SMART Goals for the New Year
When the new year comes, what do you think of? A fresh start? Another candle on the cake? How you might eat 7 carrots this year instead of 6? Every year, I think of all the amazing things I’m going to do, and it’s about a 50/50 chance if I’m actually going to do them or not. This past year, I achieved my goal of studying abroad in Costa Rica using scholarships but failed my goal of working out more. There was one main difference between my two goals, one was SMART and one was not.
SMART goals can increase the chances of you actually achieving your goals. Let me show you my SMART goal from last year, and what each letter means.
My SMART goal from 2018: To study Spanish in Costa Rica the summer after my sophomore year of school and pay for it with scholarships.
You need to specifically state what you’re going to do. Concentrating your goal will come later on, so this step is fairly simple.
My goal was specific. I wanted to study Spanish in Costa Rica. This had been something I wanted to do for a long time. I wanted to improve my Spanish skills in a country that offered lots of options to explore and get out of my comfort zone.
You need to make sure you have a way to evaluate your goal along the way. If there’s no way to see if you’ve made any progress, it will be difficult to stay motivated.
Thankfully, I had an advisor and many checklists to measure my progress. I could visibly see what I needed to do next to make this process happen. I could also track my scholarships and see how they matched up to the costs of the program.
Your goals should be within your range of ability. While it’s good to set goals that push your limits, if your goals aren’t reasonable then you may never reach them.
I knew this goal was achievable because I had a background in Spanish, so I would be able to survive at the least!
SMART goals should be important to you and your values. Make sure what you are setting out to do is something you will be personally invested in.
This specific goal was relevant to me because the Spanish language is relevant to me and I enjoy learning about it. For someone who was taking German in school, this would not have been relevant at all.
One of the most important aspects, in my opinion, it to put a time limit on it! If you set an end date, then you will know when you really need to have the goal done by. If you don’t, you may keep pushing it off longer and longer.
I knew for sure I wanted to study abroad the summer after my sophomore year, so that set up a time limit for me. I had to finish everything on time and make sure I had scholarships secured by a certain date.
I think it’s great for everyone to set goals, New Year’s resolutions, or whatever you like to call them. Just make sure they’re SMART goals so you have the best chance of achieving them. Set yourself up for success!
Here’s to a great 2019!