How to Set Goals You’ll
Actually Achieve

Goal setting is not a new concept. If you asked someone to name one goal they have, almost everyone would be able to list something. It may be a small item from that day’s to-do list, or it may be a much larger life goal. In fact, many people set goals for themselves every January in the form of New Year’s resolutions. We know how those usually turn out. In fact, many people’s goals go unrealized. So, how do you avoid being one of these people? By being S.M.A.R.T.

Specific

Any time you sit down to answer the five W’s.

Who: Who can help me to achieve this goal? Who needs to be involved?
What: What am I actually trying to accomplish? Get specific.
When: When do I want to achieve this goal? When do I start? Really look at the Time-Bound piece of S.M.A.R.T. goals and put together that timeline.
Where: Is there a location relevant to my goal? This may not be a necessary one to answer for everyone.
Why: Why am I setting this goal in the first place?

Measurable
Great goals are able to be measured. This is your opportunity to figure out what metrics determine goal success. This not only makes your goal more tangible, but it also helps with setting milestones along the way. This may look like the number of courses you complete in a certain length of time. It may look like achieving certain grades. That metric is up to you, but it needs to be in place.

Attainable
It’s easy to set unrealistic and lofty goals. When you determine what your specific goal needs to be, create a whole other set of goals that lay out the steps to achieve your larger goal. Not only will you feel more accomplished as you continue to check each one off your list, but before you know it, you’ll have achieved that big goal.

Relevant
This piece goes back to those W questions you answered back at the beginning. Make sure the goals you set actually help you achieve your larger goals and help you to get to where you want to be. With each goal you set ask yourself, does this help or hurt?

Time-Bound
Set yourself a timeline for achieving your goal. Without some kind of timeline, it’s easy to look at your goals as something that will happen in the “future.” You don’t want to get 20 years down the road and have that goal still be in the future. Set timelines for each goal so that you are more likely to achieve them.

By making sure to create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, you will be able to achieve all of the things you need to put you on the road to success. Just remember, be S.M.A.R.T.

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