How SMART are your goals?

Now that we’re halfway through the semester, this is a great time for students to do a little mental time traveling…
Think back in time to where you were at the beginning of the semester.  What were your expectations and goals for this semester?  
Jumping back to the future, does it look like you’re on track to meet those goals?   If not, what could you change about your approach in the second half of the semester to turn things around?
Fast forward and imagine that the rest of the semester goes really well, and now you’re at the end of the semester, looking back at what you’ve achieved.  What are you proud of yourself for doing?  
Coming back to the present, what could you do NOW that would make you feel really AWESOME at the end of the school year? 
Once you have a vision in mind for what you’re hoping to accomplish, the next step — of course — is to put it into action. 
This is where a lot of students get stuck.
They know some things they could be doing to make things better…but aren’t doing them.
There are a number of possible explanations for WHY this happens, and the specific reasons will be different for every student.   
But one strategy that can help is making sure that the plans students make are actually manageable, and easy for them to follow through with.

Enter SMART goals!

This easy-to-remember  acronym stands for goals that are:
Time limited
(There are actually many different versions of this definition,  but this one is my favorite!)
Rather than explain this concept to you in a written post, here is a quick 7 minute VIDEO lesson I created for my class this week about how to set SMART goals, with several examples of how to take goals that are vague & unclear, and transform them into more useful SMART goals:

Questions for students:
  • What are your goals for the rest of the semester?
  • How could you make those goals SMARTer?  (more Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time limited?)
  • Where else in your life — outside of school — could it be helpful to set SMART goals?
Questions for parents:
  • Do you have any personal, or family, goals that you could discuss with your teen, to practice applying the concepts of SMARTer goals?
  • What else could you do to support your teen in setting SMARTer goals?


Thanks for reading! 

I hope you enjoyed today’s post!
I’d love to hear what you think about the video format as compared to reading a full article. So, please post a comment below and let me know 🙂
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By |March 20th, 2015|Categories: Motivation, Time management|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Maggie Wray is an Atlanta-based academic coach who helps high school & college students achieve their academic potential by improving their organization, time management, study skills, and mindset about school. To set up a time to speak with Maggie about how to help YOUR teen develop the skills he or she needs to thrive academically, visit or email

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