SMART goals to boost your English

By 24 September 2018 Video lessons 6 Comments
English Learning SMART goals

Hi there! I’m your English coach Christina, welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll learn American culture and business know-how to become confident in English.

Procrastination is a terrible thing. You have all these ambitions, all these ideas, and yet you never seem to fully achieve any of them.

To become fluent in English, you can’t rely on motivation alone, it always fades at some point! How can you change this? Is there a way to get the most out of your time? Don’t worry, I’m here to help you!

SMART goals

SMART Goals are a powerful tool to achieve what you really want to do–become fluent in English, for example!

They were formalized in 1981 by American researcher G. T. Doran, so maybe you’ve already heard of SMART goals.

In English, “smart” means intelligent, but here it’s also an acronym. Each letter stands for an adjective: SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

Let’s see what it means, with an example.

Specific & Measurable

So you want to become fluent in American English. It seems like a giant task! There’s so much to do!  So you don’t do anything, or you think you’ll start “tomorrow”. And then you never improve.

What’s a better English learning goal to aim for? Well, let’s start with something specific. Instead of “becoming fluent,” why not try “Understand my Indian colleague better when he gives me a status report on our current project” ? That’s smaller, and more specific.

English Learning Goal example

Now you have to find a way to measure it. In real life, if you don’t measure something, you’ll never get better at it. In English we have a saying: “What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get improved.”

If you want, you can even make a spreadsheet to measure your progress! In our example–understanding your Indian colleague better–you can try to track the number of times you ask them to repeat something you didn’t understand. Or simply the number of times you felt you didn’t understand a word.  Also note what you can do to understand better next time, and try that strategy. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you’re happy with your progress.

Really, you could stop at this stage. Once you’re measuring something, it’s often enough to give you the motivation to get better naturally. That’s the core of game-ification, after all.

But the SMART framework has more tips for you still.

A, R, T: Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound

Make your goal achievable: it means you have a plan to improve, there are actual steps you can make to get better. For instance, you could start listening to recordings of Indian accents everyday.

Or you could look up the vocabulary typically used in a status report ahead of time. Or you can even set up daily calls to your Indian colleague to get short, regular practice.

For a realistic goal, now, it’s quite simple in theory. Just set a simple goal you know you will achieve. As a rule: lower your expectations, at least in the beginning. There will always be something that comes up unexpectedly, and you have to account for that. It’s important!

If you fail on your goal, or on several goals in a row, you’ll lose all motivation. So be realistic! You can adjust your expectations as you learn more about what is realistic.

Finally, time-bound means that you need to give yourself a clear deadline to achieve your goals. It ties up to being measurable: if you can always delay your progress until tomorrow, then you’ll never actually do anything.

Create a deadline for yourself. Put it in your calendar. Even ask a friend to hold you accountable and to check your progress. A deadline is a powerful motivator.

Trust the system

SMART goals are a useful framework. Don’t try to cheat, don’t try to change it with your own rules, just trust the system!

Following the system makes it easier for you, and you can give yourself little goals you can reach without getting lost or overwhelmed by everything you feel you need to do to progress in English.

So remember: set up Specific goals you can Measure, with an Achievable plan and Realistic expectations, under a Time-Bound deadline. And now you’re ready to take on the world!

Achieving things will get you on a virtuous spiral and give you tons of motivation!

This week’s episode will help you get excited to achieve remarkable things!

Now tell me…

Which SMART goal are you going to set up for yourself this week?

Tell me in the comments below!

Don’t lose professional opportunities because of your English. Get my insider tips and interview secrets to get the job at your next interview.

Just click the image below! And of course subscribe to my channel, so you get a new English lesson each week! Thanks for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!

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