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WFAA Academy: Start SMART when setting goals

Goal setting instills a growth mindset in students. There are five things to remember to make sure students can achieve their goals.

DALLAS — Milestones such as the start of a school year are the perfect time to start setting goals.

Keshunia Johnson, the Counseling Services Coordinator for Dallas ISD, shared strategies for helping students make, keep, and achieve their goals.

Why is it important to set goals?

Goal setting instills a growth mindset in students. When students believe they can achieve a goal through persistence and hard work, they learn to be resilient and that overcoming small failures can lead to larger successes, Johnson said.

What's the best first step to setting a goal?

Write it down. There's scientific proof that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. 

After writing down the goal, turn it into a SMART goal, Johnson said.

SMART stands for:


For example, if your goal is "I want to eat healthy," a SMART version could be, "Starting next week, I will bring a lunch to work from home (that I prepared myself) four days a week for the rest of the school year."

Johnson recommends five strategies for students when setting goals.

  1. Write clear and measurable goals.
  2. Create a specific action plan for each goal.
  3. Read your goals daily and visualize yourself accomplishing them.
  4. Reflect on your progress to see if you are on target.
  5. Revise your action plans, if needed.

Johnson has a motivational reminder for anyone looking to set a goal: "Remember, a goal is just a dream with an action plan."

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