Getting things done involves setting goals. Making a goal “SMART” is the first step in meeting it.


  • Life Skills
  • SMART Goals
  • Goal Setting
  • Decision Making


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the value of time.
  • Identify some specific steps to take to help work toward goals.
  • Create SMART goals.


  • Computer (with Internet access)
  • Video projector
  • SMART Goal Questionnaire and Examples, two copies per Explorer (see resources)


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.



Watch the following video (5 minutes):

[short URL:]


Questions for discussion:

  • What is the difference between a wish and a goal?
  • What did the narrator mean when she said, “Every problem has a solution?” How can that perspective help you set and achieve goals?
  • What is the difference between the questions, “What will you do” and “Who will you be?”


Say: One of the important things you can do when setting a goal is to be clear about what you want to accomplish. We are going to discuss a special way to come up with clear goals.


Give Explorers two copies each of the SMART Goal Questionnaire and Examples activity sheet. Explain what a SMART goal is, and give participants some examples of the S-M-A-R-T guidelines (see resources).


Jonathan’s SMART Goals

Share this story.

Jonathan, an eighth grader, wants to pursue a career in the field of sports medicine. After talking with adults in different areas of sports medicine, reading information in books and journals, and identifying his strengths and weaknesses, he has narrowed down his choice to physical therapy, perhaps even owning his own company someday. During the summer, he plans to volunteer at the physical therapy office close to his home. By the time he is ready to work part-time, he will have gained exposure to what the job might be like. Based on this, he has written goals that will guide his desire.


Tell the participants that they will use the story about Jonathan to practice writing SMART goals. Have them break into small groups to begin writing SMART goals for Jonathan. After a few minutes have them share their suggestions for the “S” goal, the “M” goal, the “A” goal, the “R” goal, and the “T” goal for Jonathan. Then discuss as a group and modify a set of SMART goals for Jonathan.


Personal SMART Goals

Next, tell Explorers they are going to do this again, but for a personal goal or dream. Tell them to envision something they dream about achieving or something they need to get done in the next week. Then take a few minutes to jot down some notes on a SMART goal to help accomplish that dream or task. Walk around and provide assistance as participants struggle with the process. They will need additional clarification or examples the first time they practice this method of writing goals.



  • Do you think writing your goal in the SMART format might help you accomplish your goal?
  • Can you think through your goal with these SMART elements in mind?


Say: Most businesses today use this SMART method for writing goals for the year. Now that you know how to do this, you will have an advantage over others who have never written a SMART goal. And you will probably accomplish more because you are clear about what you want to achieve and have thought through the steps you will take.

  • Do you think this is a good way to set a goal for yourself? Why?


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to the Post or your specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • What is the value of setting a goal?
  • What is the value of setting a SMART goal?

Analysis Questions

  • What is the greatest challenge you see in making SMART goals?
  • How can a SMART goal help you distinguish between a wish and a goal?

Generalization Questions

  • What sort of SMART goal might Jonathan make to help reach his goals?
  • How is a SMART goal part of creating a solution to the questions, “What will you do?” and “Who will you be?”
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