FYI: In our last post we discussed reflection and its benefits. Reflection is the precursor to goal setting. So if you haven’t checked it out yet, before you start learning about SMART goals, click here then come back to get your goal setting started!


It’s a new year? Have you set any goals for 2017? It’s going to be a great year and you can make it your best year yet by setting SMART Goals. Summer Springboard is all about helping you find success in life and thinking about goals is a great place to start. Studies show that people who set goals and write them down are more likely to be successful.


SMART goals are a relatively new idea. In 1981, George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company, published a paper called, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” In the document, he introduces S.M.A.R.T. goals as a tool to create criteria to help improve the chances of succeeding in accomplishing a goal.  

When you set goals it’s really important to have a handle on why you are setting the goal, how you are going to accomplish the goal, when it will happen, where you will be, who will help you.  It can be overwhelming to think about all those “W” words! So to make things easier you can use this handy acronym to help you set SMART goals:




Achievable + Action Steps




Now let’s dig into what each step entails. As an example we will use improving your math grade.  Notice how each step of SMART adds more detail to the goal. The more detailed your goal the easier it will be to achieve and find success in your efforts.


Specific Your goal needs to be specific. It should contain your “what”- What do you want to achieve?  Example: I want to improve by math grade.


Measurable- Your goal needs to be measurable. It should contain a number. It could be how much, how many, or a percentage. Example: I want to improve my math grade from a D to a B.


Achievable + Action Steps- Your goal should be achievable. It is ok to set a far reaching goal. We want to get out of our comfort zone and push ourselves, but make sure it is something you believe you can achieve. Example: Yes, I am capable of earning a B in math class.  Is this too easy? Way too hard? When we get to T, we will revisit this step.

Next, add an action step to your goal. What is an action step you can take to help you reach your goal. Example: Going to math lab will allow for a good review of the information I learned or didn’t understand in class. I will improve my math grade from a D to a B by attending math lab 3 days per week during lunch.


Relevant- Your goal should be important to you! If it is not important do not set it as a goal. This is the most important step, and should answer the most important question of Why? What is your why? Why are you setting this goal? If you do not know why you are setting the goal it is time to stop goal setting, and start reflecting.

Example:  Earning a B in math class is important to me because it means I will have a better understanding of the material. With a B my GPA will increase which will allow me the opportunity to get into more schools and higher level course work.


Target- Your goal needs a target date and time. This steps loops back to step A. The target time and date should be achievable. Do not limit yourself on time and cause unneeded stress. On the other hand, do not give yourself so much time that there is no push to get things done. The target time is important because it holds you accountable to complete the goal.

Example: Final GOAL- I will improve my math grade from a D to a B by the end of the 4th Quarter by attending math lab 3 days per week during lunch.


Use this printable to help you set your own SMART goals.


Extra tips:

  • Who is the “w” not covered in the SMART goal setting process. But it is good to think about who can help you achieve your goal.  Having a buddy can always be a good addition to goal setting. So if you have a friend who is looking to achieve something similar you could work towards a goal together and hold each other accountable.
  • Also, think about the who being – Who you will share this with? Writing down your goal is the first step towards achievement, the second would be telling someone. Once you tell someone (maybe a teacher, parent or sibling) they can help remind and encourage you along the way to success.
  • Hang it up somewhere that you see it everyday! Once you have used the worksheet to set your goal, write it on your bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker, hang it on your refrigerator, or save it as a daily reminder on your phone.


This is only the beginning! This summer our expert instructors and directors will help you along the path to success by helping you through this process. We will help you identify your goals and develop a plan of action. We will create a roadmap to success that will help you reach your highest potential. Apply today and join one of our programs in July 2017.


Happy goal setting!

Look inward. Go Upward.