Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals!

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals!

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Many of you have made New Years’ resolutions, to either get in shape or study better for the Spring 2013 semester. However, we all know that it is easier said than done. Setting goals are easy, but accomplishing them is harder. So, to help, we will introduce (or re-acquaint) you with setting SMART goals. What is a SMART goal? Well, it is a useful pneumonic used by a lot of individuals to help them succeed in their personal and professional development when they set clear objectives. You can use this concept for anything that you do. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. What do they mean? Grab a pen and a piece of paper, and you may want to write your goals down:

  1. Specific – This is the first step in setting yourself up for success. It is recommended you provide as much detail so that there is no confusion on what you should be doing. If you list: “Study for CMNS 356”, this is quite vague. So ask yourself:
    What specifically do you want to do, and why?

    A more specific goal would be: “Read the textbook to solidify understanding so that I can get a good mark.”

  2. Measurable – Now that you have a specific goal, how are you going to measure your success? Read the textbook is a good goal, but how about “Read all 15 chapters of the textbook to solidify understanding so that I can achieve at least a 3.0 GPA.”
  3. Attainable – The next step is to make sure that you can actually do it. Sure you can read the textbook, but how are you going to read it effectively? Another example: “Read all 15 chapters of the textbook, highlight and write notes in the margin, and create questions reflecting the readings.”
  4. Realistic – This question pushes you to make sure you can actually do it. Reading all 15 chapters seems really daunting doesn’t it? Why don’t you break it down into smaller parts: “Read each chapter of the textbook, write notes summarizing each paragraph, and create questions reflecting the readings.”
  5. Timely – Now that you have a specific, and attainable goal, when do you have to complete it by? Set a deadline for yourself so that you know when it has to be completed.

    A SMART goal now looks like:
    “Read a chapter of the textbook by Friday each week, write notes in the margin summarizing each paragraph, create 3 questions for each reading, so that by the end of the semester, I will have a solid understanding of the course to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA.”

Posted on January 16, 2013