Top 9 Free Goal Setting Templates (Excel, Word, PDF)

free goal setting templates

Are you tired of setting goals that never seem to come to fruition? Do you struggle to align your team’s goals with the overall objectives of your organization? It might be time to try a new approach to employee goal setting.

Effective goal setting involves setting clear, specific, and measurable goals that are aligned with your company’s values and priorities. It helps your employees stay focused and motivated, and to track their progress along the way. But it can be tough to get started, especially if you don’t have a good system in place.

That’s where this collection of free goal setting templates comes in. We’ve gathered together 9 of the best templates to help you set and achieve your goals, no matter what they might be. Whether you’re looking to improve the efficiency of a small team within your organization, set long-term goals, or simply add a little bit of structure to your operations, there’s a template here that will suit your needs.

These templates are easy to use and customize, and they’ll help you to break down your goals into actionable steps, set deadlines, and stay on track. So if you’re ready to start turning your dreams into reality, keep reading to discover our top 9 free goal setting templates!

Digitize Your Goal-Setting

Before we go any further, we just want to let you know that while goal setting templates are effective, they are nowhere near as effective as goal setting software! The best goal setting software for Microsoft Teams users, Teamflect, is completely free with full functionality for up to 10 users. No time limits, no lite version. Completely free. Demo it out for as long as you want. See how you like it!

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👇You will find 9 Free Downloadable Goal-setting Templates for Word, Excel and PDF 👇 

Excel Goal Setting Templates  

Many of us know Microsoft Excel as a tool to organize, evaluate and calculate data, but Excel is much more than that. Excel can be used to create a goal-setting process that helps organizing your thoughts into tangible goals. It offers multiple options for setting and managing achievable goals—just like any tool, Excel has its pros and cons when it comes to this kind of work. 

Here are the links to three Excel goal-setting templates approved by us:

1- SMART Goals Template

Smart goals template

 2- SMART Goals Worksheet

smart goals worksheet

3- Smart Goals Template

Smart Goals template

Pros of using Excel goal setting templates

  • Excel is quick, efficient, and flexible.  
  • Excel files are easy to share.  
  • So many free employee goal setting templates are available to use.  
  • You can have a holistic look at your data using Excel.  

Cons of using Excel goal-setting templates

  • You are unable to iterate your strategy in Excel. 
  • Excel is time-consuming.  
  • You get only a single view of your strategic plan in Excel.  
  • You have to do most things from scratch. 
  • You cannot collaborate with your team members unless you use Microsoft 365

PDF Goal Setting Templates 

PDF can be used to write down your goals onto a solid canvas and help you organize them. However, like any other method of goal setting, there are some pros and cons associated with using this method. 

Following are the links to some of the most popular PDF templates that you can use for goal setting. Some of these templates can also be used as student goal setting template: 

4- SMART Goal Planning Worksheet

smart goal planning worksheet screenshot

5- SMART Goal Worksheet

Smart goal worksheet

6- SMART Goal Planner

Smart goal planner

Pros of using PDF goal-setting templates

  • PDF files can be read on any computer.  
  • The original file is protected in PDF.  
  • PDF files can be password protected.  
  • Content is more portable in PDF and can be easily transferred from one device to another without any loss.  

Cons of using PDF goal-setting templates

  • Most PDF files are not free to edit.  
  • Images in the PDF file may appear of lower quality. 
  • PDF files are larger in size.  
  • Difficulty in reading since the PDF pages are in A3 or A4 format

Word Goal Setting Templates

Microsoft Word can help you create an action plan according to your short-term and long-term goals by refining existing templates or creating new ones from scratch. 

Following are the links to the three templates for goal setting in MS Word: 

7- SMART Goals Worksheet Word

word template for goal setting template screenshot

8– SMART Career Goals Template

Smart Career Goals Worksheet

9- SMART Goals Word Template for Word

screenshot of word goal-setting template

Pros of using Word goal-setting templates 

  • You can add visual elements to your goal-setting file such as charts, images, clip arts, etc.  
  • You can easily convert an MS Word file into a PDF file.  
  • MS Word is user-friendly software and provides you with shortcuts.  
  • Multiple people can make files that could be an outstanding feature for a team’s goal planning.  
  • Many ready-made free templates are available in MS Word. 

Cons of using Word goal-setting templates

  • MS Word has complex features to understand and may not be user-friendly for newbies.
  • MS Word is not very affordable.  
  • Seeing the different versions of your goal setting template can be hard if you are not using Microsoft 365

Other Goal Setting Templates

The goal-setting process is one that varies for each organization. That is why the employee goal setting template needs of every organization are different. That is why it is important to think outside of the box and utilize multiple goal setting templates and customize them to your needs. Below we included three goal setting templates we believe could be of use!

Weekly Goal Template

Goal Tracker Template

Personal Goal Template

These personal goal setting templates and goal tracker templates are all very comprehensive and they emphasize one of the most important aspects of goal setting theory, the “WHY?” of each goal.

Goal Setting Tools – A Better Alternative to Word, Excel and PDF!

An alternate way of setting goals

Goal setting is essential when it comes to the success of a company, and organizing and tracking these goals is as important as setting them. Tracking the goals of the whole company can be a hassle, but automated goal-setting apps can help you follow your employees’ goals smoothly.  

Goal-setting apps come with a lot of features to help you organize your company’s goals and increase the overall productivity of your company.

Once you set the goals, these apps track your progress, send you automated reminders, and follow your commitment towards your goals.

You can add steps under your goals, assign different employees to certain goals, track your whole company’s annual, quarterly, monthly and daily goals, and archive completed ones without losing them. You can visit the Goals & OKRs page to learn more about our user-friendly goal-setting software.

goal-setting functionality on teamflect
Goal-setting functionality on Teamflect

Why Using Goal Setting Apps Are More Effective

Here are the most prominent benefits of using digital tools / software for goal-setting rather than using PDF, Word, Excel goal-setting templates

  • Automated reminders
  • Easy tracking for goal owners and goal creators
  • Better analytics (especially if you want to track goal progress across your organization)
  • Easy access from different devices
  • Commenting, mentioning people about goal updates
  • Seeing goal updates chronologically rather than seeing a snapshot only

If you’re not sure where to start, use Teamflect instead for setting goals using Word, Excel or PDF templates!

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What Is Goal Setting?

We can define goal-setting as a process in which you thoroughly analyze yourself and figure out what you want to achieve in your business life, then plan a defined timeframe to achieve these goals. 

Setting and achieving goals is a skill that applies across many different areas—including the goal-setting process at work!

Once you understand what goal setting is, you can use this information in different areas of your life, and the goal-setting process in your company should include devising action plans to help your employees achieve those goals.

Goal setting requires enterprises to develop conscious intent and organize it into the team’s goal—which can then be tracked for progress. 

But let’s say you are wondering how to set goals and the importance of goal setting—wouldn’t it be better to ask how to set smart ones? Here are some practical tips for developing your plans, as well as some examples of team goal setting. 

Why Are Goal Setting Templates Important for Companies?  

If you hold any senior position in an organization, you will have a question- ‘why is goal setting important?’

Well, no matter the size of your business, it’s imperative that you set goals every year if you want to stay on track and grow exponentially over time. If you don’t set goals, it’s easy to fall into the same patterns or not notice opportunities that could propel your business to new heights.

The beauty of goal-setting examples is that they provide an outline of what to focus on so that you can hit your milestones even if you must jump over obstacles along the way.  

As we are talking about the importance of goal setting, understanding the goal-setting definition is equally important. Goal setting is a method used by organizations and individuals to achieve success. This process involves finding an objective and planning out steps to achieve that goal.

Goal setting templates are tools that aid in goal-setting strategies by forcing an individual or organization to write down their goals and plans. As these templates provide a systematic way to organize goal setting, they are vital for these strategies to be effective.  

So, why is it so important? Let’s find out the answer below:  

Inspire Employees: Well, smart goal setting always keeps your workers inspired in your work environment. Having no objective to deal with can prompt lower worker assurance and eventually influence the usefulness of work. Then again, accomplishing goals inspires them and works on their certainty and occupation fulfillment.  

Focusing On Work: A goal-setting template can be helpful for various reasons, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a substitute for making your own goals. Instead, goal setting is about prioritizing work so you know what you need to get done and have some accountability around doing it. We can do countless things as individuals at any given time—and an even more significant number of things that businesses need to accomplish. So why should your focus be on developing a business plan when there’s so much else vying for your attention? A formalized goal-setting process forces you to prioritize—because, to create meaningful programs, you first must figure out what’s most important.  

Provide Proper Direction: A goal-setting quote helps improve the worker’s dynamic abilities. They fill in as an aide in dynamic interaction. Before making any choice, a representative will consider it in contrast to their attempt to accomplish. Each selection is made regarding the result of choice. Essentially, this is applicable at an authoritative level, where each alternative is taken, pondering what it will mean for the business.  

Cooperation: When individual objectives are connected to hierarchical objectives, it advances collaboration. The pioneers and directors should tell each worker how their objective relates to their goals. The employees will then comprehend the true significance of cooperation; they will realize how they fit in the organizational objectives and how their objective is connected to their co-workers.  

Essentials Of Goal Setting  

Whether that organization is a nonprofit or a corporation, one of the most critical components of its success is its goals and objectives.

The goal-setting theory of your organization will inform you of everything from what your employees do on any given day to how you approach marketing to which products you decide to produce.

Here, we will discuss some essential elements of goal setting in any organization, no matter its size or location.  

  • Alignment: It’s essential to get everyone involved in your organization on board with your goal-setting process. To do that, it’s critical to set goals together as a team. First, explain to everyone what goals are and why they’re essential. Then determine your targets together using SMART goals. It includes Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Talk about why each goal is essential to reaching your final target—this helps illustrate how every part of your organization is working toward one big vision. Finally, hold meetings regularly where you talk about progress and adjust as needed.  
  • Independence Or Autonomy: To support autonomy, consider allowing your team members to choose their work hours or brainstorm creative ways to give them some freedom to get things done. The hope is that a bit of space will go a long way toward promoting more significant levels of engagement. The least effective strategy is telling employees what to do and monitoring their progress. Indeed, so-called transactional leadership has been shown to affect employee motivation and overall job satisfaction negatively. Employees do not like being told what to do. 
  • Oversight: Well, goal setting template of an organization is not something that will be forgotten after setting it. Characterizing company goals and placing them in a cabinet until the deadline is knocking on the door is a great mistake that most senior executives and managers make in the goal-setting theory process. To ensure that your organization’s goals are implemented and achieved, it’s crucial to set up an oversight system. This system will consist of people responsible for making sure goals are accomplished. 

Types Of Goal Setting Templates

There are two main approaches to goal setting, and they’re both useful in their way. One pervasive approach is the manual method of goal setting. This process involves choosing goals that you have control over and writing them down on paper so you can constantly monitor your progress toward your goals—the other approach to goal setting, which we’ll call customized.  

Here, you will have the option to choose several overarching goals based on your strengths and weaknesses and create customized methods of measurement for each one of them. 

Manual Goal Setting Customized Goal Setting 
Benefits: When you’re just starting, it can be good to go with a simple, straightforward method like manual goal setting: writing down goals and always keeping them in front of you. Many experts prefer manual goal setting for new entrepreneurs because it’s less time-suck and is more actionable than customized goals. Benefits: Several studies have shown that a customized goal-setting template fits your personality, skills, and strength. Here, you will know exactly which steps to take to accomplish each goal. 
Disadvantage: Manual goal setting takes a cookie-cutter approach to create goals, which means it won’t consider what’s specific to your industry or individual needs and circumstances. Disadvantage: With customized goals, there’s always room for guesswork. You might not be paying enough attention to specific areas and end up padding these areas. 

