S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Contributor: Shannon Malkovsky. Lesson ID: 10229

"If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it every time!" This is true about your path in life. If you don't set and plan for goals, you will most likely drift. Make this lesson your first goal!


Practical Life Skills

Life Skills
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Imagine that you just achieved one of your lifelong goals! You never thought you could achieve this goal, but you did! You feel so proud and accomplished!

  • What steps did you take to achieve your goal?
  • How did you make it happen?

In this lesson, learn what it takes to put a plan in place to achieve your goals.

  • What are you waiting for?

Get started now!

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

What is a goal?

People talk about their goals all the time:

Setting goals is a great way to plan for the future!

A goal is something you are aiming to have or do; it is a desired destination or result. Setting goals helps you stay motivated and provides direction.

For example, if you want to be on the football team, it might motivate you to practice, even when you're tired or it's too hot outside.

If your goal is to be an engineer, you'll know which direction to go in when choosing courses in high school and college.

If you want to save your money for a car, that goal will motivate you to skip buying that expensive electronic gadget you can't afford!

  • What is one of your goals?

Short and Long Term

There are basically two kinds of goals: long-term and short-term.

Long-term goals are goals for the future. That means you will need to focus for a long time, maybe a year or even several years.

Short-term goals are goals you have for the near future, or that you need to focus on for a shorter period of time, such as a day, or a week, or up to six months.

Both types of goals require effort, concentration, and commitment. It is often helpful to develop short-term goals that will help you achieve your long-term goals.

  • If the goal you named above was a long-term goal, what is a short-term goal you can use to achieve it?
  • If your goal was a short-term goal, are there any long-term goals that it will help you achieve?

Why Set Goals?

  • What are the benefits of setting goals?
  • Why should you bother to establish goals for yourself?

Picture yourself in a kayak on a river.


As you know, rivers flow in a certain direction. If you just sit in the kayak, the river will carry you in whatever direction it's flowing. You may end up going over a waterfall you didn't know was there!

But, if you pick up your paddle and start paddling, you can go in any direction you choose!

  • How about exploring that lovely little island over there?


  • Do you know that life is a lot like that river?

There are some things we don't have control over, but in many areas of life, we can make a plan, set a goal, and get to where we want to go, instead of being carried along by the current.

Now watch this Goals Setting PowerPoint from California Career Center to review what you've learned about goals:

After reviewing the PowerPoint, please watch the Setting Goals video below to learn about S.M.A.R.T. goals:

As you learned in the video, S.M.A.R.T. goals have to be practical and do-able.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals are:


  • What exactly will you do?

Example: I want to learn to speak Spanish.


  • How will you know if you meet your goal?

Example: I'll know when I can speak to native Spanish-speakers, and they'll understand me!


  • Is the goal reasonable enough to be accomplished?

Example: Yes, a lot of people learn to speak another language.


  • What about your goal makes it important to you?

Example: It's important because I have a lot of Spanish-speaking friends, and I might someday get a job where it's required.

  • Is accomplishing the goal within your abilities or something you can do with some support?

Example: I will need some help. My parents can help me find a good teacher or an online course.


  • When do you want to complete your goal?

It will probably take at least 2 years of study to speak really well.

When you are ready to set some goals for yourself, move on to the Got It? page, where'll you start planning your awesome future!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.