How to use SMART goals

What are SMART goals?

Depending on what you’re studying, you may have heard the term ‘SMART goal’ a few times (it’s typically a marketing term)… But really, it’s a pretty cool concept for anyone to keep in the back of their mind when trying to set a target.

A SMART goal is a “tool” or a target used to help guide your goal setting over a certain period of time. These goals should be thought through and consider the following Acronym:


  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

These five magical characteristics can help ensure your goal can be reached!

Why are SMART goals so important?

When you use these characteristics against your goal, you’re increasing the odds for success – with accountability! You’re saying you can do ‘X’ and measure it in ‘X’ ways by ‘X’ time.

A few ways they can help you

  • By setting clear intentions
  • Provide you with a framework for success, especially if you’re setting benchmarks
  • Gives you sensible objectives (achievable and realistic goals)
  • Focus on the important work – and cut out anything unnecessary work
  • Set a clear start and end, which adds to accountability

Watch this video for a few student SMART goals!

So, do they really work?

Yep. IF you’re setting and following the method correctly!

If you’re setting unrealistic goals and trying to measure what you’re doing without any consideration of what’s been displayed, measured, or completed before, with lots of different variables or different time frames – you might not get there!

SMART goals work when followed properly (this might take practice) but you really need to consider the motive for the goal and the sequence in how you attack the goal!

If you need help setting SMART goals, perhaps you should get in touch with PASS@UNE.

PASS@UNE is an academic assistance program facilitated by students, which targets traditionally difficult units. If you want to chat with the team you can contact them here.