The school year can seem dauntingly long when you think of everything that you hope to achieve and equally as short when you think of how much time and effort it will take to succeed in pursuing those achievements. Setting goals for yourself to break down responsibilities, and tracking your progress in reaching these goals, can be a huge help as you try to balance everything.
If you’re someone who finds it difficult to find time to do work or study, perhaps more specific goals are best, as they’ll get you thinking about when exactly you need to complete tasks. Even if you do have good time-management skills, writing specific tasks down is probably still a good idea so that you don’t forget to do anything. I would recommend always creating some goals for yourself before starting your school year, and I have listed a few suggestions that you might consider using to draft your own set of goals below:
Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are created using a specific set of criteria, which form the acronym SMART. They are characteristically: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
These goal-building criteria can help you to create goals that are especially helpful to you, as a student. Although a goal doesn’t need to include each aspect, each can be useful in their own right, and it’s ultimately up to you to determine which type of goal best suits your habits. As the criteria suggest, SMART goals should:
Include specific tasks to be accomplished.
Have a measurable objective and outcome to verify the completion of your goals.
Be realistically attainable so that you don’t set out to accomplish the impossible.
Be relevant to your needs in each specific area of your student life.
Be time-based so that you know how much time you have before they must be completed.
When utilizing the SMART model, it is important to keep in mind that some goals will be easier to keep track of than others, and the model doesn’t necessarily make a difference on that front. While short-term goals are fairly simple to track (for example, “I will study for quizzes and tests at least two days in advance”), long-term goals (such as, “I will earn a B in Math”) are more difficult to monitor.
Track your progress in completing long-term goals:
1. Review the tasks you’ve completed to be sure you have time to reach your overall goal
2. Revise goals, if necessary, depending on progress and external factors and circumstances
3. Remind yourself why you’ve set your goals and what achieving them would mean for you
4. Celebrate your daily achievements and milestones
When setting goals for your school year, always keep your individual strengths and challenges in mind. If you know that you have a certain skill, see if you can use it to make completing your goal(s) any easier, and if you know that completing a particular goal will be challenging for you, use any resources available to you that might help. It’s important to keep in mind that there are always people available to help you to complete your goals, whether they be parents, teachers, tutors, friends, or otherwise, but you must first set your goals and attempt to achieve them to the best of your ability.
How do you think students should monitor their progress in completing goals? What should students do if they get off track?