How many times have you attempted to establish personal goals or financial goals, but find yourself adhering to the same monotonous routine and schedule?
This has happened to almost all of us. One of the reasons behind this is that the goals set are not adequately defined and lack clarity in terms of what, where, why, when, and how.
To help you with the same, the SMART goals strategy comes into the picture. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound which can give directions to your goals and dreams.
SMART goals strategy is a game-changing approach that can help you map out your ambitions and take steps towards realizing them. So, if you’re ready to take charge of your dreams and create a roadmap to achievement, stick around until the end of this blog as we share the array of SMART goals worksheets to make the goal-setting process easy and fun.
But before that, let’s first understand what the SMART goals strategy exactly means and how to use it to set realistic goals.
What are SMART Goals
The SMART Goals approach helps build a roadmap by setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound Goals. It can transform vague aspirations into a concrete plan of action. These goals help you achieve your dreams step-by-step that are decoded in the following section –
S – Specific – As the name suggests, it means to be very specific about the goal you want to achieve. While you might already know what you want, this step encourages you to think more precisely about the target you want to achieve in your set goal.
For example, Instead of writing “I want to be good in academics”, write “I want to improve my ______ (subject) grades from ___ to ___ by the end of this term.
M – Measurable – Just like you measure the speed of the car to know the total time it will take to reach your destination or by what speed a plant grows, you can also measure your goals.
Continuing with the same example above, you can measure that goal by keeping track of the hours you spend studying and looking at your grades on the subsequent unit tests that lead to the end-term examination. This step helps you figure out how to tell if you’re moving closer to your specific goal set in the first step.
A – Achievable – It is popularly said that “The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step”. You may want to climb Mt. Everest but that would only be possible if you begin with small achievable steps one at a time. After you’ve decided on the things you can measure, this step is about making a list of smaller actions you can take now to reach those measurements and hence the specific goal.
For instance, in order to improve your grades in the unit tests, you might need to increase your study time by 30-40 minutes daily and make your own study notes instead of copying them from other students.
R – Relevant – In this step, you take a moment to think about the goal you picked earlier. As the first step focuses on the specific target you want to achieve in your desired goal, this step encourages you to think critically and analyze if your set specific target will help you achieve your goal in the long run.
According to the above example of improving grades, the measure and the actions set along with focusing on your conceptual understanding is more relevant and will yield positive results for the defined goal which is improving overall academics instead of swimming.
T – Time-bound – Think about what would happen if there was no deadline for finishing your exams. Time is important in everything we do. Keeping a note of the time is not crucial for exams but for everyday life. So, in this last step, you need to set a time limit by which you believe you’ll be able to achieve the aforementioned actions and targets.
So, to put it all together, a SMART Goal would be – “I want to improve my math grades from ___ to ___ within this term by studying for at least 30-40 minutes extra every day”.
SMART Goals worksheets for high school
By now, you might have got an idea about how to set realistic and attainable goals. Let us level up the goal-setting game by employing interactive and innovative worksheets which can provide you with a structured framework to clearly define your goals, plan effectively and track your progress. The following attached worksheets can guide you through the process of setting and reaching your goals step-by-step.
There are four different types of worksheets each tailored with an aim to cater to diverse requirements and preferences. Every worksheet has specialized columns dedicated to each element of the SMART criteria. The designs and layouts of these worksheets are unique and offer a rich variety of options according to the specific requirements and likings of students.
Moreover, the worksheets are visually appealing that attract and captivate the user’s attention stimulating them to use these worksheets and make the most of them.
SMART tips for SMART goals
By following the SMART goals strategy, you’re actually working on your thought process by evaluating every step and situation critically. Setting SMART goals also serve as a medium for self-awareness. Keeping these in mind, the following are some tips and strategies to follow along your journey of improvement and growth.
- Break goals into smaller achievable sections – Setting a big goal leads to procrastination as they require daunting efforts to accomplish. Big goals can be scary so split them into small digestible chunks. For example, if you want to be an expert at playing guitar then break this into doable steps and actions by increasing the level little by little such as indulging in music games and activities, applying for music scholarships, etc.
- Set tracking system – Nothing can beat the happiness of seeing yourself making progress. While working towards your goals, keep tracking your progress after a specific time interval. A little progress can motivate you to keep working hard and stay committed to your goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself for your achievements as this will make you happy and satisfied and eager to achieve even more.
- Identify challenges – Difficulties are part of the learning process. While setting your goals, try to identify the challenges that might hinder the successful achievement of the goal. By doing so, you can create a plan to address and mitigate these challenges. It can include seeking additional support, finding alternatives, etc. Also, when you are aware of potential difficulties that may arise, you are mentally prepared to handle setbacks and keep pushing forward. You can also check some problem-solving scenarios to help you practice analytical skills as well as critical thinking skills.
- Work on developing habits – While working towards your goal, focus on building habits and improving by 1% every day as clearly explained by James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits”. These small increments compound into remarkable progress which makes your goal not only achievable but also sustainable.
- Visual display of goals – Having your goals displayed acts as a constant visual reminder of your goals which can prevent them from getting buried under your daily routines and distractions. It increases motivation and creates a sense of accountability. Also, by doing so, your mind begins to accept these goals as important and achievable.
- Adjust and Adapt – Life is dynamic and changes are bound to happen in your everyday life. Adapt and adjust your goals, if in case, you’re not able to follow and stick to your defined goals, otherwise, it will only lead to frustration and disappointment. By being flexible and doing changes in your journey, you can ensure the goals are still challenging yet attainable.
Examples of SMART goals for high school
The following examples aim to give you an idea of how the above guide and tips come together in setting SMART goals.
Example 1: Academic Improvement
Specific: I will improve my _____ (subject) grades from ____ to ____ by the end of this semester.
Measurable: I will track my progress through regular tests and quizzes.
Achievable: I will dedicate an extra hour each day and take extra classes.
Relevant: Improving my grades will help in enhancing my overall academic performance.
Time-bound: I will achieve this by the end of this current term.
Example 2: Physical fitness goals
Specific: I will balance my BMI from ____ to ____ within 3 months
Measurable: I will track my progress by measuring my BMI at the beginning of each month and recording the changes.
Achievable: I will adopt a balanced diet. Dedicate 30 – 40 minutes to physical exercise every day. Consult a nutritionist or fitness expert if needed.
Relevant: Balancing my BMI will improve my overall health and well-being.
Time-bound: I will achieve this goal by the end of 3 months
Example 3: Personal development goals
Specific: I will read two novels/ self-help books by the end of this semester
Measurable: I will complete one by the midpoint of the semester and the other by the end.
Achievable: I will set a dedicated time to read books before going to sleep each night
Relevant: Reading books will increase my knowledge and improve my critical thinking skills.
Time-bound: I will achieve this goal by the end of this semester.
Example 4: Developing communication skills
Specific: I will enhance my public speaking skills by working on clarity, confidence, and engagement within the next six months.
Measurable: I will participate in at least 2 workshops or courses to learn new techniques. I will track my progress by voluntarily delivering speeches in front of a small group or in a class.
Achievable: I will practice it regularly in front of the mirror and by recording myself.
Relevant: Improving my public speaking skills is crucial for developing good communication skills, gaining confidence, and personal and professional development.
Time-bound: I will achieve this goal within the next six months.
Example 5: Improving time management skills
Specific: I will create a weekly schedule to balance my academics, extracurriculars, and personal time
Measurable: I will track my progress in adherence to my schedule using a planner or a digital tool
Achievable: I will dedicate specific time periods for each activity and make adjustments as needed.
Relevant: Improving my time management skills will reduce stress and enhance my productivity
Time-bound: I will achieve this goal within the next six months and I will start following the schedule starting next week.
While we all have dreams and goals in our life that encourage us to work hard and keep going ahead in life, the SMART goals strategy makes the process of goal-setting practically easy and achievable.
In this journey, worksheets play a crucial role by encouraging and helping high school students to create a strategic plan for their actions and set themselves up to turn their dreams into reality. Setting SMART goals encourages students to think critically and foster self-awareness.