Welcome to a new school year, everyone! I hope every student is off to a great start. I thought it would be appropriate to write about setting goals and achieving them by using simple steps since we are beginning a new year. Here are some tips that your student might find helpful in succeeding their academic and/or personal goals using “SMART” Format. By using each letter of the SMART Format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound), you are creating the path to meeting your goal.
1) Be Specific! – Make your goal well-defined. For example, don’t just say “I want to make good grades”. Be more clear in your goal. A more specific statement might be “I want to pass all my classes and make at least 2 A’s “. See the difference? Very specific goals help you and others to know what direction you plan to go.
2) Measurable- How will you know when your goal has been achieved?: Making your goals “measurable” means measuring progress towards your goal. This can be a bit difficult because academic goals are often measured using report cards and progress reports. However, you can measure academic progress in home too. For example, if a student’s goal is to “Pass all classes and make at least 2 A’s by end of the Semester”, you may want to start a log of them studying at home each night for 30 minutes or attending tutoring each week.
**Links to some organizational tools and goal sheets are at the bottom of this post**
3) Attainable- Is this goal a realistic option for you?: I believe every student can succeed in their goals and I place a big emphasis on building upon strengths. Nevertheless, it is important to know if the goal you are setting is something that can be achieved within the time given. For example, it would not be too realistic for someone to say “I want to become a famous basketball player by the end of the year”. A more realistic and easier goal may be, “I want to join the basketball team this year and work toward playing in the NBA in the future”. Another example of an “Attainable” goal might read: (I.e. “I want to pass all my classes and make at least 2 A’s and I know I can achieve this by studying each night“).
4) Relevant: Will meeting this goal be helpful for you overall? I love art, but having a goal of “Make 5 oil paintings by 6 PM tonight” probably wouldn’t do much toward helping me grow as a person. It is important for you and your student to see if the goal in mind is helpful in some area of life: mentally, socially, academically, etc. An example of making sure your goal is relevant may read like this: “I want to pass all my classes and make at least 2 A’s and I can achieve that in the amount of time I have. I’m setting this goal because I need to pass the 6th grade”).
5) Time-Bound: How much time do you have to achieve this goal? This is a very important step to forming a goal. Having an end date in mind will help you stay motivated to achieve your goal, since you only have a certain amount of time to do it. An example of incorporating time into your goal may look like: “I want to pass all my classes and make at least 2 A’s by the end of each semester”.
Goal Sheets and Logs:
Tracking healthy eating, hygiene, and fitness logs: http://www.nourishinteractive.com/nutrition-education-printables/category/44-printable-tracker-food-diaries-kids-healthy-goals-tracking-sheets-new
Goal Printables with ideas for goals: http://www.livinglocurto.com/2014/01/write-down-goals-free-printable/#sthash.Jyij3nV2.dpbs
Comment with some goals you and your students have created for this school year! 🙂
Brittany Montgomery, LMSW