SMART Goal Setting Guide Sheet
Following are components of an effective goal – one that describes performance standards that will “tell us what good behavior looks like.” The SMART acronym can help us remember these components.
Specific The goal should identify a specific action or event that will take place.
Measurable The goal and its benefits should be quantifiable.
Achievable The goal should be attainable given available resources.
Realistic The goal should require you to stretch some, but allow the likelihood of success.
Timely The goal should state the time period in which it will be accomplished.
Here are some tips that can help you set effective goals:
1. Develop several goals. A list of five to seven items gives you several things to work on over a period of time.
2. State goals as declarations of intention, not items on a wish list. “I want to apply to three schools” lacks
power. “I will apply to three schools,” is intentional and powerful.
3. Attach a date to each goal. State what you intend to accomplish and by when. A good list should include
some short-term and some long-term goals. You may want a few goals for the year, and some for two- or
4. Be specific. “To find a job” is too general; “to find and research five job openings before the end of the
month” is better. Sometimes a more general goal can become the long-term aim, and you can identify some
more specific goals to take you there.
5. Share your goals with someone who cares if you reach them. Sharing your intentions with your parents, your
best friend, or your teacher will help ensure success.
6. Write down your goals and put them where you will see them. The more often you read your list, the more
results you get.
7. Review and revise your list. Experiment with different ways of stating your goals. Goal setting improves with
practice, so play around with it.
Writing an Effective Goal Statement
Rules for writing goal statements:
1. Use clear, specific language.
2. Start your goal statement with TO + a VERB
3. Write your goal statement using SMART Goal Criteria
4. Avoid using negative language. Think positive!
An example of a goal statement:
• To run the mini marathon in May and complete the 10 mile race in under 1 hour to beat my personal best time.
Notice how the above example begins with the word “To”, includes the verb “run”, and tells what (the marathon), why
(to beat personal best time) and when (May).
Use this worksheet to identify the specific SMART criteria you will use to write your goal statement.
What is your basic goal? ______________________________________________________________________________
1. Is it specific? (Who? What? Where? When? Why?)
2. Is it measurable? How will I measure progress? (How many? How much?)
3. Is it attainable? (Can this really happen? Attainable with enough effort? What steps are involved?)
4. Is it realistic? (What knowledge’s, skills, and abilities are necessary to reach this goal?)
5. Is it timebound? (Can I set fixed deadlines? What are the deadlines?)
My Goal Statement
Use the SMART worksheet you just completed and the rules above for writing a goal statement. This should be a work-
related goal that you would like to achieve in 12 months or less. Repeat this exercise as needed to write other goal