Goal Setting for Moms Part 9:  How to Help Your Older Children Set SMART Goals

As a parent, you want your high schooler to succeed in all aspects of life—from the classroom to extracurricular activities. Helping your teen set realistic goals is one important way you can support them in their academic journey. Setting smart goals gives teens an opportunity to set measurable and achievable objectives while also providing a clear framework to strive towards success. Read on to learn how to help your teen set smart goals and get ahead in high school. 

Defining SMART Goals 
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. These five principles are the cornerstone of effective goal-setting and should be applied when helping your teen create their own objectives. Here’s what each principle means: 
•    Specific – Clear, detailed expectations that outline exactly what needs to be accomplished;   
•    Measurable – Objectives must have clear metrics so progress can be tracked;   
•    Achievable – Goals should be challenging but attainable;    
•    Relevant – Objectives should align with overall life goals;    
•    Timely – Deadlines provide focus and urgency for completing tasks. 
When helping your teen define SMART goals, encourage them to think specifically about their desired outcome as well as the steps they need to take along the way. For example, if your teen wants to get an A in their Math class this semester, they could create a goal like “I will study for math every day at 5pm for 30 minutes and complete my homework by Saturday evening each week." This type of goal is specific, measurable (grade), achievable (with enough effort), relevant (to getting an A in Math), and timely (completed before Saturday night). 

Creating Action Plans 
Once your teen has created their SMART goals, it’s time to establish an action plan! An action plan is simply a list of tasks or steps that need to be completed in order for your teen’s goals to be achieved. Encourage your teen to break down big projects into smaller tasks that are easier to manage—for example, “I will finish my math project by breaking it down into five separate parts that I can work on over five days." This type of action plan helps teens stay organized and on track while working towards their goals (and prevents procrastination). Furthermore, it allows them to measure their own progress throughout the process. 

Setting smart goals is one important way you can help motivate and empower your teenage children during high school. By using the SMART methodology—specifically outlining objectives that are measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely—you can give teens an opportunity to reach their highest potential while also providing them with structure along the way. Encourage them by teaching them how action plans help break down big projects into manageable tasks so they can measure progress towards success!
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