13 SMART Goals Examples for Executive Functioning

Executive functioning skills are essential for individuals to effectively manage their daily tasks and responsibilities. These include planning, organization, problem solving, and time management.

Unfortunately, some people may struggle with these enhancing skills. One method to improve executive functioning is by utilizing the SMART framework.

Here, we have compiled 13 SMART goals examples for executive functioning. Incorporating these goals will help your student or child strengthen their executive functioning capabilities.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART goal-setting system can be an effective method for improving executive functioning in students.

Let’s explore each element of SMART goals in more detail:

Specific

Specificity is crucial when establishing goals for executive functioning. Well-defined goals provide direction and make them easier to achieve than vague, challenging goals.

For example, if you aim to improve your student’s reading comprehension, a precise goal could be: “Boost reading fluency by 20 words per minute in 6 months.” The student will have enough detail on what needs to be done.

Measurable

Measurable goals are essential because they allow for tracking progress. When setting a goal related to executive functioning, ensure that it includes quantifiable criteria. That makes it easier for students to succeed in their personal and academic development.

Attainable

When creating goals for executive functioning, one must consider their current abilities and strengths. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and disappointment. By focusing on targets that align with the student’s existing skill sets, success becomes more certain.

Relevant

Concentrating on goals that resonate with your core values and interests provides motivation and determination to overcome challenges.

Reflect on questions like: What do I value most? What brings me joy? Understanding your personal values helps you pursue truly meaningful goals.

Time-Based

A solid time frame will enable your student or child to prioritize tasks more effectively. By managing time and minimizing distractions, they will finally be able to maintain focus on reaching their executive functioning goals.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Executive Functioning

Here are some examples of SMART goals for executive functioning:

1. Enhance Working Memory

“I aim to increase students’ memory capacity by 10% within the next four months. To do this, I’ll encourage them to practice memory-enhancing exercises for 15 minutes daily, such as dual n-back, and track their progress in a journal.”

Specific: The goal is explicit since it involves practicing exercises to enhance working memory.

Measurable: You can gauge progress by tracking how much time the student dedicates daily.

Attainable: This certain statement is feasible with consistent daily practice.

Relevant: Enhancing working memory is an essential aspect of executive functioning.

Time-based: Goal attainment is expected over the four months ahead.

2. Strengthen Time Management Skills

“Over the two months ahead, I will strengthen my student’s time management skills by pushing them to use a digital calendar on a regular basis. I hope they will be on track to reducing procrastination and completing tasks on time.”

Specific: The SMART goal is clear, stating the methods to improve time management skills.

Measurable: Progress can be assessed by reduced procrastination and timely task completion.

Attainable: Anyone can accomplish this statement with the proper technique and prioritization.

Relevant: Time management skills are crucial for better executive functioning.

Time-based: Your students should anticipate success after two whole months.

3. Develop Problem-Solving Techniques

“I strive to help students become more efficient at solving complicated problems within 6 weeks. I will implement activities such as puzzle-solving and brainstorming to accomplish this goal.”

Specific: You’ll create puzzle-solving and brainstorming activities to promote problem solving for students.

Measurable: You can evaluate increased efficiency in solving complex problems over time.

Attainable: This is possible by freeing time to develop activities to help your student become a better problem solver.

Relevant: A crucial part of executive functioning is improving problem-solving abilities.

Time-based: There is a 6-week end date for goal completion.

4. Increase Organizational Skills

“I want to help students develop an organized filing system with labels and folders for all relevant assignments by the end of this month. That will allow them to find paperwork faster and more accurately while improving their organizational skills.”

Specific: The goal states the objective, what will be done to achieve it, and the timeline.

Measurable: You could count the number of students completing a filing system.

Attainable: This is doable since students can be taught how to create an organized system in a month.

Relevant: Organizational skills are critical executive functioning skills that can help students be successful in the classroom.

Time-based: You have until the end of the month to reach success.

stay organized

5. Boost Cognitive Flexibility

“For 5 months, I want to allow my student to think outside the box when faced with difficult tasks. By enrolling them in a program reinforcing cognitive flexibility, I’ll give them the resources necessary to think creatively and make decisions promptly.”

Specific: Your student will have the opportunity to think outside the box through a program.

Measurable: You can observe and measure how your student’s thinking processes have changed.

Attainable: Enrolling your student in a program that reinforces cognitive flexibility is doable.

Relevant: This SMART goal addresses the need to think creatively and make quick decisions.

Time-based: The goal should be accomplished after 5 whole months.

6. Become a Better Planner

“My students will become better planners by preparing a daily schedule over the three weeks ahead. I’ll also motivate them to follow through on commitments and adjust plans if necessary.”

Specific: The goal specifies what the student must do (prepare a daily schedule) and how often they should do it (over three weeks).

