· Consider how you will continue to enhance your leadership behaviors after the course.
· Post an end-of-course assessment of your strengths and areas for improvement. Reflecting back on this course and using the literature, develop two SMART goals that you could implement to enhance your leadership behaviors and skills.
Developing SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym to help with realistic goal-setting. Use it as a tool to develop goals for yourself—
they could be goals for your career, your studies at Walden, or even your personal life.
This resource includes the SMART goal criteria, example goals, and a template for you to develop your
own academic, professional, and personal SMART goals.
SMART Goal Criteria
S is for specific.
The more specificity you bring to your goal, the clearer it is.
• Vague goal: “I want to advance in my company.” How exactly would you like to advance—in
terms of money or title? What position would you like to hold?
• More specific goal: “I want to advance to the position of senior sales manager.”
M is for measurable.
You must be able to track your progress toward the goal and understand when you have attained it.
Measurability allows for that.
• Not measurable: “Get better at public speaking.”
• Measurable and specific: “Give one class lecture without stuttering.” If you do not stutter during
the class, you know you have achieved the goal.
A is for achievable or attainable.
One tendency with goal setting is to aim too high, but that approach can set goals beyond our reach.
• Likely not achievable: “Earn my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree within 1 year of starting.”
This goal is not feasible due to workload and the established timeline of the program. Likewise,
“Become an executive chef in a three-star restaurant within 2 years” is not likely to happen if
you are currently a dishwasher with no culinary training. So… be conservative when
determining what is actually achievable.
R is for relevant.
This criterion ensures that the goal is important to you right now, at this point in your life.
• For instance, if your goal is “Start my own home health care business by the end of the year,”
consider what else is going on in your life. What other goals are you working toward? How
does this goal help or hinder those? Perhaps you have just bought a house, which has reduced
your finances; it might not make sense to invest in a business at this point as well.
T is for timely or time-bound.
Every goal must include a deadline or timeframe. Otherwise, why would you ever start it? The
procrastinator in you might just keep waiting and waiting and never take action.
• When determining an appropriate goal timeframe, ask yourself how long you need to
realistically complete the goal. This date gives you the end point, but it should also spark a
desire to achieve mini-goals along the way to attaining the larger goal.
The key to an effective goal is to combine all of these criteria, so that your goal is specific, measurable,
achievable, relevant, and timely altogether. Let’s look at two examples to see if they fit all of the
Example Goal 1
By a PhD in Public Health student: To improve my grammar, I will complete the Sentence Structure
Basics and Verbs modules in the Writing Center with a 90% score within 6 months.
• Is it specific? Yes. The student includes the names of the modules and where to find them,
rather than just “modules.”
• Is it measurable? Yes. The student needs to receive a certain score.
• Is it achievable? Yes. The student has given herself adequate time, and she is not expecting
perfection. She is giving herself some leeway in the score.
• Is it relevant? Yes. The student is working toward a PhD in Public Health degree, and she will
eventually write a dissertation. For a dissertation, proper grammar is especially important,
making the goal relevant to the student’s situation.
• Is it timely? Yes. The student has attached a timeframe of 6 months to this goal.
Example Goal 2
By an MS in Education student who is also a middle-school teacher: I will attend two professional
• Is it specific? No. The student has listed professional development workshops in general but
not which ones.
• Is it measurable? Yes. The student has indicated two workshops. When two have been
attended, she knows the goal is completed.
• Is it achievable? Yes. It is reasonable that the student has access to professional
development workshops as a teacher.
• Is it relevant? Sort of. Professional development is certainly relevant to the teaching
occupation, but without specificity, the relevance is unclear.
• Is it timely? No. There is no deadline or timing information within the goal to indicate when it
should take place.