12 SMART Goals Examples for Problem Solving

Everyone should aim to develop their problem-solving skills in life. It’s critical for career growth and personal development. That’s why establishing SMART goals is a valuable tool for achieving success and reaching desired outcomes.

This article will provide SMART goals examples for effective problem solving. Gaining inspiration to pursue these goals can help you become more organized and effective in problem-solving situations.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART framework is an amazing way to establish practical goals. For those unaware, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Still confused? SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Accomplishing goals starts with defining them and how they will be achieved. The more detailed your goals for problem solving, the greater the likelihood you have of meeting them.
  • Measurable: Having a quantifiable goal is a crucial SMART component. Tracking your progress makes modifying or adjusting the path forward easier if needed. You’ll also have a tangible way to determine whether or not your objectives have been met.
  • Attainable: Try to decide on what is realistically possible before pursuing goals. If possible, break down your overarching goal into smaller objectives that fall within your current capabilities. Setting too high or unrealistic expectations cause you frustration and even giving up on your aspirations altogether.
  • Relevant: You must align your actions with your core values. Hence, take some time to reflect on how you want your goals to reflect your interests and values.
  • Time-based: Success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication, so you should have a specific timeline when working toward your dreams. You will stay organized and motivated throughout the journey when you set a deadline.

In today’s world, being able to identify and solve problems using analytical skills can’t be undervalued. Following the 5 SMART criteria above will allow you to achieve better results with fewer resources.

12 SMART Goals Examples for Problem Solving

Here are 12 examples of SMART goals for better problem solving:

1. Define the Problem

“I’ll create a plan to define and describe the problem I’m trying to solve by the end of two weeks. This will allow me to identify the exact issue that needs to be addressed and develop an effective solution promptly.”

Specific: The goal outlines the task of defining and describing a problem.

Measurable: You can measure your progress by creating a plan after two weeks.

Attainable: The statement is within reach because it requires critical thinking and planning.

Relevant: Defining an issue is required for enhanced problem solving.

Time-based: There is a two-week timeline for accomplishing this goal.

2. Analyze Root Cause

“I will take the time to thoroughly analyze the root cause of a problem before I attempt to come up with a solution. Before jumping into a solution, I’ll consider the possible causes and try to figure out how they interact with each other.”

Specific: The SMART goal outlines what will be done to analyze the root cause of a problem.

Measurable: You could measure how often you take the time for analysis.

Attainable: This is realistic because taking the time to do a thorough analysis is possible.

Relevant: Gaining a better understanding of the root causes of a problem can lead to more effective solutions.

Time-based: You’ll follow this process every time you solve a problem, so this goal is ongoing.

3. Be Willing to Collaborate With Others

“For the duration of 10 months, my goal is to be willing to collaborate with others to find the best solution for any problem at hand. I want to be open to exchanging ideas and listening to the opinions of others so that we can solve our problems efficiently.”

Specific: The person must proactively strive to collaborate with others.

Measurable: You can keep track of how often you collaborate monthly.

Attainable: This is feasible because it requires only the willingness to collaborate and exchange ideas.

Relevant: Collaboration allows you to find better solutions and grow your network.

Time-based: You have 10 months to pursue this particular target.

4. Evaluate Alternatives

“I will review and evaluate at least three alternative solutions to the problem by the end of this month. I’ll evaluate the costs and benefits of each solution, prioritize them based on their potential effectiveness and make my recommendation.”

Specific: You will need to review and evaluate three alternative solutions.

Measurable: Count how many alternative solutions you listed.

Attainable: With enough time and effort, anybody can review and evaluate multiple solutions.

Relevant: This is related to problem solving, which can advance your professional career.

Time-based: You have one month for goal achievement.

5. Implement Action Plan

“To ensure that my action plans are implemented effectively, I will create a timeline with concrete steps and review it every two weeks for the 6 months ahead. I want all aspects of my plan to take place as scheduled and the process is running smoothly.”

Specific: The aim is to create a timeline and review it every two weeks for 6 months.

Measurable: The person can compare their timeline to the actual results and ensure that every aspect of the plan takes place as scheduled.

Attainable: This goal is achievable if the individual has the time, resources, and support.

Relevant: Realize that implementing an action plan applies to problem solving.

Time-based: Success will be reached after 6 whole months.

