How to Write Achievable Smart Goals For Students

The utmost important thing that generally we all fail to do is to set our aims. The ones that do this and have a clear sight of their target and know the way to it are the ones with better chances of a shot at success. Dreaming big is good but you need to know exactly what you want to achieve and which milestones you need to achieve on your way to your ultimate goal.

Most professional people are aware of having SMART goals, so here is an easy introduction on how to write SMART goals for students

What Do You Mean By SMART Goals

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SMART is an acronym and can stand for a variety of meanings.

S : significant, specific, stretching

M: motivational, meaningful, measurable

A : attainable, acceptable,  agreed upon, achievable, action-oriented

R : relevant, rewarding, realistic, reasonable, results-oriented

T : trackable,  tangible, time-based, timely, time-bound

The most commonly accepted full form of SMART when it comes to goals setting for students is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented and Time-based.

Let us look into how to go about setting goals from a student’s perspective.

Specific: specific goals need to tell you the where, when, why, who and/or how of the goal.  Students must write their goals in such a manner that defines the above-mentioned details.

e.g.: I (who) will improve (what) my grades in biology (where) by mid-term (when).

Measurable: You should have a measure of success. How far have you achieved what you have set out to achieve? Your written goal should clearly state what the measure of your achievement will be, i.e. you should be able to provide data as evidence of your achievement.

e.g.: I will improve my grades to at least 70% in biology by mid-term

Achievable: Everywhere you go, everyone will ask you to aim higher. But, you should also know your own potential and set your goals accordingly. Improvement is good. But if we set a huge mountain to climb at the very first go we are setting ourselves for failure. Let the peak of the mountain be the ultimate goal and set your sight at the milestones to it. Achieve them one at a time. Success to achieve these milestones on at a time will encourage you to aim higher and reach your mountain peak.

e.g.: I will improve my grades to at least 70% (not 90%) in biology by mid-term (not in a month)

Result-oriented: Results-oriented means that the outcome of the goal is measurable.

e.g.: I will improve my grades to at least 70% in biology by mid-term.

Time-bound: Deadline is a must-have component of a goal that works wonders in achieving your aim in professional or your personal life. Set yourself deadlines for attaining your goal and ensure to meet them.

e.g.: I will improve my grades to at least 70% in biology by mid-term

Writing SMART Goals

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As a student, you may have set your goal as “Next time I will do better”, but as this goal is inadequate, i.e. has no specific details or a deadline, you lose sight of your target soon. You also need to stay motivated so that you do not give up easily and stay focused on your goal. Treat yourself to goodies every time you reach your goal. This provides a bit of motivation as well.

Let us look at the previous example and see if it has all the components of a SMART goal.

e.g.: I will improve my grades to at least 70% in biology by mid-term.

Specific: It says exactly what you want to do. You want to improve your grades in Biology.

Measurable: When would you know that you have achieved what you have set out to? Where is the evidence? The proof is in the pudding. Your grades will determine how far you have achieved in fulfilling your goal.

Achievable: Say, you are an average student who scores around 60% in Biology. Saying that you will score 90% the in the next term is a big leap, and it might set you up for a fall. The moment you fail after all that hard work, you tend to lose hope and give up. Instead, set a goal that is achievable – 70% sounds reasonable.

Result-oriented: While setting a goal you need to be result-oriented. Writing that you want to improve your grades to 70% is doing just that.

Time- bound: So now you are going to improve your Biology grades to 70%. But by when?? By mid-term. People tend to achieve more if they have a set deadline. Even if you miss it by a little bit, you will be closer to your goal than if you did not start with a deadline in the first place.

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Now that this goal seems to have all the components to be called a SMART goal, can we make it smarter? Let's see.

The deadline set is by mid-term, by which mid-term? Write it as by mid-term of 8th Grade or 2016.

After scrutiny, you will see that this goal lacks the “How” of it. So incorporate how you are going to achieve this. This makes your goal more result-oriented.

Remember, the more detailed your goal is, the more focused you will be and more the chance of succeeding. 

So, your new, improved SMART goal becomes:

“I will improve my grades to at least 70% in biology by mid-term of 2016 by studying Biology for extra 1 hour each day.”

A SMART goal is a better road to success, so set yourself one today and get cracking.

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