Tips To Create the Best Goal Setting Template for Your Team 

When creating the best goal-setting template for your team, you should always go for a customized goal-setting framework. It can give you certain advantages over manual goal setting.  

  • You can let yourself be free.  
  • You will be 100% sure about your needs.  
  • Manual goal setting is time-consuming, whereas, in the case of customized goal setting, you will have the opportunity to invest your most important asset, time, in the organization’s growth.  

Apart from these, there are certainly other tips that we would like to let you know to create the best goal-setting template.  

  • First of all, you will have to identify what your company wants to achieve, and then, based on this, you should start setting company goals.  
  • It would help if you always made the company objectives measurable.  
  • Always set deadlines, and afterward, your team needs to stick to them.  
  • Do not forget to track progress and support your group. 
  • As a manager, you need to track the organization goals on a daily basis. 
  • The goals must be measurable to make it more achievable. 
  • You can always break down the organizational goals into some manageable parts. 
  • Make sure that you have added some fun elements to make things dynamic. 
  • Always ask what went wrong instead of asking what went right. 
  • You can review the company goals on a weekly basis. 

Why is it important to use goal setting templates and worksheets?

Goal setting templates streamline the goal-setting process immensely. When a goal setting template or a goal setting worksheet template is utilized, the time and effort spent on setting goals are drastically cut, leaving more time and energy for those goals to be actually achieved.

Goal setting templates allow its users to relay goals in a more effective and comprehensible manner, eliminating the risk of misunderstandings. Once you set your goals, create a plan using tools such as goal-setting apps, Excel, Word, or PDF. All of these tools have specific pros and cons—but in the end, any one of them can be used for goal setting. These tools can help you devise more specific and practical goals that are easier to achieve. Moreover, team leaders can manage their teams’ goals more effectively using these tools. 

Goal Setting Tips For Achievable Goals  

SMART Goals Infograph

According to goal setting theory, setting a specific, attainable, and measurable goal is more effective than an unclear goal. We will mention a few tips to help you set and achieve your goals which will also guide you to make better action plans.  

1- Set SMART Goals

While setting your goals, make sure that the plans meet the SMART criteria. SMART stands for: 

  • S – Specific 
  • M – Measurable 
  • A – Attainable 
  • R – Realistic 
  • T – Timebound 

The most crucial factor when setting goals is being specific. The more precise you are when defining your goals, the better chance you have of achieving them, therefore SMART goals are much easier to achieve than those which are not. 

For example, a simple goal is: â€œI have to lose weight.” It is not precise and well-designed, so it is nothing more than a dream. A SMART goal would be “I want to lose 10 kilograms by the tenth of this March.”

2- Prioritize Your Goals

If you have more than one goal, prioritize them in order of importance. Setting priorities will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by having several goals—and it directs your attention towards the most important ones.

Once you have prioritized your goals, break them into smaller steps. Breaking your goals down into actionable steps makes them easier to achieve—and gives you something concrete to work towards.

3- Set a Timeline

Create a timeline to help you visualize deadlines, tasks, and milestones since setting a timeline develops a sense of urgency that motivates you to stick to the schedule and achieve your goal. Once you set the deadlines and milestones, try to stick to them as much as possible. Setting a timeline for your long-term goals will also help you to smooth out your action plans and be more efficient.

4- Use Employee Goal Setting Templates effectively

Whether you are using a free employee goal setting template, a high end digital goal setting template, or a goal setting template on excel, you don’t need to follow that goal setting template word for word. Instead, you need to adapt that template to your organization! PDF goal setting templates are notoriously difficult to customize but using third party apps, you can even customize PDF goal setting templates!

