The Secret to Setting SMART Goals for Students

Tabletop marquee sign with the words goal, plan and action.
Category: Going Back to School

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Many people start a new year with goals they wish to accomplish, and they often relate to fitness, diet, travel or relationships. Have you considered setting academic goals? Not only can they change your life, they can improve your outlook and self-image.

The key to any goal is setting SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. One might say “I want to lose weight in 2018,” but it’s more specific to say “I will lose 15 pounds by Dec. 31 by attending five cardio dance classes and keeping a food journal.” By setting goals that are SMART, you are answering the what, when, how and why of your goal.

Once you establish your SMART goals, write them down and put them in a place you will see often. It could be a background image on your phone, written on your bathroom mirror, or put on a poster board you hang in your office or bedroom. Whatever it takes to remind yourself of the goals you set in order to improve yourself, make it happen.

What kinds of goals can you set this year for your education? Here are a few ideas for SMART goals for students.

Keep Up With Your Calendar

Whether you buy a beautiful calendar with lots of space for daily, weekly and monthly tasks, or you download a task-keeping app or Google Calendar, striving to keep a documented list of the things you need to accomplish can keep you organized and sane. You can include various categories, too, to ensure you are devoting enough time to the most important areas of your life, such as home, family time, work, hobbies and more.

Set Goals Relating to Coursework and Your GPA 

What GPA would you like to earn? Do you want to strive to work on coursework a certain number of hours each week to stay ahead of the game? Whatever is right for your situation, set the goal and work to achieve it.

Read More 

No, this one doesn’t include textbooks! While it may not directly correlate with your degree program, reading offers so many benefits, including an escape from screen time. Maybe you aspire to read at least one book a month for fun. You can rotate between biographies, memoirs, novels and self-help. Are you unsure you have the time to fit in leisurely reading? Download audiobooks to listen to during your commute.

Enroll in Courses That Will Challenge You 

Have you been putting off a math or writing class? Are you waiting to muster up the gusto to take on something that you know will be a challenge? Why not set a goal to tackle these courses first? You may surprise yourself with how well you can do and what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. Plus, with resources like the CSU Success Center, there is always help to ensure you succeed!

Get Started

No matter what goals you choose, by establishing SMART goals and a roadmap for how you plan to achieve them you have already accomplished so much. Imagine how great you will feel when the year comes to a close and you can mark off your goals with pride.

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