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Published on February 5, 2020

20 Examples of Personal SMART Goals To Improve Your Life

20 Examples of Personal SMART Goals To Improve Your Life

All our lives are directed towards achieving some goals, whether we are thinking about them carefully or not. To be more proactive and productive, we have to learn how to set specific personal goals that we can use to measure our personal growth and progress. In order words, our goals have to be SMART.

To guide you on setting achievable goals for yourself, I have provided in this article, some examples of personal SMART goals that you can set to improve your life.

What are Personal Goals?

Personal goals are the expressions of the things you want to achieve for yourself in life. When you think about what you want to achieve in life and set goals towards achieving them, you will become more self-motivated and positive-minded.

Your personal goals can be in the form of short term goals or long term goals. They can provide you with long term direction and short term motivation.[1] Below are some examples of personal goals:

  • Learn something new every week
  • Work out every morning
  • Keep a daily journal
  • Volunteer at a non-profit every month

What are S.M.A.R.T Goals?

S.M.A.R.T. Goals are goals written to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or Attainable), Realistic (or Relevant), and Time-bound. The S.M.A.R.T. process was originally a management concept that was presented as a SMART way to write management goals and objectives. It was written in the following manner:

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Without making your goals SMART, they would be vague goals or just mere resolutions. The S.M.A.R.T. Goal setting process will help you think through your goals carefully so that you can give your goals structures that can be easily tracked and implemented. This also brings your goals closer to reality from the point of setting them.

20 Examples of Personal SMART Goals

The following are 20 examples of Personal SMART Goals that you can set to improve your life. They cut across different areas of life. Some of them are daily and weekly habits while some can take a longer time to achieve.

1. Walk 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week

Health is wealth, exercising for a recommended 150 minutes a week can reduce your risk of having heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc.[2]

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You can achieve this goal by brisk walking for 30 minutes a day on Mondays – Fridays. You may further break it down to 15 minutes each for morning and evening.

2. Improve your listening skills

Whether it is discussing with a spouse, a colleague at work or a casual friend, most people are swift to talk but poor at listening. You can know whether you are improving in your listening skills by asking for feedback after you have made your contributions.

For example, ask questions like “Has my answer addressed your concerns?”, “Is there anything else I can help with?”, “Do you have anything else in mind you want me to know?” You need to listen more to let people know that their opinions really matter to you.

3. Speak up to increase visibility

Are you one of those that hide in the crowd and barely talk in meetings? Setting a goal to increase your visibility is something worth considering. Plan ahead before each meeting to consider the agenda and prepare to make thoughtful and meaningful contributions.

4. Improve presentation/public speaking Skills

With thorough research, adequate preparations and rehearsals, you can make effective PowerPoint presentations, and deliver great speeches. Set a goal to always research your topics thoroughly, and get to rehearse before each presentation.

5. Improve your Emotional Intelligence

You can set a goal to become less reactive to issues and pay attention to finding out the underlying emotions and motivations behind the actions of others. Learn to connect with people at their own level.

Learn more in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

6. Start networking

Networking is important for personal and career development. Set a goal to attend three networking events quarterly to connect with old colleagues and meet new people.

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Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

7. Volunteer regularly

Contribute two volunteering hours weekly for community service. It could be teaching your favorite subject at a nearby high school, coaching kids in basketball or serving food at a restaurant for the homeless.

8. Improve your time management skills

Be more focused on achieving daily tasks. Minimize distractions and increase productivity by, say 40% over the next 3 months.

Check out these 7 Effective Time Management Tips To Maximize Your Productivity.

9. Wake up early

Ever thought of not having enough time to do the things you really love doing? Try waking up early. Set a goal to wake up as early as 5:00 am every day; you’ll have at least an hour extra to do the things you love before the day’s work begin.

10. Learn one new thing every week

There is no end to learning. Set a goal to add to something new to your knowledge and skill base every week. Get some ideas here: How to Learn Something New Every Day and Stay Smart

11. Learn a foreign language

There are many benefits to learning a foreign language. You will be able to expand your career opportunities, find more clients, expand your business, make more friends and make more money.

You might attain conversational fluency in a foreign language if you commit an hour daily to learning it over a period of one year.[3]

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Here’s How to Learn a Language in Just 30 Minutes a Day.

12. Overcome social media addiction

If you want to increase your productivity, you have to learn to manage or beat your social media addiction. This can be achieved in a couple of days, weeks or months depending on how strong your resolution is.

13. Increase typing speed to 60 WPM in three months

A slow typing speed slows down productivity. It is said that you can save 21 days a year by typing fast. You can set a goal to boost your typing speed and accuracy in a matter of three months.

Some tips for you: How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques

14. Keep a journal of key events

Practices like keeping a journal to record key events in your life can help you keep track of your progress. Such journals can help you regain motivation whenever you are facing a difficult situation.

This is Why You Should Keep A Journal And How To Get Started.

