Goals provide a sense of direction. How we choose to outline our goal, guides us on our journey towards the desired destination. A common mistake is creating a goal for oneself, which is vague or unrealistic. The direction in which our goals take us, depends on whether the goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART). 

Teaching our children, the importance of goal setting is common practice, but oftentimes, we forget to teach them how to set goals. I had a student who wanted to gain 30 lbs. of muscle to perform better in his sport. He said, “Last year, I set a goal that I would gain 30 lbs. of muscle. It’s been 10 months and I already know that I’ll fail.” I asked him, “How many pounds of muscle have you gained?” He said, “7 lbs.” I then asked him, “Do you think gaining 30 lbs. of muscle in one year, is realistic?” He answered, “I didn’t think about that.” Creating a goal that is unrealistic, is automatically setting oneself up for failure. Below, you will see an example of how he might alter his goal to make it SMART. If you’re interested in integrating this into your curriculum, you can find free SMART goal worksheets that can be easily accessed online! 

Specific: What do you want to do? I want to gain 2 additional lbs. of muscle.

Measurable: How will you know when you’ve reached it? I will have gained a total of 9 lbs. of muscle.

Achievable: Is it in your power to accomplish it? Yes. I have a gym in my parent’s basement and access to the proper nutritional diet. 

Realistic: Can you realistically achieve it? Yes. I have already gained 7 lbs. of muscle. If I continue to lift weights and increase my protein intake, this should be realistic for me.

Timely: When do you want to accomplish this goal? In two months (end of July).

SMART Goal: By the end of July, I will have gained a total of 9 lbs. of muscle. I will do this by lifting weights 5 days a week and eating a balanced diet, that is high in protein intake.