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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

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life

The world of productivity has several hacks or tricks to help you manage your time: to-do lists, the Pomodoro Technique, Parkinson’s Law… All of these strategies are great strategies in their own way, but one strategy stands above all the others: the 80 20 rule.

This particular strategy has been used the most and is regarded as the most helpful in developing time management and other concepts in life.

But what’s so special about this rule? How does it give you success and how do you use it? Let’s explore the specifics.

What Is the 80 20 Rule?

Many people regard this rule as the 80 20 rule, but it has a proper name: the Pareto Principle[1]. The principle was named after its founder,  the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in 1895. Pareto noticed that people in society were divided into two categories:

  • The “vital few,” which consisted of the top 20 percent with respect to money and influence.
  • The “trivial many,” otherwise known as the bottom 80 percent.

As he researched this further, he came to discover that this divide didn’t apply only to money and influence, but other areas, too. Virtually all economic activity was subject to his previous observation.

He observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth at the time was controlled by only 20% of the population.

Since the development of this rule, humankind has used this particular ratio in all kinds of situations. Even if the ratio isn’t always exact, we see this rule applied in many industries and in life. Examples are:

  • 20% of sales reps will generate 80% of your total sales.
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.
  • 80% of the revenue will stem from 20% of the workers.

Either way, I’m sure you can piece together why people call this rule the 80 20 rule over Pareto’s Principle[2].

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Make Your Life and Your Business More Efficient with the 80-20 Rule - Salesforce Canada Blog

    In terms of how this particular rule will be able to work for you, it’s a matter of applying this rule to how you spend your time. For us to see success, the goal is simple.

    We need to set it up in such a way that 20% of our input is responsible for 80% of our results.

    Another way to think about it is we use 20% of our time on activities that give us 80% of our results in a given area of life.

    How Does the 80 20 Rule Work?

    To best explain this, let’s visualize a bit.

    In an ideal world:

    • Every employee would contribute the same amount of effort to work.
    • Every feature that’s released for an app or product would be equally loved by users.
    • Each business idea you come up with would be a hit.

    In that scenario, planning would be a breeze. There wouldn’t be any need to analyze anything so long as you put in the effort.

    But that’s not reality.

    Yes, the effort is certainly an element, but what the 80 20 principle states is that everything is unequal. Invest in 10 start-up companies, and you’ll find only a few will pass year two and make it big. You’re in a team of five, and there’ll be one person doing more work than others.

    We wish our lives were always one-for-one in terms of input and output, but that’s simply not true. Understanding this is key to understanding how the 80 20 rule really works.

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    So how does it really work?

    It’s a matter of focusing on what’s giving you the most in your life for little of your time.

    Going back to the few examples I’ve presented above, consider this:

    • If two start-ups you invested in are making it big, focus on having a more direct hand, and see if you can help them prosper more.
    • If 20% of sales reps are giving you 80% of your sales, focus on rewarding those and keeping their spirits high and motivated.

    These scenarios can go on and on, but the idea is to place your efforts on the 20% that is actually making the difference in your life. Another term that’s good to know is the diminishing marginal utility[3].

    Pareto didn’t come up with this one, but the law goes as follows: each extra hour of effort or worker will add less “oomph” to your finished results.

    Eventually, you’ll hit a point where you will spend a lot of time on small and unimportant details, similar to perfectionism.

    So before hitting that point, you want to have a laser focus on the most important details, from family and relationships to your work or business. Prioritize the activities that are going to move you forward the most, and be wary of adding extra time, effort, or more hands into those particular tasks moving forward.

    How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule

    So now that you have an understanding of the 80 20 rule and how it works, what is the best way to take advantage of it?

    Depending on where you are applying this rule, this can be used in all kinds of fashions.

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    For example, you can apply this rule to goal setting, as demonstrated by Brian Tracy in this video:

    Or you can apply it in terms of general productivity as explained in this article: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

    The core of this rule is that it forces us to ask ourselves the questions we wouldn’t consider otherwise. It helps us to place our focus in the right places with regards to all things in life.

    In short, the 80 20 rule places us in charge of our lives and helps us set out on our goals and dreams. With this in mind, here are some things you can consider concerning this rule.

    1. Focus on Your Big Tasks First

    While this is the essence of the 80 20 rule, it’s still worth mentioning. Why? Because so many of us feel intimidated by the biggest task. We instinctively avoid it and opt for smaller tasks first.

    We think that if we complete enough small tasks that we will feel motivated to finish that really big one later. But that’s really false hope at work.

    Once we finish off a lot of small tasks, we either feel drained, or we tell ourselves we’ll do this the next day.

    Instead of doing all that, bite the bullet and tackle the largest task first.

    If you need help with prioritization, check out this article.

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    I argue this by challenging you to ask yourself this one question:

    “Is the task I’m about to do the top 20 percent of my activities or the bottom 80 percent?”

    I’m sure you’ve seen time and again you or other workers spending a lot of time on one task for most of the day. In those kinds of grinds, you’re barely getting ahead and have next to nothing to show for it. That’s because they’re putting all their attention on work that’s in the 80 percent.

    It’s normally the big tasks that are part of the 20 percent.

    Another way to think about this is that everything we do starts a habit. If every day we spend our energy on low-value tasks, we will always prioritize those.

    2. Stretch This Into Personal Life

    While I’ve been talking about business and setting goals, remember you can use this in other areas of your life, too.

    Take your personal life and ask yourself some of these questions:

    • How much TV do you watch on a regular basis? What sort of shows are you legitimately into? These questions can help you in recognizing what shows you are watching purely for consumption. By applying the 80 20 rule, you can cut back on Netflix, TV, or YouTube video consumption and prioritize other areas of your life.
    • What does your wardrobe look like in terms of colors? Are there specific colors that you like? Knowing what you wear most times will help you in sorting out your wardrobe significantly. It also saves you time to come up with what to wear every morning.
    • How many newsletters do you actually read? This question can help you in figuring out which newsletters to unsubscribe to and can clear up a lot of space in your inbox. It can also relieve pressure from having to check your emails constantly.
    • How much time do you spend on your phone every day? How much of that time is actually doing something meaningful? These questions can help you in clearing out various apps that aren’t helping you with your goals. In fact, this can curb the need to check your phone constantly.

    Final Thoughts

    The 80 20 rule is the productivity hack that many of us need, and for good reason. As you can tell, it’ll help you to focus and prioritize the more important aspects of your life.

    Not only that, but it’ll maximize those outputs at the same time and ensure you’re not spending too much time working on them. All you need to do is start asking questions and taking action.

    More Techniques to Help You Succeed in Life

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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