In driver training, where goals are usually set to improve performance such as achieving more independence from the trainer, to improve a particular skill, or to prepare for an assessment such as the theory or practical test, SMART goals are preferred:
An ADI and pupil are discussing the next lesson and are deciding what goals to set based on today’s lesson. To make sure the goals are Specific you should consider:
The pupil and ADI are currently working on mini roundabouts and the pupil wants to be able to manage the big roundabout without help from their instructor. A specific goal could be, ‘I would like to gain the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to deal with the big roundabout safely and feel good about it’.
The goal must also be Measurable so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing your progress helps you to stay focussed, meet deadlines and feel the excitement of getting nearer to your goal. A measurable goal should address questions such as:
The pupil might measure their goal of gaining the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to independently safely and successfully negotiate the big roundabout by the end of next week’s lessons.
You goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. An Achievable goal will usually consider questions such as:
The pupil should ask themselves if developing the knowledge, understanding and skills for independently negotiating the big roundabout by the end of next week’s lesson is realistic, based on where they are at now with mini roundabouts. Do they have the time, necessary resources and finances to meet this goal?
You need to make sure that your goal matters to you, and it also aligns with other Relevant goals. We all need assistance and support in achieving our goals however it is important we keep control over them and be responsible for achieving your own goal. You should be able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions when setting a Relevant goal.
The pupil might want to independently negotiate the big roundabout by the end of next week’s lesson, but they are still having an issue with checking mirrors before slowing down and changing direction and from a safety point of view, this takes priority over the roundabout goal.
All goals need a target date so you have something to work to and something to focus on. Be careful to keep this to a target date and not to set a date in concrete as the time pressure of a looming date that you have set can cause additional pressures on you and in fact be counterproductive. Be willing to move the target date to another date as sometimes you need to reprioritise your goals due to many different factors.
Gaining the relevant knowledge, understanding and skills to independently negotiate the big roundabout needs more time to build up enough experience. It is important to set realistic timescales for achieving the smaller goals to get to the bigger ones.
Make sure you formulate the SMART goal positively
Whatever you focus on increases, so when you focus on not doing something, all you think about is that thing and it will increase.
Keep the SMART goal positive and focus on the achievements
A top tip is to always be cautious with goals that someone else has a power over. For example, the ADI might say ‘by the end of today’s lesson, you will be able to…….’ as this depends on many factors including, the traffic, the weather and road conditions, the car, if the pupil can afford the lesson today, how the pupil is feeling, plus more. But the goal the pupil has set to get the knowledge, skills and understanding to be able to deal with the big roundabout is in the pupil’s hands.
When goal setting, bear in mind the different types of goals.
These are techniques or strategies (e.g. clutch control or defensive driving)
These are concerned with achieving a certain standard (e.g. doing five parallel parks without needing any input/help from the trainer)
These are the desired outcome (e.g. winning in a competition)
It is best to concentrate on process and performance goals, with the emphasis on the process goals. This is because better performance in these leads to a greater likelihood of achieving a performance goal. Setting outcome goals can lead to disappointment because the goal is often dependent on the performance of others.