Setting SMART Goals - Capital University Law School

Setting SMART Goals

  • Part of planning is setting goals. First-year goals should fall into two categories: academic and professional. Academic goals focus on success in school and can focus on study habits, time management, and class preparation.

    When setting goals, make them S.M.A.R.T. Goals. George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham in an article titled, "There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives," outlined five key guidelines to be used when defining an employee's goals (Management Review, Nov 1981, Volume 70 Issue 11). Slightly modified for career and professional development, the following five guidelines can be used in defining your SMART career and professional goals.

    • SPECIFIC - Define a specific target. Use who, what, when, where, why, and which to help you. 
    • MEASURABLE - Define how you will measure success or failure.
    • ATTAINABLE - Make the target realistic, practical.
    • RELEVANT - Keep the target relevant to you and your success.
    • TIME-BOUND - Set a time frame in which to meet the target.

    Career and professional development goals may include scheduling informational interviews, exploring career paths or practice areas, updating a resume, etc. Make your goals meaningful.