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Setting SMART IB Study Goals

Written By Angela N.

SETTING GOALS

S.M.A.R.T. Goals: why bother?
According to Zig Zigla, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, ‘If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.’ https://rediscoveryofme.com/quotes-zig-ziglar/.

IB education is designed to help you maximize your potential. It is challenging enough to stretch you without breaking you. But how do you make sure that you benefit the most from this rigorous and sometimes daunting program?
One sure way is by being clear about where you want to go in your academic journey and how to get there. To efficiently monitor and improve your performance in the IB program, you need to be clear on where you are going. It is therefore paramount that right from the start, you set SMART goals for the two-year period.

What are SMART goals?

S.M.A.R.T. goals are characterized by being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.

Specific: means the goals should be articulated with simplicity and clarity. They are practical and express what you are going to do. They must explicitly outline the What, Why, and How of your S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Measurable: simply means that on reaching your desired target, you should be able to quantify your achievement using tangible evidence.

Achievable: suggests that goals should be expressed in a feasible manner: if they are unattainable, instead of challenging you to higher standards, they might discourage your efforts. To achieve your goals, you will need to develop the relevant knowledge, skills, and aptitudes. This is best accomplished through meticulous planning of each step and establishing a realistic timeframe within which you can carry out those steps. Breaking your goals into small manageable steps allows you to achieve what may have seemed impossible when you started. Many students set unmanageable goals and soon get demoralized: keep them reachable if you wish to remain inspired.

Results-focused: Results need to be visible. What will success look like when you have finally achieved it? Can you describe it? You need tangible evidence of your achievement.

Time-bound: Specific timeframes create a practical sense of urgency. Only when you experience the disparity between your existing situation and your desired dream will you be spurred into action.

When you set S.M.A.R.T. goals, they drive you to attain your personal dreams, which translates into academic achievement. The goals also permit accountability between teachers and students so that all parties involved are of one mind in preparing for formative and summative evaluations.
Below are some questions to ask as you generate your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Be precise in writing each goal. Then respond to the related questions. Review your goal for sharper focus.

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S.M.A.R.T. Goal: asking the right questions

After articulating your goal for a specific subject or topic, proceed by asking the following questions:
1. Specific. What is the desired achievement? How and why will it be accomplished? You need a good reason to follow through the process.

2. Measurable. How will you ascertain your level of success? What specific indicators will you use?

3. Achievable. Are you likely to accomplish what you set out to achieve? Do you know other individuals who have done it successfully? Are there specific competencies, talents, and supplies you need to help you along? Does the objective stretch without breaking you?

4. Results-focused. What is your motivation for accomplishing the goal? What value or advantage does it give you? What is the outcome of the goal?

5. Time-bound. Have you set up a time-frame by which you should accomplish your plans?

If you set SMART educational goals right from the start of your academic journey, you are likely to reach your potential. Start today by evaluating the skills, competencies and qualities that you should possess upon completion of your IB Diploma course. Then come up with small manageable steps you will make consistently to achieve your objectives.

Maintain a growth mindset and stay motivated: this will keep you resilient and optimistic when failure, obstacles, anxieties and doubts come your way. Celebrate yourself regularly! Even the smallest step along the way is evidence of steady and continuous development, which brings you closer to your goal.

Work smart; play hard!

As you diligently and consistently strive to accomplish your goals, set time aside to relax. This helps you gain renewed focus, provides fresh perspectives and keeps you motivated. Be reflective, and practice self-care to maintain balance in your life. After all, the IB Learner Profile among other attributes, requires you to be both reflective and balanced!

As I close, I would like to share one of my favourite quotations by Tony Robbins, the famous American author, coach, speaker, and philanthropist who said, ‘Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible…’ https://www.tonyrobbins.com/tony-robbins-quotes/#. Good luck in your journey!

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