September 6 marked the New Year’s Day of Brock’s school calendar, and with every New Years comes resolutions. Common student “New Year’s” goals include things such as trying to procrastinate less, do more readings, or avoid pulling all-nighters. Whatever the goal may be, its no secret that a majority of resolutions are given up on within a few months. There are many strategies designed to help combat the tendencies to give up on resolutions. One of these strategies is known as S.M.A.R.T. goals system. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Reasonable, and Timely. The acronym is used as a guide to follow when creating and pursuing your goals, and the guidelines are designed to make it easier to stay focused and motivated in working towards your goals.
Having a specific goal means that time and careful thought goes into creating the goal. Specificity is especially important when naming your goal. Don’t use vague language, but rather choose a particular standard you are aiming to achieve. For example, aim to achieve a specific percentage on a paper or exam, or choose a 5 per cent range that you want your grade to be within. Specific goals are easier to work towards because it is easier to make a step-by-step plan for achieving them.
For a goal to be specific, it helps if the goal is measurable. A measurable goal is one for which there is a type of standard to go by. Some examples could include a specific grade on a paper or a specific time in a race. Measurable goals are important because it makes it much easier to track progress towards reaching your ultimate goal. It is also helpful for setting a timetable for how far you want to be towards reaching your goal at after a certain amount of time of working towards it.
Ensuring that your goal is action-oriented is crucial in achieving the goal. An action-oriented goal is one that is created and phrased in such a way that suggests how it can be achieved, rather than simply what you want to achieve. One way to make your goal action-oriented is to make a plan as to what steps you are going to take in order to achieve your goal. Making this list helps break your goal down into smaller steps, which can help make your goal seem less daunting or overwhelming.
The fourth step in creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal is making sure that it is reasonable. A goal that is reasonable is one that is challenging but not impossible. If your goal is some crazy standard that isn’t realistic, you will only be discouraged when working towards it, and it will become more tempting to give up. Rather, keep your own capabilities and talents in mind when setting goals. Set a goal that will challenge you and stretch your limits, but not so much that you become discouraged by being unable to achieve it.
Finally, great goal-setting involves making sure that your goals are achievable within a reasonable amount of time. Setting a goal too far may very well become discouraging and be given up on in the long run because the goal is too overwhelming. However, it is also important to give yourself enough time to achieve a reasonable goal. For example, trying to write an excellent paper in two hours is not a timely goal. If you are working towards a large goal, try to break it down into smaller steps to make each goal more timely.
The S.M.A.R.T. goal system is just one of many strategies to create and accomplish your goals. However, whichever strategy you may choose to use, it is important to remember that achieving your goals always requires hard work and dedication. One way to keep yourself motivated could be to work with someone else who has a similar goal. Plan your goals together and keep each other motivated throughout the semester. It is helpful to have someone who can hold you accountable and support you when you may feel discouraged. Lastly, it is important to find some reward in reaching your goal. It is good to reward yourself when you accomplish a significant step towards your goal and when you achieve your ultimate goal.