Making SMART Goals for the New Year

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Kristi Yamashita
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It’s 2020! The beginning of a new semester or quarter makes many college students think about what goals they can set in order to get the best start to the new year.  Whether your goal is to keep your room clean, improve your study habits, or find a job or internship for the summer, you should keep the acronym S.M.A.R.T. in mind. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  In order to better understand this concept, I am going to use an example goal of getting good grades in school.

Be specific

To make this goal specific, you should be descriptive about what you want to improve or achieve.  Rather than simply saying that you want good grades in school, you could make your goal be to receive grades high enough to be recognized on the Dean’s List. You can get on the Dean’s List by having a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Being specific makes it harder to defer from it or change it once you have made it.

Make it measurable

A measurable goal is one that you can track your progress in.  For this goal in particular, you can track your progress by looking at your school portal which displays your scores on tests, assignments, and participation.  This will allow you to gauge how well you are doing and if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. Making it measurable will also help you recognize when you need to improve.

Require attainability and relevance

Goals that are attainable are realistic and can be achieved if you put in your best effort.  Receiving a 3.5 GPA in school is an attainable goal if you know you are capable of getting A’s and B’s in your classes. It is also important to make sure that your goals are relevant to who you are and who you want to become.  Being recognized on the Dean’s List is relevant to me because I am a student, and I am trying to receive the best grades I can during my college career.  

Define your timeline

Lastly, your goal should have a clearly defined timeline, including a start date and end date. In order to satisfy this requirement of SMART, you can state that you want to earn a place on the Dean’s List this quarter.  That means that you have set three months for yourself to put in your best effort to achieve your goal. Making a timetable will help you stay motivated to actually get the goal done and not continue to put it off.

Many people give up on goals, but using the SMART criteria when setting new goals will help you keep on track to actually get them done. By constructing your goals around these five attributes of SMART, you are sure to be on your way to a great year.