What is a SMART goal?

Goal setting is a helpful way to build your Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Sciences career. Setting objectives and creating a clear outline of how you are going to attain these targets can help you to use your time and resources effectively. When you set an objective for yourself, you will need to include each necessary step in order to successfully achieve the best result.

If you’re writing a Personal Learning Plan, you’ll be required to use the SMART goal format in the ‘Now what’ section. Let’s examine how SMART goals work, and consider the tips and examples that follow in the examples to help you set your goals.

S = Specific Make your goals specific and narrow so that you can easily and effectively start planning each goal.

M = Measurable Define what evidence you need, to show that you are making progress. You should be prepared to re-evaluate when it is necessary.

A = Achievable Make sure that you can reasonably achieve your goals within the timeframe that you have specified or been given.

R = Realistic Your goals should align with your personal values and your long term objectives.

T = Timely Make sure that you set a realistic end date so that you can successfully prioritise your tasks and set your motivation to complete them.

The example below shows how SMART goals can be expressed in a reflection. Note that SMART goals do not need to be written in ‘SMART’ order - the order can vary as the example demonstrates.

SMART Example

In order to improve my public speaking, I will practise my upcoming oral presentation with two of my peers, and will use their feedback to adjust my performance before my next tutorial. I will know my presentation has improved by examining my lecturer’s comments and mark against my first presentation in Semester 1.

Example

SMART goal

In order to improve my public speaking,

Specific: This goal is focused on improving one skill, oral communication.

I will practise my upcoming oral presentation with two of my peers,

Realistic: Practising with two people prior to presenting is a reasonable goal.

and will use their feedback to adjust my performance

Achievable: Using feedback to adjust your presentation skills, along with the act of practising itself in the time prior to the next session is achievable.

before my next tutorial.

Timely: Assuming the session is a week or two away, this goal has a realistic end date, as it’s confined to the immediate future, and has clearly laid out steps to meet the goal.

I will know my presentation has improved by examining my lecturer’s comments and mark against my first presentation in Semester 1.

Measurable: The goal includes a way of measuring progress: in this case, by comparing the lecturer’s comments between two presentations.

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