15. Attend college alumni reunion this year

Connect with old friends and relive memories by setting a goal to attend your high school reunion this year.

Maybe you will connect with people who can inspire your life or help with your career! It’s also a good opportunity to practice your networking skills.

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16. Organize a family reunion bi-annually

With everyone pursuing their own dreams, keeping the bond of family strong might require deliberately planning a family reunion. Bringing everyone together annually or at most once in two years won’t be a bad idea.

17. Learn a programming language

The world is getting more ‘techy’ by the day and everyone needs some sort of programming knowledge.

Make it a goal to learn the basics of a programming language annually and if you really get fascinated about one, why not create additional time to become a pro in it?

18. Clear all outstanding debts in 6 months

Living in debt can bring a lot of stress into your life. You can set a goal to clear all your debts in six months. This can be achieved by learning ways to become debt-free quickly: How to Pay off Debt Fast Using the Stack Method (A Step-By-Step Guide)

19. Increase spirituality

Spirituality means different things to different people. Whatever it means to you, you can set a goal to be more devoted and spend more time enriching that part of you.

20. Reconnect with “foes”

It is normal in life that people get to annoy you to the point that you block them out of your life. This happens a lot on social media.

Set a goal to let go of the past and look at these people you have barred with new perspectives. These people might have turned a new leaf and you might be surprised to find them valuable once more.

Final Thoughts

Your Personal SMART Goals can be just about anything. You will only have to be sure that you can muscle the discipline, resources, and requirements you will need to achieve them.

You may not achieve 100% of your goals all the time but it’s worth it; knowing that you are making progress with your life.

More Tips on Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1 7 Ways to Improve Your Management Leadership Skills The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Properly Delegate) Why You Need Spirituality Goals To Enhance Your Life Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

13 Critical Things to Consider Before Switching Careers

13 Critical Things to Consider Before Switching Careers

Do you have a path not taken? Maybe you had big career dreams when you were younger, but somehow they didn’t materialize.

Maybe you took your first job, thinking it would be a stepping stone to a better job. It seemed like a good idea at the time, you recall, except the better job never came along. Or perhaps, saddled with student loans, you took a job that helped you pay them off. You paid them all right, but now you feel stuck in a career you don’t really like.

The average person spends 90,000 hours in their lifetime at work[1]. That’s too much time to be doing anything you don’t love!

Is it time to think about switching careers? Here are 13 things to do when making the big leap.

Diagnose Your Current Work Situation

Before switching careers, it’s important to figure out why you’re currently unhappy so you don’t step into another situation that isn’t right for you. Start with these considerations before making any big decisions.

1. What Are You Passionate About?

It’s somewhat shocking, but research shows 87 percent of workers have no passion for their jobs[2]. Passion can be measured many ways, and one person’s passion is another’s poison. Still, if you believe in your company’s core mission, it really helps.

How can you find your passion? You may have to switch careers. Try to arrange informational interviews with as many people as you can who work in the field of your dreams to be certain that making the switch will make you feel more engaged with your work.

Your aim: To be as happy walking into the office on Monday morning as you are leaving the premises on Friday afternoon. When you love your job, no day feels too daunting. When you love your job, it doesn’t feel like work.

Need a little help finding your passion? This article can help: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

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2. Can You Keep up With Technology?

Are you keeping up with it? And is your current company supporting your efforts? The speed of technology is so fast that many companies today can’t keep up. This may result in anxiety among the company’s leadership. The sense of anxiety can filter down and impact the workers. Morale is low, and everyone fears for their job.

When switching careers, try to find a company that will allow you to learn as you grow. It also helps to consider yourself a lifelong learner. These days, we all have to be.

Invest the Time to Dream Big

If you’re now sure of why you want to make a move, it’s time to dig into your dreams to find exactly which direction to go.

3. What Does Your Vision Look Like?

Athletes visualize their signature moves. Politicians fantasize about winning. Your task is to visualize your dream. Where do want to be working five years from now? Ten years from now? Fifteen years from now? Figure out what your titles will be at each point along your new trajectory. Will you be living in your current geographical area or will you have moved?

Ask yourself the hard questions as well. Can you afford to switch careers right now? Will you be making more money or less than you currently do? How will you support those who depend on you?

Once you have your vision clearly committed to paper, run your vision by a few of the people who know you best. Do your friends encourage you to pursue your vision? (If they don’t, consider finding more supportive friends.)

4. Do You Know What to Expect?

It’s harder to switch careers than to find a new job in your current field. You may have to accomplish the move in several discreet steps. Will making a lateral move at your current company take you one step closer to your ultimate goal?

In addition to researching your dream field online, try to surround yourself with some friends who have recently switched careers. After you have formed a rough idea of the steps you will need to take to get from where you are now to your new career, consider committing it to an action plan. The more concrete you can make your Plan, the better.

Should you be attending more networking events? Do you need to burnish your online profile? Commit to action steps, and then put those steps into your daily calendar. You’re going to do this!

