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As we continue to engage in purposeful self-reflection activities together, let’s focus on personal goals, which also include professional goals for the purpose of this book. Since you are reading a book about graduate programs in counseling, you probably have goals related to continuing your education and training to become a professional counselor. Whether you have identified specific personal or professional goals or are currently in the process of exploring and developing them, there are key principles to keep in mind when setting and refining goals.

The acronym SMART can help ensure that goals are tangible. SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Ultimately, this means that you should develop focused goals that are achievable and able to be measured within an identified time period. This ensures that goals are appropriately developed. This also assists with helping you track your progress to let you know if and when you have successfully reached your goal or when you might need to recalibrate or adjust the goal based on changing factors. Any goal worth setting is worth being SMART. Keep these SMART concepts in mind as you work through exploring your goals in the next self-reflection activity.

Use Figure 5.1 to guide you through this goals exploration and reflection activity.

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