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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

20 Personal SMART Goals Examples to Improve Your Life

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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 | Indeed.com
    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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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. 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].

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      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.

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        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 27, 2021

        8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

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        8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

        The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

        Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

        Thus, this article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question — why is goal setting important?

        1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

        It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

        But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

        Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

        Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

        “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

        And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

        Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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        So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

        2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

        Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

        You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

        Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

        Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

        So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

        3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

        A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

        But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

        Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

        Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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        So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

        4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

        This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

        Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

        What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

        This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

        If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

        So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

        5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

        This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

        What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

        The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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        Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

        So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

        6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

        Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

        For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

        A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

        Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

        So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

        7. Goals Make You Feel Good

        Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

        Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

        Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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        If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

        So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

        8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

        I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

        Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

        Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

        There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

        Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

        So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

        Final Thoughts

        These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

        If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

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        Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

        More Tips About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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