6. Ask the Right Questions

“I’ll learn to ask the right questions by reading two books on effective questioning strategies and attending a workshop on the same topic within the next quarter. This will allow me to get to the root of any problem more quickly.”

Specific: The goal states what to do (read two books and attend a workshop) to learn how to ask the right questions.

Measurable: You can check your progress by reading the books and attending the workshop.

Attainable: This is a reasonable goal and can be met within the given time frame.

Relevant: Asking the right questions is key to solving any problem quickly.

Time-based: Goal completion should be accomplished within a quarter.

asking questions

7. Be More Flexible

“I will seek opportunities to be more flexible when problem solving for the following 8 months. This could include offering creative solutions to issues, brainstorming ideas with colleagues, and encouraging feedback from others.”

Specific: This SMART goal is explicit because the person wants to become more flexible when problem solving.

Measurable: Check how often and effectively you follow the three action items.

Attainable: This goal is achievable if you dedicate time to being more open-minded.

Relevant: Flexibility is integral to problem solving, so this goal is highly relevant.

Time-based: Eight months is the allotted time to reach the desired result.

8. Brainstorm Solutions

“I want to develop a list of 5 potential solutions by the end of this month for any problem that arises. I’ll brainstorm with my team and research to develop the options. We’ll use these options to evaluate the most feasible solution for a specific issue.”

Specific: You should come up with a list of 5 potential solutions with your team.

Measurable: Actively count how many potential solutions you come up with.

Attainable: This goal can be achieved with research and collaboration.

Relevant: Brainstorming solutions help you evaluate the best option for a certain issue.

Time-based: You should strive to meet this goal by the end of the month.

9. Keep a Cool Head

“When encountering a difficult problem, I will strive to remain calm and not rush into any decisions. For three months, I’ll take a few moments to pause, gather my thoughts and assess the situation with a clear head before taking action.”

Specific: The person identifies the goal of remaining calm when encountering complex problems.

Measurable: It is possible to measure success in terms of how long it takes to pause and assess the situation.

Attainable: Taking a few moments before taking action is realistic for most people.

Relevant: Keeping a cool head in difficult situations is beneficial for problem solving.

Time-based: This SMART statement has an end date of three months.

10. Don’t Make Rash Assumptions

“I will no longer make assumptions or jump to conclusions without gathering facts. I’ll strive to be more open-minded when finding solutions to problems and take the time to consider all perspectives before making a decision.”

Specific: The goal is explicit in that individuals aim to be open-minded.

Measurable: You can evaluate how often assumptions are made without gathering facts or considering all perspectives.

Attainable: Anyone can take the time to consider different perspectives before making a decision.

Relevant: This is suitable for those who want to be more mindful and make better decisions.

Time-based: Since the goal is ongoing, you will pursue it on a daily basis.

11. Take Responsibility

“I will take responsibility for all my mistakes and be open to constructive criticism to improve as a professional by the end of the next quarter. I’ll also learn from my mistakes and take steps to ensure they’re not repeated.”

Specific: The statement is evident in that you will take responsibility for all mistakes.

Measurable: Progress towards this goal can be measured by how well you respond to constructive criticism.

Attainable: This is possible since the person is willing to learn and improve with constructive criticism.

Relevant: Taking responsibility for your mistakes is an important skill, making this an appropriate goal.

Time-based: You have one quarter to complete the SMART goal.

12. Let Your Creativity Flow

“I want to explore the range of my creative problem-solving abilities and come up with solutions for difficult situations. To do this, I’ll take a course in creative problem solving and apply the principles I learn to practical scenarios within two months.”

Specific: You will take a course in creative problem solving and apply the principles learned to practical scenarios.

Measurable: By enrolling in the course, you can monitor your learning progress over time.

Attainable: The goal should be realistic concerning time and resources.

Relevant: Recognize that creativity is vital in many industries.

Time-based: You should ideally reach this goal after two months.

Final Thoughts

Setting SMART goals is a fantastic approach to solving any problem. They provide a clear structure for breaking down complex tasks into manageable chunks and encourage goal-oriented thinking.

While SMART goals may not work for every situation, they can offer a valuable framework for solving complex issues. Thus, it’s beneficial to experiment with this tool to develop problem-solving strategies tailored to individual needs.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.