Get SMART: How to Set (and Achieve) Goals


The most important step towards achieving success is deciding what is most important. Setting goals allows you to determine priorities and dedicate time to your most important tasks. Goals also spur the motivation to consistently move forward and progress.  By writing down your goals, you can create a visual representation of what you are aiming to achieve or accomplish. Goals are essential to personal development and success; it’s how we increase our productivity and measure our accomplishments. But it’s important to identify the differences between just any goal and a SMART goal.

Setting (and achieving) goals will help you avoid stress and increase your overall productivity. I recently purchased a handy tool called the Productivity Planner (I encourage you to check it out!) to help me set and achieve my daily and weekly goals. Using a planner and setting SMART goals help me manage my time while staying focused and organized.

If you aren’t already familiar with the process of setting SMART goals, you should be. So what are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

S – Specific
M – Measureable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time Based

The SMART goal-setting process is intended to be a simple and straightforward way to set goals. Using the SMART formula is fundamental to effective goal-setting. Now that you have the formula for effective goal-setting, it’s time to put it to use. Let’s get create your first goal.

Goal: I will start writing goals.
SMART Goal: I will create write three weekly goals every Sunday evening.

Dedicating a specific time slot to review what you have achieved and to plan for the following week is a great way to stay on top of your goals. As a student, make sure your weekly goals take into consideration course deadlines and minimum requirements. If you are working on a goal that may take weeks to complete, break it down into a few short-term goals to keep you on track. Just be aware of your procrastination habits and make sure that your schedule is not designed to assist these habits. Refer to your course curriculum when creating your goals; it’s a great way to stay on track and you just might be surprised at how much you can accomplish in the span of seven days!

Much like a road map, your goals will consistently drive you forward. Setting SMART goals on a regular basis will allow you to determine your priorities and dedicate time to your most important tasks, keeping you on track and leading you towards success.