Character Chats

How do we set SMART goals?

How do we set SMART goals?

This month’s True Character word of the month is initiative. And initiative means, “I’m a self-starter.”

Now with it being the new year, we talk a lot about goal setting. And initiative is a really important part of setting goals. We’re going to talk about how we set a SMART goal here in class.

What is a SMART goal?

A S-M-A-R-T goal is something that is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time Bound

Those are SMART goals. And it takes initiative in order to set a goal. We’ve got to be that self-starter to get ourselves going towards something new.

Let’s define a little bit what that means.


First of all, we want our goals to have a specific statement, right?

We don’t ever want to say, “I want to get better at karate.” Our goal has to be something that you can actually point to.

How about “I’d like to get better at front kick”? When you set a goal like that you know what to work on, and when to celebrate.  

It has to be specific.


How do you know when you achieve your goal?

We need to know when it’s time to throw our party saying “yeah, we’ve gotten our goal!”

If we go with our previous example of “I could get better at front kick”, instead of just saying “I’d like to get better,” you could say “I want to get better at front kick. I kick this high now, and I’d like to kick that high.”

It’s something measurable.

That way, you actually know when to throw your ‘I achieved my goal’ party.


We want to make sure we set a goal we can actually achieve.

If we’re front kicking to our waist, a goal to our shoulder is achievable.

If I say “I want to get all the way up to the ceiling in a minute,” that’s probably not achievable, right?

We want to set goals that we can actually reach.


Let’s set a goal that means something to us.

If we’re here in karate class and we’re setting goals, we should set a goal that has something to do with karate, right?

Learning how to fly a plane is probably a good goal, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with earning your black belt.

Time Bound

The last one is time bound — when you need to get it by.

If you don’t set a time to it, it’s just a hope. If you set a time, it’s a promise.

So, we go to our front kick: “I’d like a better front kick. I want it about this much higher so I can earn my black belt. And I’m going to get that much higher kick by spring break.”

That’s how we set a SMART goal.

And we will see everybody on the mat.
-Master Helsdon