How to Set SMART Goals

The trick to achieving your dreams is setting SMART goals. 

What are SMART goals?

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. These guidelines can help sharpen your focus in the short-term so you can reach your end goal!

  • Specific: Your goal is direct and detailed.
  • Measurable: Your goal is trackable.
  • Attainable: Your goal is challenging but reasonable.
  • Realistic: You are capable of achieving your goal.
  • Time-bound: Your goal has a deadline.

Step by Step: Critical Milestones That Lead to College Planning Success

My Journey On-Demand Session

It’s no secret — college and career planning can be overwhelming. During this presentation, we’ll pull back the curtain and identify critical milestones that will help students and families plan for success.

The session will highlight 9th and 10th-grade college prep behaviors and break down time sensitive college application advice for 11th and 12th graders. Learn how a counselor helped students explore careers, jobs, and various types of colleges to help them arrive at a balanced college match list that met their needs.

Tips to Staying on Track

Set small goals. SMART goals can be big goals, but sometimes it helps to break them down even further to understand what you need to do daily to stay motivated.

  • Good Goal: Read more. SMART Goal: Read 1 book per month for 1 year.
  • Good Goal: Learn piano. SMART Goal: Practice piano 15 minutes a day for 6 months.
  • Good Goal: Save money. SMART Goal: Set aside $25 a week for a year.
  • Good Goal: Be grateful. SMART Goal: Write 3 things you’re grateful for every day for 1 month.
  • Good Goal: Improve mental health. SMART Goal: Meditate for 3 minutes a day for one month.

Track your progress. Keep a journal, take a photo, download an app, or create a sticker chart to hold yourself accountable. Having tangible evidence of your growth can help you visualize the progress you’re making.

Reward yourself. Think of a little treat that’s worth working toward. Maybe it’s a new notebook, a movie night, or scoop of ice cream. Whatever it is, make it an item or experience you can enjoy knowing it’s a reward for staying on track.

Forgive yourself. If you miss a day or small milestone, don’t let it derail your progress entirely.

Ready to tackle your goals? Download the worksheet to help you stay on track!