Make Behavioral Objectives SMART

Part 2 > Essential Element 5 > Make Behavioral Objectives SMART

Behavioral objectives need to be SMART, that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time- bound. 

Specific – clearly defines who or what the focus of the SBCC program is and what change is expected.

Measurable – includes an amount or proportion of change that is expected.

Achievable – a change that the individual is capable of making given their needs and preferences, as well as the social norms and expectations.

Relevant – important to your organization and its resources, and what it is trying to achieve (the program goal).

Time-bound – states the time period for achieving the behavioral changes.


In Worksheet #7: Behavioral Objectives, you will be asked specific questions to help you identify appropriate behavioral objectives of your SBCC program. The Worksheet contains two parts. In the first part you will be asked to develop the objectives and in the second part you will be asked to check that these objectives are SMART.

Once you have completed Worksheet #7: Behavioral Objectives, the rest of this Essential Element will look at how to develop program indicators and give you the opportunity to create for your program using Worksheet #8: Behavioral Indicators.



Creating SMART behavioral objectives:

  1. Be specific about your target population and your issue. For example, if you are aiming to increase use of modern contraceptives, you should focus on “sexually active young women” rather than “all women.”
  2. Give a numerical or percentage change expected. State the existing baseline measure, as well as an expected measure. Review available data and consult research experts to determine a realistic goal for the expected change.
  3. Keep in mind the barriers to change that affect urban adolescents. How difficult will it be to get their attention? Are others actively trying to convince them to adopt behaviors different from those that your SBCC program is promoting (e.g., abstinence vs. contraception)? Are there competing demands for the time and actions of urban adolescents?
  4. Learn from similar programs. Review the literature and data of similar SBCC programs. What were their behavior change objectives? What changes were achieved? Their experience might help to make your objectives realistic.
  5. Consider the availability and accessibility of products and services needed to practice the desired behavior. Will the communication about this behavior create more demand than your program can provide? Will service providers be able to keep up with the demand for supplies or services?
  6. Consider what is manageable within the constraints of your program. Can the objectives be accomplished with the resources available? Are there appropriate communication channels to reach the intended audience? Do you have enough time?
  7. Use timeframes that give people enough time to change. Use timeframes in terms of months or years.
Worksheet #7

Worksheet #7

Behavioral Objectives

Worksheet #7 Example

Worksheet #7 Example

Behavioral Objectives: Zanbe