What are SMART Goals?

  • 0
  • October 28, 2020

Setting goals is a critical part of personal and professional development. To help deepen and personalize your learning in our courses, you will set goals to guide your progress.

Let’s first review the basic definition of a goal. A goal is a desired outcome that a person or organization commits time and effort to bringing about. Setting goals helps you stay motivated, focused, and on track to create the future you want (Osman, 2017).

The SMART goal framework helps you make your goals more concrete and achievable. Using the acronym SMART, these goals are (Gregory, 2018):

  • Specific: The goal clearly defines what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable: The goal includes targets and outcomes that allow you to track your progress.
  • Attainable: The goal is realistic and achievable within the given time frame.
  • Relevant: The goal is meaningful to you and aligns with other overarching desired outcomes. (These may be outcomes within your school or district, or outcomes you’ve identified for your own growth.)
  • Time-Based: The goal specifies the time frame in which you will accomplish it.

For example, an educator may have a goal to incorporate more gamification into the classroom because it’s part of a district-level outcome. An example of a SMART version of this goal may read:

I will incorporate gamification strategies into at least one lesson every grading period until the end of the school year, as suggested by my district.

This goal is SMART because it (a) specifically states what the educator will accomplish (incorporate gamification strategies), (b) includes a measurable, attainable outcome (using gamification in at least one lesson every grading period), (c) aligns with a relevant overarching goal (as suggested by the district), and (d) is time-based (until the end of the school year).

Dungdm93. (2016). SMART goals. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license at Wikimedia.org.


Dungdm93. (2016). SMART goals [Chart]. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54290689 

Gregory, A. (2018, November 27). SMART goal setting 101. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/smart-goal-setting-101-2951829

Osman, B. (2017). 5 powerful reasons why goal setting is important [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.codeofliving.com/goals/5-powerful-reasons-why-goal-setting-important