Setting a ‘Smart Goal’ when learning online

Smart is mainly an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. - File picSmart is mainly an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. – File pic

LETTERS: It has always been a great challenge making the kids focus while learning via online classes necessitated by the post-Covid-19 exigencies. There are a 101 causes of distractions at home.

Talking it out during one of the usual family discussions has greatly helped out in making the kids see the need for a “Smart goal” added to that is occasional rewards for accomplishing great tasks.

The kids always long for family discussion because everyone is heard and they also get to contribute and express feelings during the discussion. Smart is mainly an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

Incorporating all of these criteria while setting goals would greatly help to focus and direct or redirect all efforts, thus, increasing the chances of achieving the desired goal. Admittedly, it is not an easy task to carry the kids along.

With sincere empathy and persuasion, however, they would naturally tag along, though kids would always be kids. Setting goals have always been part of every aspect of life, teaching, research and business.

It does not only provide a sense of motivation and direction but also helps to clarify importance, get a clear focus or target to aim for.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) says: “… strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless…” (Sahih Muslim)

Even if the desired goal is not achieved despite putting up the right effort, you would surely feel a sense of fulfillment.

“As for those who struggle in Our cause, We will surely guide them along Our Way. And Allah is certainly with the good-doers.” (Quran 29 Vs 69)

About the first Smart Goal: Specific. It must be crystal clear, unambiguous and easily understandable. Thus, it is well defined and you know exactly who is involved, what you want to accomplish, where it would be achieved, when and why it should be achieved. Goals that are made specific have a greater chance of being comprehensively accomplished.

Second, a measurable Smart goal is obtainable, easily trackable. Its progress can be easily monitored through prior set criteria or indicators, and you are pretty sure when it is achieved or completed.

Third, an achievable Smart goal is attainable and can be completed within the scheduled conditions and time using the available resources and capabilities. Being achievable helps you to figure out how to maximise the available resources or get the needed resources to realise it and what to be specifically done.

Fourth, a realistic Smart goal is that which you strongly believe can be accomplished and you can provide or get the required and sufficient resources, knowledge, skills and time to achieve it. On the other hand, a relevant Smart goal meets the needs and requirements of the overall aims/objectives or your life purpose.

Fifth, a timely Smart goal is time-bound. You can set a specific time within which its outcome should be achieved. The time should be enough and also not too much to achieve the goal. The start and finish date must be specifically defined. A Smart goal that is time-constrained gives you a sense of urgency and more motivation.

So, as the new academic or calendar year rolls out, set out your plans and organise them around your priorities. Begin with the end in mind and with a sense of direction. And start with first things first. Decide on a Smart goal for your spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health. Schedule and organise the main goals into monthly, weekly and daily tasks.

For instance, draft some key performance indices. How many relevant journals or books can you read weekly and discuss with friends and family? How and what do you want to contribute to your community development, both as an individual and with others? How do you want to monitor your overall health and lifestyle?

Keep doing this over and over. Surmount the courage. Encourage others around you. Be gentle to yourself and reward yourself, endlessly.

by Dr Idris Adewale Ahmed

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