2022 SMART Goals – Tips to Reach Your Objectives This Year

The start of the new year is the perfect opportunity for students to reassess both their personal and education-oriented SMART goals. Setting both long- and short-term goals is imperative, as it sets you up for a successful year ahead, as well as keeps you on track through all the humps and bumps that life may throw your way. 

 If you’re a new student, you are most likely entering a whole new world of discipline and routine, and this is the perfect reason to set up those SMART GOALS. Some people find it silly or unhelpful, but waking up in the morning and looking at a vision board with your goals on it has proven to increase productivity. So let’s chat about some easy and creative ways to get motivated and set SMART goals for the year ahead. 

 The Campus is here to assist you in reaching those goals.  To begin with, let’s define what a SMART goal is: SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

 Defining these parameters, as they pertain to your goals, helps to ensure that your objectives are attainable within a certain time frame. This approach eliminates generalities and guesswork, sets a clear timeline, and makes it easier to track progress and identify missed milestones.

An example of a SMART-goal statement might look like this: My goal is to [quantifiable objective] by [timeframe/deadline]. I will accomplish this goal by [what steps you’ll take to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will [result or benefit].

S: Specific

For a goal to be effective, it needs to be specific. 

A specific goal answers questions such as:

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • What steps need to be taken to achieve it?

For example, Jane has June exams coming up. She lists which exams she has and what percentage she wants to achieve for each module. She then lists how she is going to achieve these marks. Jane might create a study calendar and set goals to get a certain chapter done that week, which is a perfect example of setting a specific goal. 

M: Measurable

Being specific is a solid start, but measuring your goals makes them easier to track so that you know when you’ve reached the finish line. 

For instance, if Jane wants to get an overall academic score of 75%, she needs to work out how much she can REALISTICALLY achieve per month and then per semester. Let’s say she thinks she can get an overall 5% “increase each semester”, she will have an exact timeline on which semester and month her overall score will be 75%. This is a Measurable goal, as Jane has now set measurable, trackable benchmarks. 

A: Achievable

This is the point in the process when you give yourself a serious reality check. Goals should be realistic — not pedestals from which you inevitably tumble. Ask yourself: Is your objective something you can reasonably accomplish?

Getting back to our example, Jane might realise that going from 57% to 75% in two semesters is not quite achievable, maybe it makes more sense to work that percentage up over 4 semesters. This is why we need to measure and then make sure goals are achievable. Safeguarding the achievability of your goal is much easier when you’re the one setting it. However, that’s not always the case. When goals are handed down from elsewhere, make sure to communicate any restraints you may be working under. Even if you can’t shift the end goal, at least you can make your position (and any potential roadblocks) known up-front.

Here’s where you need to think about the big picture. Why are you setting the goal?

T: Time-bound

To properly measure success, you need to be sure of when your goal needs to be reached. What’s your time horizon? When will you start creating and implementing the steps you’ve identified? When do you aim to be finished? 

Getting back to our example, we have now figured out a measurable, achievable and specific goal. Our last step is to set out the time-frames so that we can accurately measure our progress. 

Jane would now write down or make a calendar to suit her planning. Say semester one consists of four months, Jane has 5 modules and needs to get at least a 5% overall improvement by the end of March 2022. The four subjects need to be spread out over those four months.

Can you see how quickly our goals have gone from a one-sentence objective, that we may not ever look back on, to a realistic and measurable goal? Let’s not beat around the bush, we are always looking for an easy way out. Setting up SMART goals forces us to take the time to think about and measure our goals so that they aren’t overwhelming. 

It’s a win-win situation – Give it a go!

Take a chance – make 2022 what it’s meant to be. You’ve got nothing to lose, and only your goals to gain! Read our other blogs and what The Campus has to offer here.

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