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7. SMART goals

Sometimes a job will require you to have certain qualifications and experience that you haven’t yet got. This part of the course introduces “smart goals” which can you can use for many things, including getting the qualification and experience you need, and applying for the job you want.

A football pitch with no goal posts
Imagine a game of football without goal posts or a time limit…
The players wouldn’t know what to do!

What is a goal and why set one?

Goals aren’t just for football! A goal is a particular thing that you want to achieve. It might be passing a qualification, gaining experience, putting in an application, re-organising child-care…

Goals help us to focus our efforts. Imagine a game of football without any goal posts - the players wouldn’t know what to do!

“SMART” goals.

What “SMART” stands for

Specific You’ll know when you have achieved your goal.
Measurable You’ll know how successful you’ve been.
Agreed A friend or support worker knows what you want to do, and how soon you aim to do it.
Realistic Your goal is possible; other people have done it and so can you!
Timed You’ve decided how much time you’re going to spend on achieving this thing.

Let’s use the football example again to demonstrate SMART goals:

An example of a SMART goal.

Each football team is trying to score more times than the other team. That’s a specific goal.
A football match is measurable: the team which has scored the most goals is the winner.
Each team (and their fans!) have agreed that they want to score more goals than the opposing team.
Football teams learn the rules and practice playing, so they will have a realistic chance of scoring the most and winning the game.
Football matches last for 90 minutes, so there is a limited time in which to keep trying. Imagine a football match that never ended!

SMART or not?

Exercise: Can you tell which of these goals are SMART, and which ones aren’t?

This exercise requires Javascript to be enabled.
This exercise requires Javascript to be enabled.
This exercise requires Javascript to be enabled.
This exercise requires Javascript to be enabled.
This exercise requires Javascript to be enabled.

Setting SMART goals for yourself is not just helping you find out what you want, but can also help you get where you want. Think of yourself as an explorer, trying to discover a new land. You are not just wandering across a desert; you are going towards your goal, towards the land you KNOW is on the other side of the mountain. The going is hard, but what keeps you going is the belief that you will get there.

Instant success

Many of the people who appear to achieve instant success have actually spent their life practising and learning and working towards reaching their goal. People like chat show host Oprah Winfrey, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Amstrad boss and The Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar all started small. They made their own luck by keeping focussed on their goals and making the most of the contacts and opportunities they found. Read about some of our successful single parents.

Next: 8. Setting goals for youBack: 6. Is this the job for you?

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