How to Teach Goal Setting
One of my favorite lessons I did in my classroom was leading my students through goal creation.
Not only was I teaching them a valuable life skill, but I also got to learn so much about them as individuals.
We started the lesson by watching Matt Cutt’s TED Talk: Try Something New for 30 Days.
The students loved this 3 ½ minute video and it was a great way to introduce the concept of continual growth. Having them see that adults set goals, too was powerful. We created a separate goal setting blog post for working professionals. Having this available for students to share with their parents would be an excellent resource for students to continue this goal-setting conversation at home.
After watching this video, we started brainstorming about what academic and personal goals they’d like to accomplish.
I am a bit of research geek, and I always enjoyed sharing that goals are statistically more likely to be accomplished if they:
- Write their goal down
- Post their goal up where they see it
- Tell someone else about their goal
- Create a goal that meets the SMART goal criteria
We created the MOOC video “Goal Setting” to help students understand what a SMART goal is and how to write one.
Watching this video before students begin writing their goals will help with the goal writing process substantially.
The major point necessary for students to understand is that SMART goals need to have specific, detailed, easily measurable plans. What students frequently think of as “goals” are actually just vague wishes. Leading them through the process of creating solid goals is a skill that will benefit them for years to come.
As Dr. Shufeldt says, “You have to be intentional about what you’re trying to accomplish if in fact your goal is to accomplish anything remarkable.”
Personal and Academic Goals
In my experience, students were always eager to write personal goals. To ensure that they also created an academic goal while not taking away their excitement when it comes to personal goals, I asked students to create one academic goal in addition to a personal goal.
Using this worksheet, which includes a checklist students can use to check whether or not their goal fits the SMART goal criteria, students are able to evaluate their goal easily with a partner.
Click the “Download” button below to get our free SMART Goals Worksheet.Invalid download ID.
When Students Struggle
During this goal creation stage of the lesson, I loved walking around to see what students were writing.
Inevitably, there would be students who struggled to come up with goals. The conversations that arose from this exercise were invaluable.
Giving students an opportunity to share their goals, first with a shoulder partner, and then with the class if they chose to do so, was also a valuable aspect of this lesson.
Five Year Plans
In the goal setting video, Dr. Shufeldt talks about how he takes goal setting a step further by creating five and ten-year goals. Creating a ten year plan with high school students might be a bit overwhelming, but exposing students to this concept, and giving them the option to create five year plans in addition to the SMART goals would give them a serious head start on accomplishing amazing things.
Go Forth and Conquer
We hope this SMART goals video and SMART goals worksheet help you in empowering your students to accomplish their present goals as well as their goals in the future.
Download Our Free SMART Goal Setting Worksheet
Download our Free SMART Goal Setting Worksheet (PDF) to help you achieve your Leadership Goals