For me, the spring semester has always been a chance to start fresh, try new things, and rearrange my schedule! I typically create a list of things that I would like to begin, keep, or stop doing over the course of the semester, which I incorporate into semester goals. Creating these goals has been very beneficial for me in college, as it has given me points to focus on as I get through the semester, especially when I get busy! The method that I have found particularly helpful is writing your goals while remembering the acronym SMART.
S- Specific. You want your goal to be simply, and clearly stated, so that you know what it is that you need to do! Ideally, you want one sentence that could easily describe your mission. This is the “what, why, and how” of the SMART model.
M- Measurable. This is how you’re going to measure progress as you continue to work towards your goal. You can make this as big or as small as you like, though studies show you are more likely to stick with a goal if you plan for several smaller achievements along the way. Either way you are planning, you want to have tangible evidence that you are making progress!
A- Attainable. You want to set goals that you can achieve! It wouldn’t make any sense (not to mention be discouraging) to set a goal you are unable to achieve. That being said, you can achieve most goals with the appropriate amount of planning and a time frame that allows for it. The purpose of a goal is to challenge yourself! Just remember that you are much less likely to try and accomplish something if you believe it to be impossible.
R- Results Focused. Remember that your goals should focus on the end result, not what makes up the middle. Make sure you are writing goals that have specific outcomes, and are not just lists of activities you would like to be involved in.
T- Time Bound. This is probably the most important aspect of the SMART model! Your goals should be set within a time frame that allows you enough time to complete the goal well, but have enough of an urgency that you are motivated to get started!
In the day to day chaos of college, it is sometimes easy to forget about our overarching goals and just focus on the day to day activities! Hopefully this will help you get started on goal setting for the remainder of the semester, or even help you reevaluate your current goals and stay focused as the semester draws to a close.