1. Welcome the participants and explain that today you will work together with the participants on setting clear and SMART life goals.
2. Start the activity by saying:
“A goal is a specific, intended result of an action. Setting goals is a way to focus your attention on what you want to achieve in the future.
An example of a life goal is: “I want to go to university and get a Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering.” Stating what degree you want to do, rather than just stating you want to go to university, helps to motivate you and gives you direction on where you are going with your life.”
3. Give everyone paper and pens, and ask them to spend the next few minutes thinking about where they see themselves in five years time. They can either make a drawing of what they would like their life to look like, or write things down.
4. After about ten minutes, ask for volunteers to share their drawings or what they wrote with the big group.
5. Now explain that a useful way of making goals is to use the SMART principle of setting goals. SMART stands for:
S - Specific
A - Attainable
R - Realistic
T - Time-bound
Use the example of wanting to go to university to get a degree in mechanical engineering. This could be turned into a SMART goal by adding details to it, for example:
“I want to go to the local university next September to begin a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. This is a four-year degree, and I know I can apply for a scholarship from the university to go. I have the right number of points to get into this degree.”
It is specific because the person knows where he or she wants to go and what they want to study.
It is measureable because the outcome of the goal will be the achieved degree.
It is attainable because the person knows he or she can apply for funding.
It is realistic because it is a local and available option and the person has the points needed to get in.
It is time-bound because it is planned for September next year, and the person knows it is a four-year degree.
6. Explain that making SMART goals helps to make them realistic and specific, and helps in identifying the steps to achieve the set goals.
7. Ask the participants to review their drawings or lists of goals, and assess if they are SMART. Ask them to think of what steps they need to achieve their goals and dreams.
8. Tell them to make a list of all these steps, with the achievement of the specific goal(s) as the final step.
9. Again ask for volunteers to share what their goals are, but this time focus specifically on what they need to do to achieve the goals, and assess whether or not their goals are SMART.
10. When they have all finished sharing their goals, ask the participants to describe how it feels to make specific goals like this.
11. End the activity by thanking the participants for their contributions, and remind them that having goals is a good way of motivating progress and growth in life. Encourage them to keep their goals in mind all the time, even if they have to adjust them along the way. Having goals for the future can help a person stay hopeful and positive, even in the face of challenges.