Once you’ve customized your employee goal setting template, you need to make sure that it is always in the flow of work. If you’re on Microsoft Teams, then you better be ready for some fully integrated Microsoft Teams goal setting! You don’t want your leaders to leave Microsoft Teams, access the goal setting template, and then return to Microsoft Teams to relay the goals to their team.


Smart Goals Examples

We’ve been over the importance of setting SMART goals so now it is time to provide you with some SMART goal examples. We will first be going over the example itself, and then explaining just why that goal fits the SMART goal criteria.

Example: Increase Monthly Sales by 15% within the Next Quarter

Specific: The goal clearly states what needs to be achieved—increasing sales.

Measurable: The target is quantifiable—15% increase in monthly sales.

Achievable: The goal is realistic and attainable within a three-month period.

Relevant: Increasing sales is directly aligned with the overall business objective.

Time-bound: The goal has a specific time frame—within the next quarter.

Example: Complete a Professional Development Course to Improve Project Management Skills Within the Next Six Months

Specific: The goal specifies what skill needs improvement—project management.

Measurable: Completion of the course is a clear, measurable outcome.

Achievable: It’s realistic to complete a professional development course in six months.

Relevant: Improved project management skills align with career and organizational objectives.

Time-bound: The goal has a defined time frame—within the next six months.

Example: Reduce Customer Support Response Time to 24 hours or Less by Implementing a New Ticketing System Within the Next Month

Specific: The goal clearly defines what needs improvement—customer support response time.

Measurable: The target is specific and measurable—24 hours or less.

Achievable: Implementing a new ticketing system is a concrete step toward achieving the goal.

Relevant: Faster response times contribute to customer satisfaction and retention.

Time-bound: The goal has a specific time frame—within the next month.

Example: Increase Website Traffic by 20% in the Next Two Months Through SEO Optimization and Content Marketing

Specific: The goal identifies the approach for achieving it—SEO optimization and content marketing.

Measurable: The target is quantifiable—20% increase in website traffic.

Achievable: The methods chosen are realistic for improving website traffic in the given time frame.

Relevant: More website traffic aligns with the marketing and business growth objectives.

Time-bound: The goal has a specific time frame—within the next two months.

Example: Achieve a Weight Loss of 10 Pounds in the Next Eight Weeks Through a Combination of Regular Exercise and a Balanced Diet

Specific: The goal specifies what needs to be achieved—weight loss of 10 pounds.

Measurable: The target is clearly defined—10 pounds.

Achievable: A weight loss of 10 pounds in eight weeks is a realistic and healthy goal.

Relevant: Weight loss is aligned with the individual’s health and wellness objectives.

Time-bound: The goal has a specific time frame—within the next eight weeks.

How to create a goal-setting template?

Would you like to create your own goal-setting template? The following steps are rather easy. Once you’ve completed the steps above, you can actually begin to work on creating a goal-setting template of your own!

Your goal-setting template should include all of the steps that you need to take in order to reach your goal, as well as any resources that you may need. It’s important to be as detailed as possible when creating your template, as this will help you stay organized and motivated. You may also want to include a section for tracking your progress, as this will help you stay on track and ensure that you are making progress toward your goal.

It’s important to review your goal-setting template regularly. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you are making progress toward your goal. It’s also important to adjust your template as needed, as this will help you stay organized and motivated.

Taking the time to create a template that is tailored to your specific goal will help you stay on track and ensure that you don’t miss any important steps. It is, however, not the best way to go about setting goals. There are easier and more efficient ways to tackle goal-setting.

The easier way:

The best way to go when designing your goal-setting template isn’t to start from scratch. Your time and effort should be spent on the goals themselves, not your goal-tracking and setting strategies. There are simple and easy-to-use solutions that can take care of that rather easily. What we recommend is that you make use of goal-setting software that can be customized to your needs.

