Welcome back to Mason everyone, hope you all had an amazing winter break and a good first week of classes. I know that I am already falling behind on everything, then again you don’t have to worry about that until you get to junior year! Despite the workload that I have this semester, it has been off to a good start and I am optimistic that it will remain that way.
New Year’s resolutions were never exactly my thing after I have miserably failed twice within the first month of the year. After reflecting on the previous decade, I learned that my goals were set too high and even if it was possible to achieve, it wouldn’t be realistic. It is also important to have some method of measuring your progress to help you stay motivated. I plan on making this year/decade different by setting more realistic goals and will share some tips on successfully achieving your resolutions this year.
Now let’s start thinking about those goals! It is important to make sure you have all the elements of SMART in your goal. The SMART tool will help you figure out if your goal is realistic and whether or not it is possible to achieve it.
Before setting any goals for yourself, you have to make sure you are as specific as possible. For instance, instead of writing down “this year I’ll do well in school,” let’s try to make it more specific. Try, “this semester I will study at least 20 hours a week”. Instead of just setting a goal, you should figure out what exactly you want to accomplish. Studying 20 hours per week is a more specific goal than simply doing well in school, but will help you achieve that!
After you narrow it down to be more specific, you have to make sure the goal is measurable. How will you measure your progress? In other words, once you have completed your goal, how will you know that you were successful. For example, “By studying for 20 hours per week each week, I will stay above 80% in all my classes”.
Ok, now we’ve set the goal. How achievable is it? Do you think you’ll be able to study for 20 hours per week? Maybe you have a job, you’re involved in clubs, or you have family responsibility. Do you think 15 hours is a more attainable goal? If you’re comfortable with 20 hours per week and you’re confident you’ll meet it, we can move on to the RT part of the SMART goal.
Is your goal relevant? If you are setting goals just for the sake of having a resolution because all your friends do, you will lack motivation. Do you already get over 80% in all of your classes? Are you already studying 20 hours per week? Make sure that this goal is relevant to you. Set a goal for yourself that will actually benefit you.
Lastly, you have to set a time frame for achieving your goal. This helps you stay motivated. The time frame in our example would be one semester.
So, let’s take a look at our SMART goal. “In order to get an 80% or higher in all of my classes, I will study 20 hours per week every week until the end of the Spring semester”. Doesn’t that feel motivating?
You can use the SMART model for whatever it is you want to accomplish! Looking to hit the gym more often? Want to land an internship by the end of the semester? Maybe you want to feel more centered and grounded and set a goal to practice gratitude every day. Whatever your goal is, I hope these tips will be helpful for setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based goals and that you will have a successful semester.
My goal for the semester is to stay on top of all my readings and assignments instead of doing everything last minute. I will measure this weekly by checking if I am staying above 90% in all my classes and by the end of the semester I hope to get as many A’s as possible and bump my GPA to a 3.5!
If you need help narrowing down a goal, our Off-Campus Advisor team would be happy to help you! We are located in the HUB 1014 and our office is open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come grab a cup of free coffee, sit down in our comfortable lounge, and we can set goals together!
Yes, there is a saying that ‘shoot for the stars and you will reach the sky’ but you cannot shoot for the stars on your first try, you have to start slow and eventually reach the highest point.