Why S.M.A.R.T goal setting is key to a student’s success…

What does it mean to plan?

A ‘plan’ is defined as a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. Common synonyms are : method , strategy and agenda – to name a few.

“What does success look like to you?”  is a common and thought-provoking question. I believe success is highly subjective to the individual. However, when there has been a success it is usually clear for all eyes to see. Unfortunately, in pursuit of success, we students often set unrealistic goals from such an early stage which may have negative impacts on our day-to-day tasks. On the other hand, by setting S.M.A.R.T goals for ourselves we are able to gain more focus and feel ourselves slowly but surely nearing closer to the aspirations we have in mind.

Meeting deadlines is a gateway to success. The reason for this is because the presence of a deadline should and most likely does encourage us to work more efficiently – as we are aware of the consequences of missing a deadline. Measuring our work progress is essential to meeting deadlines also. As we are completely aware of how much we have done and how much we need to do. By doing this we a create ‘checkpoints’ that remind us of the purpose of the task and the benefits of completion.

The setting-up of a schedule is also useful, especially when we have various other commitments. In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for not having some form of schedule as there are many apps and services readily available to us. For example, the Calendar app for Apple Products. Such apps allow us to effortlessly plan our days/meetings and continue to look on – into the future as a reminder of what we are working towards.

It is not unheard of that, individuals have fully prepared to the best of their ability for a task but, have still come out with a dissatisfying outcome. In an instance of such failure, we must use this as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and focus on building further. Sometimes we feel the need to sweep our losses beneath the carpet but in the world of Business and Law, it is essential that we account for both our profits and losses. Failures also remind us to reassess the availability of resources around us. Often as students, we forget that there are many places such as libraries, social media, etc. And, individuals such as professionals we have networked with or lecturers who are there to give us feedback when things have not gone well. It is advantageous that we remember what resources are around us.

S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that is often used for discussing planning for success, however, what the letters actually spell out differ from one person to the next. More importantly is the thought process that occurs once you are familiar with this acronym and how you can implement it into your routine. The following explanation of S.M.A.R.T will both conclude and may add to what has already been mentioned above. Hence, summarising the key elements of goal planning.

S – Specific

This refers to the act of making clear what our goals are in detail and perhaps separating goals into different categories to achieve focus and work on each goal individually.

– Measurable

This refers to tracking our progress and weighing our profits and losses to move on and make the further necessary actions to achieve success.

A Attainable

This pertains to the identification of realistic goals and deadlines. It is more beneficial to prepare for that we which is achievable to acquire that which is not in reach at the moment.

R – Resources

Resources are the various sources that support us in achieving our tasks leading to success and without them, it may be quite laborious and difficult to make much success.

T – Time Management

Working alongside time is essential on the road to success. How we go about ensuring that we are aware of certain times in which we complete tasks, for example, is up to us. However, it is imperative we do well to ensure that we aware of time for our own benefit and perhaps the benefit of others if we are in teams.

Success key – Picture by Jake Rustenhoven / GotCredit © Creative Commons

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