If you want to succeed in life, set goals. Many people have dreams for the future, but without creating a plan or timeline to achieve that vision, your dream is less likely to become a reality. It's hard to know where to start or how to keep yourself accountable along the way though, which is why SMART goals are helpful. SMART is an acronym referring to goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Whether you're a professional, a student, an educator, or a parent, creating clearly-defined goals that satisfy each of the SMART elements makes it easier to succeed since you've nailed down what success looks like and tangible steps for how to get there. For example, setting a SMART goal to "submit 10 job applications everyday for the next 6 months in order to find a job" is significantly more actionable than simply saying you want to "get a job."

However, formulating the goal in your mind is not enough. If you truly want to commit to a goal, write it down. Making your goal visible is a crucial step that ensures it doesn't remain a fleeting thought that will soon be forgotten. This SMART goals template is a visual planner that can help ensure you're creating well-rounded goals that set yourself up on the path to success. The template is free, online, fully customizable, and will help hold yourself accountable.

Follow these instructions to visually plan your SMART goals using the template:

1. Open the SMART goals template


The simplest way to start documenting your SMART goal is by using this template. Click "Make It" above to get to our pre-formatted template and start editing.

2. Write your goal and explain it

Fill out the template by adding text boxes to each section. Simply click "Text" in the top toolbar to create a text box, then drag it into place. Adjust the size of the text box by clicking it and dragging the purple dots on the corners. You can also change the text font, color, background color, and line height using options on the right side.

Start by writing your SMART goal at the top of the template. Don't worry if it's not fully thought-out since you'll be able to refine the goal as you go through the rest of the planner.

Next, explain how each element of SMART is accounted for in your overall goal. Use the guiding questions below to fill in your answer for each respective box in the template:

Is the goal specific?

What exactly are you trying to achieve?
What is the result you are striving towards?

Is the goal measurable?

How will you measure success?
How can you track progress?

Is the goal attainable?

Can you realistically achieve this goal?
What steps do you need to take?
Are there variables beyond yourself that may block progress?

Is the goal relevant?

Is this relevant for your long-term objectives?
Is this a priority right now?

Is the goal time-bound?

What is the time frame for the goal?
What is the target end date?
What milestones are there along the way?

Example answers

3. Customize the template's appearance

A unique feature of this template is that it's fully customizable. Feel free to edit the appearance and layout of elements to your liking. Change the background color, font styling and color, or add images/emojis using the "Images" tab to make the template your own.

4. Save and share your file

Once you're happy with how everything looks, click the red "Export Image" button in the corner. After your file processes, you can save it to your computer by choosing "Download" or share it with others by sending them the page's URL.

From here on out, it's all about working towards your goal! Keep your plan visible by printing it out or putting it somewhere accessible and don't forget to track progress. Future you will be grateful for the work you've put in today.

This article is part of Kapwing's EDU Week content series for the 2020 back-to-school season! Check out other related articles here:

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