Do you want to take the initiative and make progress in your career or personal life? Going above and beyond at work is an admirable trait many employers look for in job applicants.
Taking the initiative can often mean the difference between getting a promotion or staying in the same position. Developing SMART goals is an effective method for taking the steps necessary to achieve success.
By providing SMART goal examples, this article will help guide you in taking initiative toward achieving your own goals.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART method will allow you to create practical goals for taking initiative. In case you didn’t know, SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
Here is a deeper explanation of each SMART element:
Taking the initiative is critical to success, but if you want your efforts to pay off, your goals need to be as specific as possible. You may have an idea of what you want out of life yet lack a plan for getting there.
It’s too easy for hopes and plans to become overwhelmed by day-to-day tasks or disappear from life’s obligations. By narrowing down the scope of your desired outcome, it becomes easier to set manageable targets.
It isn’t enough to have a vision you want to accomplish; it’s essential to quantify the progress along the way. Measurement gives you something tangible to keep track of and monitor, allowing adjustments as needed.
This enables you to see where exactly you stand in terms of completing the task at hand. It also gives concrete feedback on how successful certain efforts may be so you can modify your plans accordingly.
Setting ambitious goals may seem like a good idea in theory, but if they are too far-fetched, you’ll likely end up frustrated and discouraged when they don’t work out.
Instead of reaching for the stars, strive for realistic goals that can be achieved in steps over time. That way, every step carries its own sense of accomplishment.
To keep your goals truly meaningful, they must align with your core values. It could be family, health, or spirituality—whatever it might be, use these values as a roadmap for meeting your objectives. Creating relevant goals will help you push on even in times of hardship.
If you’re starting down a new path to success, it’s vital to have an adequate time frame. Setting a deadline can be difficult, as there are many things to consider when strategizing. But with careful thought and organization, you can create a motivating and achievable plan.
12 SMART Goals Examples for Taking Initiative
Here are 12 examples of SMART goals for taking initiative:
1. Become More Proactive
“I want to become more proactive in the workplace by taking the initiative and working on projects that I feel passionate about. To ensure success, I’m committing to taking ownership of at least two projects over the next 6 months.”
Specific: This goal is explicit because the person has outlined a plan to take ownership of two projects.
Measurable: You can count the number of projects undertaken each month.
Attainable: The individual is committing to taking ownership of only two projects, which is definitely reasonable.
Relevant: Increasing initiative in the workplace is a worthy goal for any professional.
Time-based: You have provided a timeline of 6 months to achieve this goal.
2. Take the Lead on Challenging Tasks
“I will take the lead on challenging tasks and delegate them accordingly within three months. This way, I can ensure that all tasks are completed efficiently and to the best of my team’s ability.”
Specific: The aim here is to take the lead on challenging tasks and delegate them efficiently.
Measurable: Monitor the progress of each task and ensure they are all completed before the set deadline.
Attainable: This goal can be met with the right amount of planning and organization.
Relevant: Taking on challenging tasks is necessary to enhance your skills and expand your knowledge base.
Time-based: There is a three-month end date for success.
3. Connect With Colleagues
“To help foster a stronger workplace community, I’ll use my free time to attend two networking events or social activities monthly. I’ll strive to build genuine relationships with my coworkers and help create a positive work environment.”
Specific: This SMART goal is evident because it involves engaging in events or activities to get to know your colleagues better.
Measurable: You could count the number of networking events or social activities attended.
Attainable: With a proper schedule, connecting with colleagues is absolutely doable.
Relevant: Building strong relationships with coworkers is critical to promoting a friendly work environment.
Time-based: You should consider this goal as an ongoing effort.
4. Start a Side Project
“I will create and launch a side project related to my professional life within 7 months. I want hands-on experience in areas I haven’t yet explored and ultimately enhance my professional skill set.”
Specific: The goal is to create and launch a side project related to your professional career.
Measurable: Track the progress of your side project throughout the 7 months.
Attainable: This SMART statement can be completed within the given timeline if you dedicate yourself to it.
Relevant: By taking the initiative to create a side project, you’ll be able to add more marketable skills and experience to your CV.
Time-based: Seven months are required to accomplish this goal.
5. Find Room for Improvement
“I’ll identify one area of daily work processes that can be improved and develop a plan to address it within two months. I’ll review the outcome of this plan with other team members to decide if it should be adopted as part of our normal work processes.”
Specific: The goal is well-defined, specifying what needs to be done and how it will be attained.
