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How to Set SMART Goals + 3 Goals for You to Use This Semester!

Everyone knows about the infamous New Year's Resolution craze that most people focus on leading up to January 1st. Oftentimes, "New Year, New Me" turns into "New Year, Same Me," meaning we keep the same bad habits that we thought we would change once the hype ends. Common resolutions revolve around areas that most of us can improve in, like fitness, healthy eating, school, and travel. To create resolutions that continue after January ends, we can use the SMART method to change "New Year, Same Me" into "New Year, Better Me!"

What are SMART Goals?

If you haven't heard of a SMART goal before, don't worry—it's not too late to learn! SMART is an acronym for a set of criteria goals should have to be the most effective. You may see some of the acronyms vary from expert to expert, but the gist is that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.

Specific: Rather than creating general goals, try to specify as much as possible (ex. "eat more servings of fresh vegetables" rather than "get healthy") 

Measurable: Structure your goals so that you will be able to see if the goal was achieved (ex. "walk for 1 mile every week" rather than "walk more") 

Attainable: The best goals are challenging, but not impossible. Be realistic with yourself and what you can handle at the moment—remember, you can always improve, and just because something may not be attainable now doesn't mean it won't be in the future. (ex. "work out 3 times a week" rather than "run a marathon tomorrow without training")

Relevant: Create goals that not only matter to you but will help you. It doesn't help to make irrelevant goals just to say you did it. (ex. a high school student wanting to improve their GPA for college applications so they make goals to do better in their classes)

Time-based: Having a time constraint will help you measure your goal and give you a time frame to achieve to avoid the abandoning of the goal after a few days (ex. Lose 10 pounds by March 31)

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3 SMART Goals you can Adopt for Spring Semester

Here are some goals you can strive for this semester or use them as a guideline to create your own!

  1. I want to earn at least a B in my Intro to Accounting Class this spring semester by attending all lectures and earning B's or higher on each exam.

    1. Specific: Intro to Accounting Class
    2. Measurable: Did I earn a B or better?
    3. Attainable: Is this goal possible given the proper preparation?
    4. Relevant: Am I wanting to get good grades this semester to improve my GPA?
    5. Time-based: I will know whether or not I achieve this goal by the end of Spring Semester
  2. I want to workout in the Ramsey Center 3 times a week (MWF) for 45 minutes a day this semester.
    1. Specific: Workout in Ramsey, the UGA Fitness Center (you can also add what machines you want to use or specific workouts)
    2. Measurable: Did I go to Ramsey every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 45 minutes this semester?
    3. Attainable: Do I have the means and time to go to Ramsey 3 times a week for 45 minutes?
    4. Relevant: Do I want to be more active this semester by using on-campus facilities?
    5. Time-based: Evaluate whether the goal was achieved by the end of this semester (May for Spring, August for Summer term, December for Fall).
  3. I want to attend 2 virtual Arch Ready Career Center Events every month this semester.
    1. Specific: Attend virtual Arch Ready events with UGA Career Center
    2. Measurable: Did I attend 2 events each month?
    3. Attainable: Can I attend these events; am I available during the times of the events?
    4. Relevant: Do I want to earn my Arch Ready Certificate by the end of the semester?
    5. Time-based: Evaluate whether I attended 2 events every month until the end of the semester.

Learning how to use SMART goals correctly will allow you to turn those goals from abandoned to achieved this year! Learning how to make SMART goals will help you not only in your academic career but in your personal and professional career as well. Once you find out how to make goals that can be measured and the time frame, you can figure out the steps you need to take to achieve those goals. We hope you enjoy this semester and achieve your goals!

For More on how to create SMART Goals check out these resources:

Mind Tools


Develop Good Habits

Brianna Mays is one of the Campus Correspondents for Her Campus at UGA. She was born and raised in Gwinnett County, GA. She is a Terry Business Student majoring in Management: Human Resouces with a minor in Spanish and Fashion Merchandising.
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