Last Updated on April 19, 2021

20 Personal SMART Goals Examples to Improve Your Life

20 Personal SMART Goals Examples to Improve Your Life

All our lives are directed towards achieving some life 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 other words, our goals have to be SMART, and SMART goals examples are not hard to come by.

To guide you as you begin to write SMART goals for your personal development, I have provided some examples of SMART personal 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, whether those are business goals, family goals, or lifestyle goals. 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.

Your specific 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 suggest an indicator of progress for measurable goals.
  • Achievable: Specify who will do it and how.
  • Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related: Specify the target date or general time frame when the result(s) can be achieved.

SMART Goals: Definition and Examples |
    Without making your goals SMART, they may be vague goals or just mere resolutions[2]. Setting SMART goals will help you think through your goals carefully so that you can give your goals structures that can be easily tracked and implemented. But setting a SMART goal is not it, you need to know exactly what to do next to help you get to your goal step by step. The Make It Happen Handbook is great tool to help you plan your goal and get to it successfully. Get your handbook and reach your goal this year!

    20 Personal SMART Goals Examples

    The following are 20 personal SMART goals examples that you can set to improve your life. They cut across different areas of life but generally fall into the category of personal goals. 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, and exercising for a recommended 150 minutes a week can reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, etc.[3].

    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, team members, or a casual friend, most people are swift to talk but slow to listen. You can know whether you are improving your listening skills by asking for feedback after you have made your contributions


    For example, ask questions like “Has my answer addressed your concerns?” or “Is there anything else I can help with?” You need to listen more to let people know that their opinions really matter to you, making this one of the best SMART goals examples.

    3. Speak up to Increase Visibility

    Are you one of those that hide in the crowd and barely talk in meetings? Setting a personal 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 preparation, and rehearsals, you can make effective PowerPoint presentations and deliver great speeches. Set a goal to always research your topics thoroughly, and make time to rehearse before each presentation. This is one of the best SMART goals examples as it will help you both personally and professionally.

    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[4].

    Make it a personal goal to increase emotional intelligence.

      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 personal goal to attend three networking events quarterly to connect with old colleagues and meet new people.


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

      7. Volunteer Regularly

      When it comes to SMART goals examples, contributing two volunteering hours weekly for community service can be a great way to give back and feel good. 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. Try creating to-do lists or using scheduling apps on your phone to keep you on track.

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

      9. Wake up Early

      Are you constantly feeling short on time? 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 begins.

      10. Learn One New Thing Every Week

      There is no end to learning. Set a personal goal to add something new to your knowledge and skill base every week. Read a book, learn some new vocabulary words for that foreign language you’ve always wanted to pick up, or listen to a podcast.

      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, make more friends, and earn more money. For all these reasons, this is one of the most valuable SMART goals examples.

      You might attain conversational fluency in a foreign language if you commit an hour daily to learning it over a period of one year[5]. It’s even better if you can find a native speaker to practice with.


      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. Doing this can also give your self-esteem a boost by reducing social comparisons.

      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.

      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. It may also help you work through tough situations and keep yourself grounded, making this one of the best personal goals to start.

      15. Attend a College Alumni Reunion This Year

      When looking at SMART goals examples, many people look to the future, but reconnecting with the past can be valuable as well. Connect with old friends and relive memories by setting a goal to attend your college alumni 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.

      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 once every 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[6].


      SMART Goals Examples: 17 Easiest Programming Languages to Learn

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

        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)

        Start working on this now, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the debt decreases.

        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. This may be one of those SMART goals examples that generally improves your mental health, as well.

        This may not mean going to church. Some people will find they connect most to their spirituality while gardening, walking in nature, or meditating. Find what helps you connect with that deeper sense of meaning and follow it.

        20. Reconnect With “Foes”

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

        Set a personal goal to let go of the past and look at these people you have barred with a new perspective. They may 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. How? Grab this Dreamer’s Guide To Reaching Your Goal and find out!

        You may not achieve 100% of your goals all the time, but it’s important to set your goals knowing that you are making progress with your life. Check out the SMART goals examples above and start setting some of your own today.


        More Tips on Goal Setting

        Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production via


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        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Last Updated on July 25, 2021

        A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

        A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

        If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

        Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

        You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

        Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

        What Are Goals?

        To kick off our goal setting guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

        A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

        Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

        Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

          For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

          Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

          However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

          Why Is Goal Setting Important?

          Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?


          While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

          Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

          Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

          Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

          Types of Goals

          Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips.

          These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.


          One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.


          There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

          Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

          Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.


          Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

          The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.


          Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

          Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.


          Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

          Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

          Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

          There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

          They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.


          Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.


          Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

          You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.


          The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

          From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.


          Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

          How to Set Goals

          The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

          1. Use SMART Goals

          Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

          SMART stands for:

          • Specific
          • Measurable
          • Attainable
          • Relevant
          • Time-Bound

          In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

          If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

          There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

          2. Prioritize Your Goals

          As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

          3. Think of Those Around You

          As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

          If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

          4. Take Action

          Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

          You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!


          5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

          Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

          You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

          I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

          How to Reach Your Goals

          You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.


          One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

          Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

          Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.


          With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

          Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

          The Bottom Line

          In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

          Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

          More Tips on Achieving Success

          Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via



          [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
          [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
          [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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