Measurable: They can measure success by developing a plan and reviewing the outcome with other team members.
Attainable: This is feasible by having an open discussion with team members and making changes accordingly.
Relevant: It’s important to continuously look for ways to improve work processes and make them more efficient.
Time-based: This particular goal should be reached within two months.
6. Speak Up for Yourself
“By the end of 5 months, I want to gain the confidence to speak up in the workplace. I’ll practice communicating assertively and respectfully, especially when I disagree with management or other colleagues.”
Specific: This goal outlines what you want to achieve (gain confidence to speak up in the workplace) and how you’ll do it (by practicing communicating respectfully and assertively).
Measurable: You could determine your confidence level before and after 5 months.
Attainable: Gaining confidence to speak up within 5 months is a reasonable goal.
Relevant: Speaking up for yourself can help you get your point across and stay true to your beliefs.
Time-based: Goal achievement is anticipated for 5 whole months.
7. Adapt to Change
“I want to become more flexible and open-minded in the face of change. To do this, I will actively practice accepting new techniques in my field over 6 months. I’ll also seek new experiences outside my comfort zone whenever possible.”
Specific: You have precise actions available—accept new techniques and seek new experiences.
Measurable: You should observe your ability to adapt to change over 6 months.
Attainable: The goal is doable, assuming you practice regularly and have an open-minded attitude.
Relevant: This relates to your primary objective of becoming more flexible and open-minded.
Time-based: You should expect success within 6 months.
8. Develop Critical Thinking Skills
“I will practice and develop my critical thinking skills for 6 months. I want to become proficient in analyzing data, discerning patterns, and developing innovative solutions to difficult problems.”
Specific: The goal is centered on honing your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Measurable: This is evaluated by improvement in data analysis, pattern recognition, and creative problem-solving abilities.
Attainable: This is an ambitious goal, but it’s still within reach with enough time and commitment.
Relevant: Boosting your critical thinking allows you to take the initiative and devise innovative solutions to problems.
Time-based: There is a timeline of 6 months for this SMART statement.
9. Learn a New Skill
“Within three months, I will learn a new skill related to my job that is relevant to departmental operations. That can include coding, web development, public speaking techniques, or other skills that can help me better contribute to my team’s success.”
Specific: The goal is easy to understand—the individual wants to learn a new skill related to their job.
Measurable: You could establish milestones to indicate proficiency in your desired skill.
Attainable: This is possible depending on the complexity of the skill and the amount of time dedicated to learning it.
Relevant: The goal is appropriate for the person’s desire to stay ahead in their job.
Time-based: You have a three-month window to reach success.
10. Set Realistic Expectations
“I’ll aim to create a document that outlines clear expectations for each team member by the end of this month. I will also ensure everyone has enough time to complete their tasks without creating excessive stress or pressure.”
Specific: You’ll create a document that outlines clear expectations for everyone on the team.
Measurable: A document outlining clear expectations for each team member will be created.
Attainable: This goal is achievable because you’re taking active steps to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Relevant: This is relevant because it will enable the team to work together more efficiently.
Time-based: The goal is time-bound because it has a specific end date of one month.
11. Prepare to Ask Questions
“I will use my experience to prepare questions I can ask during conversations with new colleagues, customers, or other stakeholders in the company. Within two weeks, I want to show that I’m an engaged employee who cares about understanding the needs of those around me.”
Specific: This SMART goal names the action that will be taken and the objective to complete it.
Measurable: You can track the number of questions you ask during conversations.
Attainable: This is realistic if you use the research and experience available.
Relevant: It is essential to ask questions to better understand the needs of those around you.
Time-based: You have two weeks to accomplish the statement.
12. Take Risks Responsibly
“I’ll start pushing myself to take calculated risks at work in three weeks, but I promise to always be mindful of possible repercussions. I hope that by taking risks responsibly, I can help our company innovate, grow and become even more successful.”
Specific: The goal is explicit because it outlines taking risks more responsibly.
Measurable: The person could measure the success of the risks taken in terms of company growth.
Attainable: You should know that responsibly taking risks is a realistic goal.
Relevant: This is relevant to taking risks responsibly and fostering company growth.
Time-based: Three weeks are needed to reach goal attainment.
Taking initiative can be an intimidating step, but it does not have to be. With the help of the SMART framework, you can take charge and make good on your ambitions.
Taking the initiative is about being self-motivated and willing to work hard for what you want. Remember, establishing SMART goals is just one small part of the equation. Taking action and pursuing success is the key to attaining your larger objectives.
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