Goal Setting Resources

Goal Setting Resources

Setting specific, challenging goals leads to better performance. This page provides general resources as a starting point to help you develop and write meaningful and effective goals, including examples. Your manager can help guide you in aligning your goals.

3 Steps to Developing a Goal

1. Start with your strengths and interests:

Before writing your goals, take time to create a list of your strengths and interests as it relates to your work. Being able to utilize these will help motivate you to meet and exceed your goals. 

Example: My strengths include teaching and mentoring, and my passions include keeping patients safe.

2. Align to the organization or team’s goals:

Review with your manager what the organization or team’s priorities are for the year. You should use your strengths and passions to identify how you can help drive the mission of the organization.

Example: My team is responsible for reducing patient safety incidents. I can use my teaching and mentoring strengths, and passion for patient safety to mentor new hires and colleagues on patient safety.

3. Use the S.M.A.R.T. framework to write your goal:

Goals should be specific, measurable, aligned, realistic, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.). Use this framework to help write your goal so that is clearly defined and will hold you accountable for helping meet or exceed your organization's priorities.

Example: Each quarter, I will spend 30 minutes with at least one colleague to review safety procedures, and discuss how to prevent incidents. This goal is:

  • Specific: Educating and discussing safety procedures with colleagues.
  • Measurable: Meet with 1x person each quarter.
  • Aligned: Aims to help reduce safety incidents.
  • Realistic: Frequency to engage with colleagues is attainable.
  • Time-Bound: Commitment to meet once a quarter during the performance cycle.

Worksheet for Drafting Goals:

Goal Setting Worksheet - Fillable Form

Example Goals

Below are samples of S.M.A.R.T. goals, and should solely be used as examples to aid in your understanding of how to frame a goal - your manager is your primary resource to help with creating your goals:

Professional Development:

By November 15, 2020, have obtained my certification in [relevant certification field] and shared one key learning with my supervisor and/or team. To be considered for a higher than meets rating; need to show examples of applied learning obtaining my certification to improve a process or function that has a positive impacts our organizations priorities. 

Organizational Outcomes:

Respond to 90% of customer inquiries within 24 hours while maintaining an overall survey satisfaction score >= 4 at the end of the performance cycle (December 31). To exceed, respond to 95% of inquires within 24 hours, and maintain an overall survey satisfaction score of >=4.5 at end of performance cycle.

Leadership Role:

Will organize and provide two opportunities for employees to experience an activity (class, workshop, conference, retreat, etc.) related to diversity and inclusion during the FY20 performance year. Exceeding this goal would require examples of how activities engaged team members and improved productivity.

Job Competency Focused Objectives:

Perform all of my job duties as outlined by both my job description and manager/supervisor, with a focus on continuous improvement. A higher rating would require examples of increased engagement in developing improved and lean procedures related to the delivery of my job responsibilities, or examples of regularly going above and beyond when executing job duties.

For more examples, review our sample goal repository specific to your entity:

Academic - Goal Example Repository UVA Health - Goal Example Repository