If you’re anything like most parents I know your kids are brilliant. That’s great… but that’s not the kind of smart I’m talking about. Have you started to teach them to set goals?
That’s where it pays to be SMART and include all the elements of a well-set goal.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Let’s look at how those might work at home.
Specific: It would be nice if “I’ll be more responsible” was enough to get the job done, but effective goals need to be worded a bit differently. “I will walk the dog every day without being asked for five days in a row” or “Take out the trash every day after dinner” are clear and specific.
Measurable: You may want to substitute the term “observable.” How will you know the goal has been reached? What difference will you see when the goal has been reached?
Achievable: Let’s look at grades for this example. “Get an ‘A’ in Social Studies may not be achievable, simply because someone else actually gives the grades. Change the focus to factors completely under the student’s control. “All of my papers will be submitted on time, neatly typed, free from spelling errors and meeting or exceeding requirements for length and content.”
Realistic: What resources are available to meet the goal? Lots of people dream of a career in pro sports, but few of us have the required talent.
Timely: Whether it’s a deadline (“by next Thursday…”) or a time period (“once a month for a year”) adding “time” helps make wishes come true!
Setting and achieving goals contributes to a sense of mastery, competence and personal satisfaction. Who wouldn’t want SMART kids???