My SMARTER Goals

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After listening to Dr Addis’ lecture Imagining The Future I have been thinking more and more on the role that goal setting plays in our lives. I have considered myself to be an ambitious and motivated person, but now I am starting to question that. I have always have goals and these have changed and developed over time, and usually I achieve my goals so I’ve never really broken down the process before. I’d come across the idea of SMART goals a couple of years ago at a conference and it was obviously something that others had already heard about:

It all seemed fairly obvious. In fact I have been using the term willy-nilly ever since with little understanding of what it actually entailed. Only by listening to Dr Addis and reflecting on the lack of strategic planning for my year 8s most recent project, that a realised that I needed to be more aware of my goals and the steps I have to go through to achieve them, especially if I hoped to model this for my pupils. I started looking into SMART goals again, essentially by Googling the term and reading articles and blog entries on the subject. Two things came out of this mini, unscientific, lit review; firstly the mnemonic is host to a whole variety of acronyms. I wondered about this… are we meant to pick and mix from the endless adjective that happen to begin with the same letter. That didn’t sit right so I went back to the literature that the original mnemonic was synthesised from and I went over my own notes from Dr Addis’ talk. I kept asking myself the following question: What do you have to be aware of the achieve your goals? And this is what I decided upon:

S = specific (what, why, who, where, when)

M = measurable (success criteria)

A = attainable (what steps need to be taken)

R = resources (inc people, time, support as well as stuff)

T = time (checkpoints and deadline)

The second thing I came across was the extra letters. As this is a process that you should reflect on regularly (one of the key elements missing for me – I tend to set a goal and when I get there, great) so again I went through an assortment of options and decided on the following so that the entire journey would be represented:

E = evaluate (what have you done, which step are you up to, what is working)

R = re-evaluate = (What needs to change in the plan, is it still attainable)

So, that’s where I’m at. I have created a spread sheet and have filled in a couple of Goals that I am currently working on, it’s great to see how close I am to reaching some of them and crucially, it is really obvious which ones were drifting.

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