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In the domain of skill development, few tools are as versatile and impactful as SMART Goals. This structured approach to goal setting has the power to transform individuals, particularly STEM students and professionals, by fostering three crucial skills: self-management, purposefulness, and perseverance. The BE-21-SKILLED project is aware of the advantages that could result from including these abilities in STEM programs. In this article, we'll examine how SMART Goals act as the link connecting these crucial characteristics.

SMART Goals for self-management

Self-management skills require individuals to act consciously and responsibly, accept feedback, adapt to change, and seek opportunities for personal and professional growth. This alternatively comprises traits like self-discipline and a professional attitude (Līce, et al., 2023). SMART Goals provide the blueprint for self-management by:

Setting priorities: SMART Goals help individuals increase their ability to set realistic and meaningful goals. This process inherently promotes prioritization.

Time management: By defining specific and time-bound goals, individuals improve their understanding of the importance of prioritization and time management.

Planning and organization: SMART Goals require detailed planning and organization to achieve desired outcomes. This cultivates planning and organization skills.

Self-discipline: Pursuing SMART Goals instills self-discipline and self-motivation, important components of effective self-management.

SMART Goals for purposefulness

Purposefulness refers to “the quality of having a sense of direction and a strong motivation to achieve a specific outcome” (Līce, et al., 2023, p. 30). SMART Goals guide individuals toward purposefulness:

Defining aspirations: SMART Goals encourage individuals to define specific and meaningful goals. This process helps clarify one's aspirations.

Actionable plans: To achieve SMART Goals, individuals must develop actionable plans, aligning their objectives with their larger purpose.

Time management: Effective goal setting through SMART Goals cultivates time management skills, allowing individuals to make efficient use of their time.

Resilience and growth mindset: The process of setting and pursuing SMART Goals fosters a growth mindset and resilience, as individuals learn to adapt and persist in the face of challenges.

SMART Goals for perseverance

perseverance highlights the capacity to store energy over the long term, conquer obstacles, and maintain a solid commitment to reaching goals (Griban et al., 2020, as cited in Līce et al., 2023). SMART Goals are instrumental in cultivating perseverance:

Specific goals: SMART Goals, by their nature, involve specific objectives. This specificity helps individuals focus on their goals and maintain determination.

Measuring progress: SMART Goals emphasize the importance of measuring progress, which enhances an individual's belief in their capacity to achieve their objectives.

Actionable steps: Breaking down SMART Goals into actionable steps promotes resilience and perseverance in pursuing these objectives.

Accountability: SMART Goals require individuals to take accountability for their personal goals, a practice that reinforces perseverance.

SMART Goals empower individuals to excel in self-management, purposefulness, and perseverance and the BE-21-SKILLED project aims at including those soft skills into STEM curricula. To learn more about the project and to access the tools, visit

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