If you would like to try a goal-setting software with customizable features that can take care of all of your goal-setting and tracking needs, without making you deal with pdfs, print-outs, or spreadsheets, then you should try out Teamflect for free!

Must-Have Sections in a SMART Goal-Setting Template

Utilizing a SMART goal template can significantly enhance the clarity and attainability of your objectives.

A SMART goals template, structured around the Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound criteria, provides a comprehensive framework for setting and achieving your goals.

When crafting your goal setting worksheet, including these essential sections will ensure your objectives are clear, trackable, and aligned with your overarching ambitions.

Specific Goals

The first section of your SMART goal template should focus on specificity. A well-defined goal clearly outlines what you aim to achieve, eliminating ambiguity and making the objective straightforward. This section should answer the “who, what, where, and why” of your goal, providing a solid foundation for the subsequent steps.

Measurable Metrics

To track progress and stay motivated, your goal must be measurable. The metrics section of the smart goals template should define the metrics or indicators you will use to assess progress. Identifying quantifiable elements within your goal enables you to measure advancement, celebrate milestones, and adjust your approach if necessary.

Achievability Analysis

An achievable goal is one that is realistic and attainable. While this does not pertain to a specific section of a SMART goal template, it should be mentioned that while creating the template, the goals being set should be achievable.

Relevance Review

The relevance of your goal is crucial for maintaining motivation and ensuring that your efforts align with your broader objectives or values. This can be seen as an overall comments part of the SMART goal setting worksheet that prompts you to examine how the goal fits within your overall plans or the larger context of your organization or personal life, ensuring that it is meaningful and impactful.

Time-bound Targets

Setting a deadline is essential for maintaining momentum and ensuring progress. The timeline section of the SMART goal template specifies when you plan to achieve your goal, providing a sense of urgency and a timeframe for tracking progress.

Action Plan

While not always included in traditional SMART templates, an action plan section is invaluable. It breaks down the goal into smaller, manageable steps or actions that need to be completed to achieve the objective. This detailed roadmap can significantly enhance your ability to execute the plan and monitor progress.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Using Goal Setting Templates

Whether you’re using an employee goal setting template, a goal setting template in Excel, or a goal setting worksheet, these resources can streamline the process and help you stay on track. However, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes that people often make when utilizing these templates

Neglecting Specificity

One of the most common mistakes when using goal setting templates is failing to be specific enough. Whether you’re setting goals for yourself or your employees, vague objectives like “increase sales” or “improve communication” lack the clarity needed for effective goal achievement.

Use your employee goal setting template or Excel worksheet to articulate SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Overloading with Goals

Another pitfall is setting too many goals at once. While it’s natural to have multiple aspirations, overwhelming yourself or your team with an excessive number of goals can lead to burnout and reduced effectiveness.

Prioritize your goals and focus on a select few that are most crucial. A well-structured goal setting template will help you allocate time and resources wisely.

Ignoring Regular Updates

Goal setting templates are not static documents; they require regular updates and tracking. Many individuals and organizations make the mistake of setting goals and then forgetting about them until the deadline approaches.

To avoid this, use an Excel-based goal setting template to keep track of progress and make necessary adjustments. Regularly review and revise your goals to stay aligned with changing circumstances.

Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to frustration and demotivation when they are not achieved. Ensure that your goals, as outlined in your goal setting template, are realistic and attainable based on the resources and time available.

It’s okay to aim high, but make sure your goals are within reach to maintain motivation and confidence.

Neglecting Employee Input

In the context of employee goal setting templates, it’s essential to involve employees in the goal-setting process. One common mistake is top-down goal setting without considering input from those responsible for achieving the goals.

Employees who participate in setting their own objectives are often more motivated and engaged in the achievement process.

Written by Emily Helen Arnold

Emily Helen Arnold is a content writer at Teamflect. She is obsessed with organizational behavior studies and loves writing/thinking about how a carefully designed people strategy can transform a company.

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