Setting SMART Goals

Chris Ivey / Academic

On assembly last week I challenged all students

11 February 2021

Setting SMART Goals


On assembly last week I challenged all students to set themselves SMART goals that would help them achieve measurable success this week/term/semester/year.

Achieving success in a goal that you have personally set (not set for you) and being proud of this achievement is a major driver for any student to then strive in other areas of their lives.

The hardest part of this whole process of goal setting is actually choosing a goal and planning a process to complete the goal. Students especially find this difficult and the confusion they feel in trying to set and complete goals leads to uncertainty and procrastination.

SMART Goals.jpg

A very useful website that outlines the process of SMART goalsetting very well is https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

To help students in their goal setting we have developed our own straightforward proforma that is available to all students.

The following is an example of a goal set by a student at St Andrew’s for this semester.

Shelley wants to do well in Year 9 music and she has chosen to perform the piano piece Rachmaninov: Elégie. To do this Shelley has the following plan.

  1. Specific

When drafting your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish? Play the piece without mistake (notice no grade mentioned)
  • Why is this goal important? It will ensure confidence in my piano playing moving forward
  • Who is involved? My music teacher, parents, my music peers (all for support) and me
  • Where is it located? I will be playing at school at the End of Semester music night
  • Which resources or limits are involved? The school has a grand piano and thus I will need to become adept at playing this.
  1. Measurable

A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How much? I have a piano at home and can practice there but I will need at least 5 piano lessons which are $40 each so I will need to budget for this.
  • How many? I will need to put aside 20 mins a night to ensure that I remain on track (it would be good to schedule these in so there is a routine)
  • How will I know when it is accomplished? When I feel comfortable and can consistently play the piece without error.
  1. Achievable

An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish this goal? Scheduling and persistent work
  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors? I will need to book access to the piano at school through the music office and make sure that I have put $200 aside from my budget for lessons.
  1. Relevant

A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile? Yes, I want to continue with my music studies into Year 10 to 12 and success here will help me feel comfortable that I can continue with this goal.
  • Is this the right time? I only do music in Year 9 for one semester so yes
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs? I will need to ensure that I still schedule time for study and sport
  • Am I the right person to reach this goal? This is an individual performance that will affect my future music goals
  • Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment? Can I save $200 for lessons? Yes, I have Christmas money that I can use.
  1. Time-bound

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When? The performance piece is due to be performed on June 5th
  • What can I do four months from now? Ensure that I am comfortable playing on the school piano
  • What can I do six weeks from now? Comfortably play the first half of the piece which allows time to learn the 2nd half and then embed the nuances required to bring emotion to the piece.
  • What can I do today? I will need to start this week with a first step in the knowledge that I will not be able to play the piece successfully on the first try. I will plan to achieve milestones at the end of every week.

Obviously a student needs to set SMART goals for each of their objectives and this can take time but in order to achieve ultimate success and satisfaction it is important that correct planning takes place.

It would be wonderful if parents could help a student with at least one of their plans and offer positive but constructive criticism that will help in setting realistic goals.

I would love to see some examples if people feel free to share. Good luck.

Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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