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If, for instance, you’ve decided to move from marriage counseling to financial planning — you’ve seen enough divorces resulting from money matters to know there’s a better way to help people — your listening skills and discretion will be an asset. Your research will reveal whether you need specialized training or licensing to qualify. If so, go online and add your name to every list you can find to learn more information. Start calculating how to pay for your courses. A bonus you’ll get with continuing ed courses: you’ll gain access to a strong peer network.

Take Action

Time to make the move. Start considering how you will approach these steps to get where you want to go.

5. Who Will Support You?

What if, early in your career, you made a job switch that you regret? Now is the time to call your ex-boss and try to get together for lunch or a cup of coffee. Let them know you are thinking of making a U-turn back to your former field.

What if your sister disapproves of every idea you have? Either resolve to avoid her for the next 12 months or call her right now — and tell her you’re switching careers and you don’t care whether she approves! Keep all naysayers at a distance during this transition time.

6. What Can You Do Each Day to Accomplish Your Dream?

Switching careers can be quite time-consuming, but if you break down the task into small chunks, tracking your progress as you go, you’ll have a better chance of success. Whether you spend a few hours today googling your dream career, or refurbish your LinkedIn profile to emphasize the skills you have that will help you land this new job — just keep at it.

Career-switcher’s hint: Working on your new dream for one hour each day is more productive than spending 12 hours working at it on a Sunday. The more committed you are to achieving your goal, the faster it will happen.

7. Does Your Resume Highlight the Correct Skills?

First, research the qualifications of the position you hope to land. Then, look for ways to mesh them with your own skills. While some careers require specific degrees and credentials, there are many positions you can transition into that require no additional education. Sometimes, what you bring from your own background is perfect.

Take inventory of all the hard and soft job skills you possess. For the skills you don’t have, put a plan in place to acquire them!

Highlight your qualifications in a way that makes a well-argued case for your compatibility with the organization and the position you’re after. Keep in mind that all employers look for candidates with skills that show leadership and the ability to solve problems, persevere through challenges, and get results.

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Refine the skills on your resume to incorporate these resume “musts.” Make sure, though, to only claim skills you truly possess. Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

Switching Careers Shortcuts

When switching careers, there are ways to make it easier. Look into these questions to see what can work for you in your search.

8. Do You Have Any Contacts in Your Desired Career?

People are remarkably forthcoming on their LinkedIn profiles. This helps when you search out employees in your dream field or a targeted company. But before you take full advantage of online networking, first make sure that your profile content is fresh.

Curate all social media accounts to reflect your new direction. Social media can increase your networking opportunities exponentially. Comment on the posts of your targeted contacts and pose pertinent questions to get on their radar.

9. Are You Networking Enough?

While it may be considered old-school to tap your organically grown (offline) network, it still comes with the best odds of success. Reach out to your friends and acquaintances with industry connections who can help you make a connection.

Make a point of meeting face-to-face with anyone who can offer you a lead or provide a reference. You never know what kind of opportunity will unfold from these offline connections.

Learn more about networking here: How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

10. How Can You Become an Expert in Your New Field?

Start building the skills you’ll need to make your career switch. LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course. Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile.

Read trade magazines and study up on industry trends. Write and post articles on timely topics. Develop an online presence in the field of your dreams.

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11. Are You Willing to Put Yourself out There?

Nonprofit organizations often look for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, fundraising, and more. Once you’ve mastered the needed skills, be sure to have the head of the organization or a board member write a glowing recommendation for you.

Depending on your desired career, it may be possible to take on a contract assignment at a company where you learn on the job. A freelance gig allows you to polish your skills, make connections, and prove you’re serious about this career change.

For example, if your dream is to transform your knack for attracting followers through pithy postings into a career as a social media manager, don’t be afraid to pitch your services. Most companies need someone to manage their online presence and may welcome your fresh new strategy.

Switching Careers Results

Now that you’ve taken the steps to switch careers, bask in the success you’ve found in doing so.

12. How Can You Reward Yourself?

Set whatever benchmarks you need to achieve as you embark on switching careers, and think of them as cause for mini-celebrations. Find frugal ways to reward yourself.

However, hold out for the big, pop-the-champagne celebration until you land your dream job.

13. Has the Risk Paid Off?

People who prefer to play it safe throughout their careers often fall short of their potential. Research shows the primary reason executives derail is an inability to change[3]. It takes a large measure of courage to pursue a new path. And when you succeed, it fuels your confidence.

You have an air of self-assurance about you and a can-do spirit that stands out. And best of all, you’ll have moved from a dead-end or lackluster job to one into which you can pour your passion and realize the feeling of self-fulfillment.

The Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to switch your career path once you’ve outgrown the one you’re in. Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction and you’ll reap great rewards by realizing the joys of job satisfaction.

More Tips on Switching Careers

Featured photo credit: Kevin Bhagat via unsplash.com

Reference

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