A SMART goal is one developed using the acronym SMART as a guide.
SMART stands for:
While the SMART goal system is well-known in the workplace, it is an excellent approach for academic and personal goals as well. Following the SMART acronym ensures that the goal is realistic and includes not only a brief plan of action but also a clearly defined method of evaluating whether or not the effort has been successful.
By using the SMART goal-setting system with your child, you can teach them a valuable life skill and help establish a pattern of achievement year-over-year.
A typical goal for a student might be “I want to get better grades.” Admirable, but not SMART.
Here’s a version that is smarter but not quite SMART: “I will get at least a B in all my math and science classes.”
Instead of stating a goal without establishing any other parameters, here is how to phrase the desire to get improved grades as a SMART goal: “In each of my math and science classes [specific] this semester [time bound], I will earn at least a grade of B [measurable]. I can do this [attainable] by taking careful notes in class, asking my teacher for help when a concept is not clear, and seeking a tutor’s assistance if I’m still struggling. I won’t play video games or hang out with friends until my homework is completed each night [relevant].”
By using a SMART goal for students, you’ll be able to help your child not just set clearer goals, but also establish a better action plan and establish accountability for achieving those goals. While this approach works well for students of all ages, it can be especially helpful for middle and high-school aged students to help set targets for school SMART goals as well as other areas of life.