The new year inspires people to leave behind old bad habits and instill new positive ones. One way your child can do this is by setting SMART goals — strong, detailed goals that will help them achieve their future plans and more. Here, students and families will learn more about setting New Year’s goals, as well as different ideas on the types of goals you can set.
Setting Goals for the New Year
Goal setting involves identifying something you want to achieve, then establishing steps and objectives to help you achieve that thing. It’s crucial for students to set goals because without them, it’s much harder to progress through life. When setting goals, like making it to graduation, students can push themselves to reach their fullest potential.
Students might already have certain goals, such as getting a passing grade on a challenging exam or completing their schoolwork before a certain time every day. Both of these examples are good goals, and you can help your student strengthen these ideas by transforming them into SMART goals and writing them down in a planner.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This format increases your child’s chances of achieving their goals by encouraging them to think about every important factor. Let’s dive deeper into each factor:
- Specific: Each SMART goal should be specific and clear. Otherwise, it can become too vague and difficult to achieve. One way to set specific goals is by answering what, why, who, where, and which questions. For example, your student may say, “I want to study so I can perform better on my exam.”
- Measurable: Keep goals trackable by including measurable numbers. Continuing our example, think about things like how long your child wants to study or how many chapters to study at one time.
- Achievable: Avoid setting goals that aren’t achievable. Consider factors like time — students can’t dedicate 10 hours to studying every day. Rather, think about what’s achievable, like spending 30 minutes studying for each class every day.
- Relevant: Make sure your goals are meaningful to your child. A good place to start is by establishing a long-term goal — like graduating — and setting multiple short-term goals to get your student to that point. In our example, studying will help your child perform better on exams, which will get them the grades necessary for graduating high school.
- Time-bound: Establish a target date to keep pushing your child towards their goals. Short-term goals can be completed in a few weeks or months, while long-term goals take a few years. Finishing our example, a time-bound goal is to start studying three weeks before an exam, with the finish line being the day of the exam.
How Can Students Track Their Goals?
Keep your child’s SMART goals in a specific place, like a planner. Planners are productivity tools that allow you to write down and organize meaningful information for future reference. There are many different types of goal planners — find a planner that works with your child’s workflow and personal style. That way, your student is more likely to continue using their planner and actively track their SMART goal progress.
New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Student Success
Consider some of these New Year’s resolutions for students to brainstorm and establish goals:
1. Browse Internship or Part-Time Job Opportunities
For older students, internships or part-time job opportunities are great things to consider when setting goals. Both act as a bridge between the educational world and the workforce, providing students with real-life experience in a field of their interest. Many professionals recommend students start building their resumes now to stand out later when applying to colleges and full-time jobs.
Applying to internships and part-time jobs is becoming easier, too. Of approximately 300 U.S. employers surveyed, over half say they’re currently accepting high school students’ applications or plan to do soon. Furthermore, 89% of employers say high school students with internships or part-time jobs will have a competitive advantage against other students who don’t.
An example of a SMART goal related to internships or part-time job opportunities is, “Within the next two months, I will apply to 5 internships or part-time job opportunities to achieve a position for the upcoming summer months.”
2. Balance Academics and Extracurriculars
Extracurriculars are also great ways to build professional experience. They include any beneficial activity performed outside of regular classes, which doesn’t necessarily have to be within the school. For example, students can be a part of their school’s sports teams or clubs, or they can volunteer at a local organization.
The crucial skill to learn when partaking in extracurriculars is balancing them with academics. It’s recommended to fully engage with one to three extracurricular activities to stand out on resumes and college applications. Time spent on each extracurricular activity varies anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours a week. So, where do students squeeze in the hours for schoolwork and studying?
Academics should always come before extracurricular activities. Some examples of ways your child can balance both worlds are by setting SMART goals like, “I will spend one hour completing my classwork and 30 minutes studying before practicing my instrument for 45 minutes,” or, “I will schedule three one-hour study sessions with a study group per week to help me prioritize my academics.”
3. Encourage Students to Reward Themselves for Completing Your Goals
Remember, a large part of your child’s success involves taking care of their health and well-being. After all, they can’t perform their best if you feel like they’re drowning in work or setting standards too high. Set aside time to reward your child for achieving other performance-based goals. By rewarding them for completing their goals, you can cultivate student excitement for obtaining their goals and provide the satisfaction of rewards like:
- Added relaxation time
- Socialization time during the weekends
- A new article of clothing
- A new video game
An example of a SMART goal you can set with your student to help balance their well-being with academic goals is, “For every goal I achieve, I will buy myself one new video game and allow myself time on the weekends to play it.”
Breaking Bad Habits
To help your child identify SMART goals, think about some common bad habits. What’s preventing them from reaching 100% output? Maybe it’s spending too much time on their phone when they should be studying, or forgetting to do an assignment because they forgot to write it down in their planner. These things happen — however, it’s a good idea to set SMART goals to proactively prevent them.
CCA Personalized Learning for Student Success
Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) is a cyber charter school that serves grades K-12 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We’re dedicated to each of our students, providing individuals the academic support they need to become the leaders of tomorrow and contribute to society’s betterment.
Our personalized curriculum allows students to choose unique learning options to set them up for success. We work with students to help them establish SMART goals, as well as empower them to learn goal-building skills throughout their education. That way, our students will see the most success during and after their time spent with us.
Learn more about CCA by contacting us online. We’ll send you everything you need to know about CCA so you know it is the right fit for your family.