharing it online so others can keep you accountable.


1. Detailed SMART Goals Worksheet Template

Think through the purpose of your goal with this detailed SMART goals worksheet. This template helps you think through the key steps you’ll need to take to reach this goal, including milestones and start and finish dates. The worksheet also has a log where you can record your progress as you go.


2. SMART Website Goals Mind Map Template

If you like mind map diagrams, this is the worksheet for you. Visualize your goal using this handy mind map with space to note the specifics of your goal, how you’ll measure your progress and why this goal is attainable and relevant.


3. SMART Goals With Problem-Solving Worksheet Template

This worksheet walks you through each of the five letters in the SMART acronym, asking helpful questions to assist you in planning out your goal. It also includes a cheat sheet for solving problems, which asks:

  • What are the possible problems you might encounter on the road to reaching your goals?
  • What are the easiest ways to solve these problems?
  • What are the resources you can use to solve the listed problems?
  • Who are the people you can ask for help if you encounter these problems?
  • What are some inspirational words you’ll turn to when problems become too difficult?

These questions help you think through your goal and proactively come up with solutions to troubleshoot any issues.


4. Simple SMART Goals Worksheet Template

In this simple worksheet, there is space for you to list out each aspect of your goal. If you like minimalistic, no-frill designs, this is the worksheet for you.


5. SMART Goals With Action Plan Worksheet Template

Reach the top of your personal mountain with Visme’s SMART Goals With Action Plan worksheet. First, write out your goal statement, making sure your goal adheres to the acronym. Next, note down why your goal is important and what’s needed to accomplish the goal. Finally, put your plan into action.


6. Printable SMART Goals Worksheet Template

Get started on your goals with this printable worksheet. Add your target date and start date at the top. Then type goal details into each of the columns provided. When you reach your goal, go back and mark down the date achieved.


7. SMART Goals Worksheet Template

This worksheet is another good choice for people who want a simple way to write out their goal(s). Add one line under each letter: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Then you’re ready to get to work.


8. Media Industry SMART Goals Infographic Template

Ideal for people or companies in the media industry, this infographic helps you cast a long-term vision. Use the Visme document creator to customize the template with your own text, adding specific goals, measurable targets and a timeline.


9. Food Industry SMART Goals Infographic Template

Calling all foodies: This SMART goals infographic is a delicious way to outline your goals. Edit the template and add your information. Then post the finished worksheet in the kitchen to spur you on to achieve that goal.


10. Tourism Industry SMART Goals Infographic Template

This final Visme template is designed for the travel and tourism industry. It’s fairly simple, including five sections where you can add details of your goals. Use the template to share among your team and get everybody on board.


Ready to Set Your Own SMART Goals?

Get started creating SMART goals using our professional document creator. Visme’s easy-to-use online document editor lets you customize documents like the SMART goal worksheets shown here.

Edit the templates for your goals or print the worksheets to complete by hand. With Visme’s SMART goal templates, it’s easier than ever to not only set, but also achieve your goals.

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