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Setting SMART Goals

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 22 August 2019

SMART Goals = Success

The idea of the SMART acronym is to improve your success with goal setting. Instead of setting vague, wishy washy goals, the SMART process allows you to set goals that are clear and actionable.

SMART is a goal setting acronym. There are a number of variations around but I prefer:

Specific - Set goals that are very precise. Not "I will study tonight" but "I will study the effect of temperature on gas pressure for chemistry tonight".

Measurable - Is there a way to measure when you have achieved your goal? Not "I will read my politics text tonight" but "I will read pages 137 to 161 of my politics textbook tonight". The page numbers mean that you can very accurately tell when you have achieved your goal. If you start at page 137 and read all the way to page 161 you can say with 100% clarity that you have achieved your goal.

Ambitious - Will the goal stretch you a bit? Will it take at least a bit of effort? Reading the first sentence on page 137 of my politics text is not ambitious, it is downright easy. Reading pages 137 to 161 is hard work and an ambitious goal.

Realistic - You want to set goals that are ambitious and stretch you, but you have to be realistic. Studying 6 hours a night, reading a whole textbook in a day, getting 100% in an exam are not realistic goals for most people. Reading 80 pages of your politics text in one day is not realistic for most students but reading 10 to 20 pages is both ambitious and realistic.

Time Bound - When will you achieve your goal by? For example, tonight I will read pages 137 to 161 of my politics textbook by 9pm. At 9:01pm it is very clear to you if you have achieved my goal or not.

Examples of SMART Goals

Not SMART Goal - I will go for a run.

SMART Goal - I will run 3km in under 18 minutes at 5pm tonight.

Not SMART Goal - I want to save for a car.

SMART Goal - I will save $3,000 for a car by the 31st of December 2017.

Not SMART Goal - I will pass maths.

SMART Goal - I will complete the 20 practice questions on simultaneous equations, check my answers and make corrections at 7:30pm tonight.


Consider some of the goals you have set in your notebook. Practise turning them into SMART goals.

Short, Medium and Long Term Goals ⇠Previous Lesson
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