Goal-setting is fundamental not only to business planning, but life planning. The ability to set a clear objective for some future state, forego immediate rewards along the way and keep your eye on the prize; so much of the story of human progress comes down to this very discipline of delayed gratification.
And as George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham noted in their 1981 article, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives”. In fact, they suggested that there are some fundamental principles that can increase the effectiveness of goal setting. The takeaway: the SMART goals framework tended to give a higher probability of actually reaching the goals than not; and those principles are precisely what this Notion SMART Goals Template are based on.
What do the 5 letters in SMART stand for?
There are five main areas of the SMART goal setting framework: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Let's refresh our memories on what each of these areas are, quickly, before diving into the template.
Specific: When setting a goal, it's important to be as specific as possible. For example, rather than simply stating "I'd like more website visitors", it's important to give a specific value that you can hold yourself accountable to. Typically, setting a numeric value is the best way to ensure your SMART goal is, indeed, 'specific' enough to qualify.
Measurable: And in order to track your progress, it's important this goal you've set for yourself can indeed be measured. For example, rather than setting a goal to "improve your financial situation", you would select a couple of metrics that go along with the desired outcomes you're looking for; say, 'Revenue' (ideally, going up) and 'Expenses' (going down).
Achievable: Now, you could have a highly specific, entirely measurable goal to make $10K this month, even though current revenue is only $1,000... this is where Achievability comes in. For example, rather than setting a goal to "10X my income this month", you might set a goal to "increase revenue by 10% each month for the next year". Of course, it can be a good thing to set ambitious goals that stretch what's possible--however, we still want to keep an eye on just how realistic those goals are, relatively speaking.
Relevant: Now let's talk about the direction your goals are moving you in. Again, taking a financial goal as our metric, we might set a highly specific, very measurable and utterly specific goal that is somewhat irrelevant. Say, we set a goal to 'Get 1,000 new Instagram followers'... The question to ask is, 'How relevant is this goal, really, to my larger mission?' Since I'm mostly talking about indie and small business goals, the relevance of your SMART goals should always be linked back to the larger mission of your business--what is it that you're really trying to accomplish? And will achieving this goal really be a step in the right direction, or simply a distraction? If growing your Instagram following is a key piece of your marketing strategy--then it might indeed be highly relevant. But if it isn't... then chances are it's simply a vanity metric and a distraction.
Time-based: In order to keep yourself accountable, it's important to set a goal that has a specific timeline, or a firm deadline. If you want to increase revenue by 10%--when do you want to do that by? Give it a date, and hold yourself to it.
How to use the Notion SMART Goals Template
Admittedly, I've tried to make the original SMART framework a little bit smarter by leveraging Notion's powerful database functionality. So, instead of just a SMART Goals PDF or Excel template (exceedingly common), this template includes 6 database views:
Calendar (deadline) view;
Ranked by achievability;
Ranked by relevance; and
Sorted by goal categories.
A little more about each view below.
SMART Overview Notion Database View
This view includes all of your goals in one place. The columns of table follow the SMART framework, accordingly.
Specific Target: This is a number column, which means you won't be able to type any words, only a specified value;
Metric (measurable): In this column, you can specify what exactly you are going to measure progress by. The value that you set in the 'Specific' column will be referring to this metric. E.g. 'Website Vistors' in the Metric column, and '1,000' in the 'Specific' column;
Achievability: This is a Select property, which lets you rank the achievability of your various goals. This will be used to sort goals in another database view, but it can also be useful to help you check how realistic a goal feels when you are setting it. You can also mix and match values between 'Achievability' and 'Specific' to get different likelihoods. For example, you might input '10,000' in the Specific column, with an Achievability of 'Very Unlikely'. However, for the same metric, you might input '1,000', and judge it to be 'Very Likely'. It's best not to have too many 'Very Unlikely' or 'Impossible' goals... but nothing wrong with a few Big Hairy Audacious Goals from time to time :)
Relevant: This, too, is a ranked scale of values (5 options to choose from). Follow a similar logic to the Achievability scale. Remember, a goal is 'highly relevant' when it aligns with your larger mission and is expected to move the needle forward in an important way;
Time-bound: This column requires a Date input, which is simply the target date you are aiming to reach your target by. If this is still somewhat unsure, you can also use this date as a 'check-in' date--as in, I'll check in on this date in a month and update the values accordingly.
Goals Progress Tracker Notion Database View
The "Progress Tracker" view allows you to track your progress over time with a Progress Bar visual. This is calculated by inputting a 'current value' and a 'Specific target' value (as the 'S' in your SMART overview). The table is auto-ranked by Progress.
Calendar View of Your Goals in Notion
The Calendar View is great for setting deadlines and seeing all of your goals in one place. This is useful if you want to make sure you are keeping on track with your goals, or if you need a reminder of what's coming up.
Goals Ranked by Achievability in Notion
This view will show you all of your goals, sorted by achievability. Goals that have been given a 'Very Likely' rating will appear toward the top of the list, while those that are 'Very Unlikely' will be moved to the bottom.
This view can help you by surfacing those goals which are most likely to be achieved to the top--so that if you want to focus on getting a win, you can prioritize these goals in the coming weeks, days or months.
Goals Ranked by Relevance in Notion
This is another ranking view, but this time, goals are sorted according to their 'Relevance'. This is a great way to see which goals are the most relevant to your larger mission at any given time.
Sorted by Goal Categories in Notion
The final view in this template sorts all of your goals into different categories. This can be useful if you want to see all of your goals for a specific area of your life, or if you want to break down your goals into smaller chunks.
Duplicating the Notion SMART Goals Template
You can clone this component, with the full database and all views, by hitting 'Unlock this component'. Once you're logged in, just hit 'your member template', then duplicate this SMART Goals Template to your own Notion account.
And if you'd like to link up your new SMART goals in Notion to some specific Projects and Tasks, you can check out this Project Management Template which integrates with the SMART goals database quite nicely.
At Landmark Labs, we're dedicated to building tools that make it easier to start and sustain your own business.
*Landmark Labs is a member of Notion's Affiliate Program. If you sign up for a Team account through our link, we receive a commission--this does not, however, mean we are official representatives of Notion in any way. We may also recommend other tools for which we receive an affiliate commission from time to time--in all cases, we only recommend tools which we would personally recommend, anyway.