Measurable: You can count how many days the student has followed their routine.

Attainable: It’s reasonable to expect students to commit to and follow through with their plans for three weeks.

Relevant: Planning and following through with commitments improves executive functioning skills.

Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated within the next three weeks.

7. Improve Self-Monitoring

“To better monitor student behavior, I will work with students to create visuals to use as reminders for their tasks for two months. I want to help them track and understand when they’re making progress or need to work on changing certain habits.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, stating precisely the objective and how it will be met.

Measurable: This can be evaluated by the degree to which students can use visuals as reminders and improve their self-monitoring.

Attainable: It is possible to train students and have them use visuals as reminders for their tasks.

Relevant: Self-monitoring is essential for students to develop; this goal will help them work toward that.

Time-based: You have a two-month end date to attain this certain goal.

8. Refine Prioritization Skills

“I will implement an activity-scheduling program by the end of the semester. By using this program, my students will better understand which activities are important and how their time should be spent.”

Specific: You have a precise action available—implement an activity-scheduling program.

Measurable: Ensure the program is developed and implemented within this semester.

Attainable: This is a reasonable goal, given enough time and the necessary resources.

Relevant: The statement directly relates to the primary objective of refining your students’ prioritization skills.

Time-based: Goal attainment should occur by the end of this semester.

9. Enhance Emotional Regulation Abilities

“I want to help my students better manage their emotions throughout the school year. Therefore, I will create an emotional regulation plan for each student in my class that includes strategies to recognize and respond to their different emotions appropriately.”

Specific: The teacher aims to help their students better manage their emotions throughout the school year.

Measurable: Determine whether or not you’ve developed an emotional regulation plan for every student.

Attainable: This is possible because the individual will provide students with strategies to help them positively manage their emotions.

Relevant: The goal is appropriate because it focuses on a core skill for students to develop.

Time-based: You will pursue this SMART goal for one school year.

10. Increase Impulse Control

“I’ll foster a classroom environment that promotes impulse control and self-regulation within three months. I’ll develop strategies such as brain breaks, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness activities to help my students develop better impulse control.”

Specific: Creating a classroom environment that promotes impulse control and self-regulation is detailed.

Measurable: The success of this goal can be measured by evaluating the students’ impulse control.

Attainable: Developing strategies such as brain breaks and deep breathing exercises are viable in three months.

Relevant: Improving impulse control is crucial for students as it helps them become more successful in executive functioning.

Time-based: Accomplishment of this goal is expected after three months.

11. Develop Goal-Setting Habits

“I want to encourage my students to set goals and work toward them. I’ll create activities that help students develop goal-setting habits within a month. This will involve designing vision boards and writing a list of short-term and long-term goals they want to achieve.”

Specific: You’ll design student activities to help them develop goal-setting habits.

Measurable: You can measure student progress by looking at the vision boards and lists of goals they have created.

Attainable: This is very achievable if you provide the right activities and guidance.

Relevant: Making vision boards and goal-setting lists are vital for developing executive functioning skills.

Time-based: You should expect long-term success within one month.

12. Create Self-Care Routine

“I believe that if I can help my student to create a consistent self-care routine, it will increase their overall well-being and concentration. I will have them create a routine with morning, lunchtime, and evening activities within four weeks.”

Specific: This goal outlines the overall purpose (increase well-being and concentration) and the activities they must complete (morning, lunchtime, and evening).

Measurable: You could have them check off a list of activities they’ve completed each day.

Attainable: Creating a self-care routine is doable; many students can benefit from it.

Relevant: The personal care routine can promote well-being and concentration, which are important to executive functioning.

Time-based: Four weeks are needed to accomplish the statement.

13. Boost Adaptability and Responsiveness

“I will help my students become more adaptable and responsive to ever-changing situations by teaching them strategies to manage their reactions for 7 months. I hope the students will create more self-confidence in coping with new environments and people.”

Specific: The aim is to teach strategies in order to help students become more adaptable and responsive.

Measurable: Assess the student’s confidence level in their ability to cope with new environments and people.

Attainable: This is feasible as it’s possible to learn strategies to help someone become more adaptable and responsive over the course of 7 months.

Relevant: Responsiveness and adaptability are essential to student development.

Time-based: The goal must be completed within the specified 7-month deadline.

Final Thoughts

The SMART goal examples listed in this article provide a starting point for students to focus on specific areas of executive functioning, such as organization, time management, and problem solving.

It is crucial to remember that each student’s journey toward developing executive functioning skills is unique. What works for one student may not work for another.

Approach the process with patience, determination, and flexibility. Celebrate small successes along the way, adjust goals as needed, and stay committed to the process.

By incorporating SMART goal setting into their daily routines, students can develop positive habits that will benefit them throughout their academic careers and beyond.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.