SMART objectives


1. Support planning for residents in supported housing is a process that ensures the well-being and progress of individuals who require additional assistance. However, the planning process can be vague, leaving both support workers and residents unclear about what exactly needs to be achieved. This is where SMART objectives1Doran, G. T. (1981), “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”, Management Review, 70 (11): 35–36 could have a role. Adopting SMART objectives in support planning may offer a structured, clear, and measurable way to set and achieve goals tailored to each resident’s needs.

The challenge

2. Residents in supported housing may feel disengaged or confused due to a lack of clear objectives in their support plans. This can lead to a sense of frustration and stagnation, hindering the ultimate goal of empowering residents to lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

The SMART solution

3. SMART objectives offer a solution to this challenge by providing a structured framework for setting goals. The acronym stands for:

  1. Specific,
  2. Measurable,
  3. Achievable,
  4. Relevant, and
  5. Time-bound.

4. Each of these elements contributes to creating a comprehensive and achievable plan.

Specific and stretching

5. The first step in setting SMART objectives is to make them specific. For instance, instead of having a vague goal like “improve life skills,” a specific objective could be “learn how to manage personal finances within three months.” This gives both the support worker and the resident a clear understanding of what is expected. Additionally, the objectives should be stretching enough to motivate the resident, but not so challenging that they become unattainable.


6. The second element, measurability, allows for tracking progress. For example, the success of the objective “learn how to manage personal finances” could be measured by the resident successfully creating and adhering to a budget for three consecutive months.

Achievable and agreed

7. Objectives should be achievable, taking into account the resident’s current abilities and resources. They should also be agreed upon by both the resident and the support worker to ensure mutual commitment, which significantly increases the likelihood of the objective being met.


8. Relevance ensures that the objective aligns with the broader goals of the resident’s support plan. For instance, if the overall aim is to help a resident live independently, then a relevant objective could be “to cook three healthy meals a week.”


9. Lastly, setting a time frame provides a sense of urgency and a deadline for achieving the objective. This helps in reviewing the plan and making necessary adjustments.


10. Implementing SMART objectives in support planning for residents in supported housing can significantly improve the clarity, engagement, and effectiveness of the process.

11. It ensures that both support workers and residents are on the same page and allows for measurable outcomes that contribute to the resident’s overall well-being and independence.

12. By being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, SMART objectives offer a robust framework that can bring transformative changes to support planning in supported housing.

« Back to Index

Notes   [ + ]