“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” —Thomas Edison

Goals are crucial to school’s success (and areas of life beyond the classroom).Setting and tracking goals helps your child learn important life skills such as planning, organization, and time management while also building communication skills, self-awareness, and confidence. Middle and high school are particularly important times for students to become consciously aware of and intentional about key choices: what they’re putting into their bodies; how the way they are spending their time helps them reach their larger purposes; who they’re spending their time with; and what they’re doing to contribute to their families, schools, and communities. Tracking also helps ensure that a given area is not neglected. When we see that things might have been neglected, we can make some adjustments. The main point of setting goals is to help students take realistic steps to achieve them. Many educators find that using the SMART format—goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—is practical and reasonable, and keeps students on track. Creating and tracking goals is a great way to understand your child’s current academic standing and allows you to focus on determining direction for the future. Students of classes IX-XII were asked to set their SMART goals and long-term goals with the help of teachers and their parents.

This exercise was done at the beginning of the school year and students in middle and high school also recorded in a journal their goals in these eight areas:

  • • Academics
  • • Social life
  • • Sports and exercise
  • • Healthy eating
  • • Family and community
  • • Hobbies and interests
  • • Screen time
  • • Long-term plans

Goal setting is fundamental to long-term success. After all, it’s difficult to get to a desired destination before you have clearly defined where that destination is. Goals help students to focus upon the journey to a collection of set achievements, meaning they allocate their resources and time more efficiently and can access motivation during times when they may feel like giving up. From an academic perspective, goals improve performance by ensuring Students remain accountable for their own failures and successes, propelling themselves forward through a selection of small achievements designed to break down a larger purpose. What’s more, setting and achieving goals translates to feelings of success and confidence for students, which in turn leads to greater confidence and productivity. As such, it can encourage students to develop critical thinking skills, new problem solving techniques, and a better understanding of how to overcome issues. What’s more, the accountability of goal setting encourages students to look back over their previous successes and failures, evaluating areas they need to improve. As such, it pushes them to tackle challenges head on and work on their weaknesses in order to produce better chances of overall success. It can also help Students to realize techniques that may not be working for them so they can seek out alternative routes to achievement.