Goal setting

General Description of the Module:

In this module, you will reflect on your goal setting process and learn a new strategy to help you achieve your goals more easily.

Activity: SMART principles.

Specific Objectives:

  • To understand what SMART goals are.
  • To be able to formulate your goals according to SMART goals principles.
  • To become more aware of your goal setting process.

Duration: 30 minutes

Resources: "SMART Goals" Activity Sheet, pens.

Description of the activity:

  1. Start a discussion about goals: “What is a goal?” “How are goals different from dreams?” Understand that goals are more specific than dreams, and people usually have a clear plan to reach their goals. Some goals can be accomplished in a short amount of time, while other goals take much longer to accomplish.
  2. Review the concept of a SMART goal. This is way of stating a goal clearly. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and has a Timeline.

    An example:
    Goal – I want to improve my study results.
    SMART Goal – I want to receive a grade higher than I was given last time for all subjects that I am taking but the end of this term/semester.

  3. Work in pairs. Share with your partner one thing you wish to accomplish in the next 6 months. Help each other write the wish as a “SMART” goal using the guidelines on the SMART Goals Activity Sheet.
  4. Even though you may have tried your best, there is still a possibility you won’t always achieve what you set for yourself and that, even though perfectly normal, can be hard to deal with. Here are a few tips on how to cope with not achieving your goal and ways you can move forward:
    • Realize that nothing worthwhile will come easy - We are so used to getting what we want and getting it quickly, that we don’t realize just how much work and effort it is going to take to achieve something notable. It takes time. But during that time, as we make the journey towards our goal, we are constantly building our character, gaining new knowledge and possibly even discovering a deeper meaning to our lives!
    • Use failure as a learning experience - When we fail, it should be a chance to learn from our mistakes. Ask yourself why you failed. Where did you go wrong? What could you have done differently? Was it your plan? Was it because you failed to see something you should have seen? Did a bad habit hinder your progress? Really look at it objectively and learn from it.
    • Find the silver lining and celebrate it – Even if you didn’t achieve the goal you set yourself, there will almost always be SOMETHING you did right. When you don’t achieve your set goal, it helps to identify parts of the process that you are proud of. Learn from the positives as well as from what did not go to plan so you are better equipped to reach your goal next time round.

After the activity:

After completing the activity, take some time to reflect on your experience. Think about or write down answers to these reflection points:

  • Did I learn something new? If yes, what?
  • What skills did I improve?
  • How could I apply those skills or knowledge in my life? (Think of a few examples)

Suggestion and tips for facilitation:

You can also complete this activity by yourself if you are working individually. Use the SMART goals activity sheet whenever you are planning, or want to achieve something.

This module is closely related to the Decision making, Action planning and Time management modules.

SMART Goals Activity Sheet

Directions: Think about something you want to accomplish in the near future. Write a “SMART” goal for it. Use the checklist below to be sure you have clearly stated the goal.

  1. SMART Goal Statement:
  2. SMART Goal Checklist: