SMART Goals

The concept of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is very effective for accomplishing individual goals. Research has shown that goals are more likely to be accomplished if they are carefully thought out and written down. The definition of a S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  

Below is a definition of each of the S.M.A.R.T. goal guidelines:

Specific (Significant, Strategic) - Goals should be simply written and clearly define what you are going to do.  Specific is the What, Why, and How of the S.M.A.R.T. model.  Explain what exactly--in detail--you want to accomplish.

Measurable (Meaningful, Motivating) - Goals should be measurable so that you have tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal.  With a measurable goal you can identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal.  It means breaking your goal down into measurable parts  How will you know when you've reached your goal?  

Achievable (Attainable) - Goals should be achievable; they should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged, but be defined well enough so that you can achieve them.  Think about what resources, skills, and time are needed to reach your goal.

Realistic (Results-focused, Relevant) - Goals should measure outcomes, not activities.  What is the outcome or change that you expect to achieve?

Time-bound (Timely) - Goals should be linked to a timeframe.  Research has found that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. What can you do now?  When will each step be completed?

Academic Goal Example

GOAL:  "I will study more for MATH 005."

How to make the goal stronger:

Specific:

I want to try learning support services and improve my grade from a D to an at least a C in MATH 5.

Measurable:

I will improve my grade from a D to at least a C in MATH 5 lecture.

Achievable:

I will attend tutoring sessions with PALS for MATH 5 at least once every week– that’s doable.

Realistic:

I will attend tutoring sessions with PALS for MATH 5 at least once a week on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1-2pm– which is realistic and relevant to the goal I am trying to achieve.

Time-Framed:

I will attend tutoring sessions on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1-2pm starting next Tuesday until the end of the semester.

FINAL SMART ACADEMIC GOAL EXAMPLE:

"I will attend tutoring sessions with PALS for MATH 5 twice a week on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1-2pm starting next week until the end of the term to bring up my grade from a D to a C in MATH 5.  I will add these activities to my calendar/academic planner to ensure accountability."

Wellness Goal Example

GOAL:  "I'll go to CAPS."

Specific:

I want help with my anxiety.

Measurable:

I will attend support group sessions each time they are offered.

Achievable:

I will schedule the support group sessions in my calendar to ensure I attend.

Realistic:

The sessions do not conflict with any other committment.

Time-Framed:

I will contact CAPS by the end of the day today.

FINAL SMART GOAL:  "Today, I will contact a staff member at CAPS to identify a support group for anxiety.  I will include the days and times on my calendar and attend the group starting next week."

Communication Goal Example

GOAL:  I will talk to my professor.

Specific:

I want to improve my communication with my professor so that they know who I am.  I also want to discuss a conflict that caused me to miss class along with an assignment or quiz (i.e. due to illness, athletic travel, etc.).

Measurable:

I will increase my communication with my professor so that we can discuss coursework as well as an alternative course of action for a quiz/assignment I was unable to completed due to missing a class.  I will come prepared with two items (questions or subject matter) to discuss.

Achievable:

I will attend my professor’s office hours at least once every 2 weeks.

Realistic:

I will attend my professor's office hours on every other Wednesday at 2:00pm.

Time-Framed:

I will attend my professor’s office hours this week on Wednesday at 2:00pm and continue attending biweekly until the end of the semester.

FINAL SMART GOAL:

"I will attend my professor’s office hours this week on Wednesday at 2:00pm and continue to go to office hours every other Wednesday until the end of the semester.  During office hours, I will come prepared with two items (questions or subject matters) to discuss."

 

Information adapted from:

Lawlor, K.B., Hornyak, M.J. (2012).  SMART GOALS: How the Application of Smart Goals can Contribute to Achievement of Student Learning Outcomes.  Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning. 39(259-267).  Click here for article.

Lunenburg, F.C. (2011). Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation.  International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration. 15(1) (1-6).