In order to succeed, you need to set goals. But it’s not as easy as “My goal is to make a lot of money”. That’s a vague goal which will get you nowhere. How much is a lot? You’ll know when you have it? No, you won’t. In order for a goal to push you and move you forward it needs to be smart. S.M.A.R.T.
The goal needs to be exact and clearly defined. Follow the What, Why and How model. Besides, there is a lot more chance that you’ll reach the specific goal rather than a general one. When you know exactly what you need to do, you are so much more likely to actually do it.
You need to have a way to measure and know if you’ve reached your goal or not. Specify exactly how much you’d like to increase your GPA, salary or free time. It should answer the questions how much or how many.
When setting a goal, you need to believe you can reach it. It should definitely be challenging, but not unachievable. Something you don’t think you can ever do will not motivate you to keep moving forward. Set something you know you can achieve and get right to it by making a plan as to how you’re going to achieve it.
A SMART goal focuses on the result rather than the activity itself. It doesn’t really matter if you think you studied enough if the test still comes back with a D. The result of the test, not the activity is what you need to aim for.
This is like a deadline. Set a time-limit for when the goal needs to be completed: by the end of the semester, by the end of the month, in a week. Goals can stretch forever and slowly slip into the realm of dreams if you never check up with them.
It’s ok if you didn’t manage to complete a goal in a week. You failed this time and that’s ok. Realistic deadlines are important, so perhaps you need another two weeks to cross the finish line successfully.
Now let’s get some examples of SMART goals.
- Improve my GPA to 4.0 by the end of this semester.
- Get at least a B on the Accounting Midterm.
- Do the homework for Monday and Tuesday on Saturday, so that I can go ice-skating with friends on Sunday.
- Find 10 internships options by the end of the week and send out applications by February 1st.
- Get accepting for a summer internship program this year.
There is an easy way to check if the goal you set is SMART. Just ask yourself:
- Is it specific?
- Can I measure it?
- Can I achieve it? Is it realistic?
- Is it result-oriented?
- Is it time-bound?
There you have it. As easy as pie. That’s it folks. Tune in next time for useful advice.