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The Only SMART Goals Template You’ll Ever Need

The Only SMART Goals Template You’ll Ever Need

Setting goals in the workplace is never as straightforward as we think it will be or would like it to be. This is especially true for those in the workplace who have never had to set professional goals for themselves before. 

Without a defined or intentional process, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of setting goals that are too broad, impossible to measure the success of, unattainable, or unrealistic. In other words, you run the risk of setting yourself up for failure. 

Using the SMART goals framework to avoid common pitfalls when setting goals can be immensely helpful. Not only does this framework give the goal-setting process much-needed structure, but it helps ensure you’re setting challenging yet feasible goals.  

In the following article, you’ll not only receive the only SMART goals template you’ll need from here on out but also a recap of the SMART acronym and a list of questions to ask yourself. Let’s begin.


What Are SMART Goals in the Workplace? 

In the workplace, SMART goals are a framework employees, leaders, and teams can use to set goals and objectives. SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

The idea was originally published by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham in the 1981 article, “There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives.” Since then, the idea has become one of the most popular goal-setting techniques and has been adopted by individuals and organizations in both the private and public sectors worldwide. 

SMART Goals At Work  Niagara Institute


Make your goals a reality with the editable templates and worksheets in our  Goal Setting Workbook.


Questions to Ask When Writing SMART Goals

There’s no question that the SMART goals template provided below will help you get started, but you might need more of a prompt than that. In that case, here is a list of questions to ask yourself as you work your way through each part of the SMART acronym. 



In the SMART goals acronym, the S stands for Specific. The last thing you want your goal to be is ambiguous and vague, so before you do anything else, outline what you intend to accomplish. To do this, you should address the 5 W’s (What, When, Who, Why, Where). You can do so by asking yourself the following questions. 

  • Exactly, what do you want/need to accomplish?
  • What will be the outcome?
  • What will success look like?
  • Who will be involved/impacted?
  • When do you want to accomplish this?
  • Why is this something you want to accomplish? Why is it important? 


In the SMART goals acronym, the M stands for Measurable. Your goal should be quantifiable, which means you should be able to measure or count it. For example, “I want to make more sales” is not a measurable goal, but “I want to make 20% more sales this year” is. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure your goal is measurable. 

  • By what date will you accomplish your goal?
  • How will you know when the goal has been accomplished?
  • Is there a specific metric or number you want/need to meet?
  • How will you measure progress/success? 



In the SMART goals acronym, the A stands for Achievable. While your goal should be a challenge to achieve, it should also be within the realm of possibility, given the time, resources, training, and support you have available. After all, there’s no sense in setting a goal that you’re never going to achieve, as that will only put you at risk of disappointment and demotivation. Ask yourself the following questions to ensure you’re setting realistic and achievable goals.

  • What exactly do you need to achieve this goal?
  • Do you have the skills needed to achieve this goal?
  • Do you have the time needed to achieve this goal?
  • Do you have access to the resources needed to achieve this goal?
  • Do you have the support needed to achieve this goal?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you in your ability to achieve this goal?
  • Is this goal achievable given the non-negotiable daily demands of your role? 



In the SMART goals acronym, the R stands for Relevant. Any goal you set in the workplace should not only align with the broader, strategic goals of your team and organization but also with your own career aspirations and values. In other words, the goals you set should matter and be important in the grander scheme of things. Ask yourself the following questions to ensure the relevance of your goals. 

  • Why is the goal important to accomplish?
  • Is the goal worthwhile? If so, why?
  • How does the goal contribute to the success of yourself/your team/your organization?
  • Does the goal align with the goals of your team/business?
  • Why now? Is this the right time to work on this particular goal?



In the SMART goals acronym, the T stands for Time-bound. During this final step, you need to define a timeframe for your goal. If you don’t and opt to leave it open-ended, you may end up continually pushing it off for more important or urgent tasks until, finally, you lose track of it entirely. To ensure your goal is time-bound, ask yourself the following questions. 

  • How much time do you need to accomplish the goal?
  • By what date do you want to accomplish the goal? Is that realistic? If not, what timeframe would be more realistic?
  • When do you want to see progress?
  • What can you do today, this week, this month, etc., to progress toward the goal? 



SMART Goals Template: The Easy Way to Create Goals at Work

SMART Goals Template from Niagara Institute (1)Now that you know the five parts that make up a SMART goal and have a list of questions to refer to, you’re ready to start writing your goals using this printable SMART Goals Template. Upon downloading it, you will receive both a fully editable Google Docs version of the SMART Goals Template and a printable PDF version as well, so you can choose the option that works best for you. 


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