31 SMART Goals Examples for Students of All Ages
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A new school year is underway, and students are facing unprecedented challenges as most are having to “learn how to learn” in a whole new way. Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, students have brought traditional classroom learning back into their own homes, giving a huge rise to the relatively new concept of online education.
While students have always needed motivation and self-discipline to excel in school, this new academic climate takes that requirement to the next level. Students no longer have a teacher looking over their shoulder or instructing them to put their smart phones down and pay attention. It’s now up to all learners to be proactive in their studies and feel a sense of responsibility for their educational outcomes.
Teachers can support students in this endeavor by teaching proper goal-setting techniques so students can focus their efforts appropriately, effectively manage their time, and see the positive results of their work. And setting SMART goals isn’t just important for helping students focus and maintain their momentum during these months of virtual learning–it’s a critical skill they will use for the rest of their lives.
Now, if you’re the student, learning the art of setting SMART goals will help you continuously improve yourself, which will help you gain a competitive advantage over your peers once you enter the working world. And, the simple act of setting effective goals will be an integral part of your success.
According to Locke and Latham’s goal setting theory, two people with the same skills and knowledge can perform very differently on the same task if they have different performance goals because their goals ultimately determine their motivation to succeed. Whoever is more driven to succeed will probably do so.
In this article, we are going to look at the value of SMART goals and why students of all ages should know how to set SMART goals to lay the foundation for their academic success.
Then we will go over 21 specific examples of statements that students can use to improve their performance at school, in their extra-curricular activities, and in their lives in general. (And if you want a simple tool to track these goals, then check out this 13-week goal planner, backed by science and success psychology, that is designed to optimize your day and help you tackle your goals.)
My Own Personal Examples of Goals in Life of a Student
1. Start a Growth Journal
You’re reading a blog from someone who has been journaling since kindergarten. Seriously – my uncle bought me a journal in kindergarten and I have crayon-written, half-sentences all over it.
It’s such a pleasure for me to go back through the 17 or so journals I have to reflect on my past, to gain better understanding of myself, and to remember times of good and times of bad.
2. Make a Goal to Use Social Media Less
Social media can take over a person’s life. Little by little, you spend more time on your phone or computer checking statuses and making updates…until before you know it, you’re spending more time online than in real life.
Set phone reminders or use their phone’s stopwatch to time themselves, and just allow two 15-minute slots in their day on social media (or whatever other timeframe you want to use that is considerably less than what they’re doing now).
3. Read a Book Every Month
4. Accomplish Their First Individual Goal
Goals for High School Seniors
High school seniors are about to enter the real world – whether that’s getting their own apartment, starting college in the fall, getting that first real-paying job, or having to help pay rent at home for the first time.
1. Apply for One Scholarship or Grant Per Week
Your scholarship and grant search goals do NOT need to end once you get accepted and pay for that first year. You could snag a new scholarship to decrease your overall student loan bill your sophomore year, over summers, and even your last year of college!
2. Book a Senior Week Trip with Friends
When I was a senior in high school, I realized that I didn’t have any plans for where to spend senior week (and boy did I want to go somewhere). SO, I gathered a handful of my friends who were interested, and I set about booking a house in Delaware on the beach.
3. Learn to Cook One Entire Meal (from Scratch)
Look – seniors are going to have to figure out their own food in short order. SO, the best way to help them with not busting their budgets (plus get them curious and interested in cooking for themselves)? Is by teaching them an entire meal from scratch.
And to accomplish this? They’ll have to pick out a recipe, budget for ingredients, shop for those ingredients, then get timing down in the kitchen (like, do you cook the side dish first earlier in the day to free up time to focus on the main dish? Can you cook the main dish ahead of time and reheat while making the salad and dessert? It takes practice).
4. Set Up and Use a Planner for 30 Days
They can try a digital planning system, or use a paper one (you might want them to start with a paper one so that they can wrap your head around things by writing them down, first).
5. Volunteer X Hours Per Week or Month
My last tip for a student setting a goal: the magic of goal-setting really comes from the lessons learned and from moving onto the next goal. SO, in order to get your students and teenagers interested in setting goals a second, third, and umpteenth time, you want to help them set a really achievable first goal. Build their confidence, and watch them soar over the coming months and years!
Amanda L. Grossman
Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda’s kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.
Be Your Personal Best
Goals for school and student goals in life are all created in the same ways. Challenge your students from preschool through college to be introspective and proactive with fun goal setting activities. What personal goal do you want to achieve next?
Do you often find yourself setting out big plans, only to fall flat and push the plan aside? This is a common occurrence. Luckily, there exists a well-defined solution that’s easy to follow. It comes in a detailed system of measurable goals and objectives that puts you on a path to success.
College is a time for growth and change. But, you don’t want to lose sight of your bigger goals in life. Set actionable long-term goals using the SMART method. Use examples of actionable long-term professional and academic goals as inspiration to create your own.