Students Speak: Goal Setting

Students Speak: Goal Setting

Learning how to set goals is critically important for students both in school and in life. But setting a goal is just one part of the process. Students need to consider other elements: Is the goal achievable? What are the steps? How can you monitor progress towards the goal? Unit 2 of the SMARTS curriculum is dedicated to goal setting. In this unit, students learn what makes a good goal and how to craft personalized CANDO goals that emerge based on self-reflection.  

What do students think about goal setting? Throughout ResearchILD’s Student Ambassador Program this past fall, students were encouraged to collectively think about their thinking and how executive function processes impact their day-to-day experiences in school and at home. Here are some of their ideas about goal setting:

What does goal setting mean to you?

  • “Goal setting means setting up and following through on something that has great importance.”
  • “Planning for something you want to achieve in the future.”
  • “Goal setting means to design an endgame before you begin a project/assignment.”
  • “Goal setting is formulating a goal and discovering ways to accomplish said goal.”
  • “Goal setting is picking something you can do that will help you improve.”

Why is it important to set goals?

  • “It is important to set a goal because it is a way to stay prioritized in your daily life.”
  • “To set expectations for yourself.”
  • “So that you will not get overwhelmed.”
  • “It is important to set goals because it allows you to accomplish them.”
  • “To achieve personal growth.”

What is one way that you set goals for yourself?

  • “I write about where I want to travel.”
  • “I think more of my goals are internal and long-term.”
  • “I set goals for myself by A: Figuring out what I want to do, B: What my endgame is, C: Structure my path in a way that will guarantee that I will achieve it.” 
  • “Using a planner to keep track of my work for the week.”

For tips and tricks to help your students refine their goal-setting skills, check out these SMARTS resources:


  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development: