As I mentioned on Monday, it’s important to have yearly goals but you also need to make sure S.M.A.R.T. goals, so you can continually really assess your progress and achieve your goals.
You need to be making your goals S.M.A.R.T., that is they must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. If you haven’t heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before you’re probably wondering what it is. How do I develop goals that are all those things?
This is an example of how it can work in practice. For instance, say I have a goal that I want to improve my GPA this year. While this is a worthy goal, it is not very specific. A better goal would be that I want to improve my GPA from a 4.5 to a 5.0.
Then you need to ask yourself, can you measure your progress towards that goal? In this case you can. With every assignment you complete and every exam you undertake you can see how you are progressing towards that goal.
You also need to make sure your goal is achievable. A goal to go from a 4.5 GPA to a 6.5 GPA inside of a year probably isn’t very achievable. However, to go from 4.5 to 5.0 should be much more achievable.
A relevant goal implies that it is relevant to you and your ultimate end goal. In this case, it is of you completing your degree and being able to find a job when you graduate. Therefore, improve your GPA from 4.5 to a 5.0 is very relevant.
Finally, your goal should be time-based. That is, it should have a time limit on when it is going to be achieved. People make many goals including new years’ resolutions and one of the reasons they fail is that they do not have time-specific aspects to them. However, this is not the case with this goal as we have said we want to improve our GPA within one year.
So, that’s how you develop S.M.A.R.T. goals. Having S.M.A.R.T. doesn’t guarantee that you will achieve them. However, it does make it more likely as you have clarified your goal and easily assess success or failure (thus, the importance of making it measurable). If you can’t measure something, how can you know if you succeed or if you are making progress or not?
Whatever your goals for this year, make sure you take the time to make them S.M.A.R.T. so you can make this year your best yet.