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SMART Goals for Success

Updated: Jan 9

Can you believe it’s 2020 already? It’s the beginning of a new decade and everyone is preparing to set goals for the new year. We’ve prepared a detailed guide to create and completing your goals this upcoming year. Don’t just create a goal but make it a SMART goal.



S = Specific

Make sure that your goals are clear and specific. Goals that are too general will be more difficult to achieve. This also allows you to focus on a specific area you’d like to improve upon based on where you are personally, academically, and professionally.


M = Measurable

In order to track your progress, meet deadlines and stay motivated, it's important to have measurable goals. To do this, you should create your ultimate long-term goals along with daily and monthly goals. Then, you need to break down these goals into smaller increments.


If you haven’t yet, please buy a planner immediately (our newly designed Perfect College Student Planner is coming soon)! A well-detailed planner will help you organize your goals while holding you accountable. In addition to the planner, a To-Do list is equally important. A To-Do list details your daily task and what needs to be done for each day of the week. Forgetting your daily goals will create unnecessary stress and anxiety, oftentimes leading to failure in executing your plan. Stay organized and be strategic!


A = Achievable

Work towards a goal that is challenging but not impossible. For example, If you’re barely making ends meet, you probably shouldn’t buy a new car next week. Give yourself some time to work, plan, and strategize on the best route to achieve long-term success. Here, you are making yourself aware of potential resources that could position you to succeed such as your network, support system, skills you already have and could develop, etc.. Be sure not to create goals that are out of your control such as winning the lottery.


R = Realistic

In conjunction with being achievable, your goals should be realistic. Realistic goals mean that your goals are logical and feasible. For example, if you have not prepared yourself for a final by studying each day, learning new strategies to improve, and going to tutoring or your professor’s office hours when struggling, then you cannot expect to get the grade that you’re hoping for.


T = Time-Bound

Every goal that you create needs a target date. A target date gives you a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. It will also create a sense of urgency that will force you to limit procrastination. Doing this, helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When?

  • What can I do six months from now?

  • What can I do six weeks from now?

  • What can I do today?

The timeliness of goals can be a critical component of why goals fail. You want to have time-bound goals so that you can hold yourself accountable. If you don’t have a date for when you need to complete your goal, then it would be considered a dream and never a reality. This process should increase your chances tremendously of achieving all that you desire in your career.


“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” - Napoleon Hill


An example of a SMART goal for 2020:


GOAL: Buy a car

  1. Specific: I’d like to buy a car with 80,000 miles or fewer

  2. Measurable: I will saved $50 a week to save for the car.

  3. Achievable: I will visit one new dealership a week to compare prices. I will seek guidance from my support network. I will call around to different car insurance providers to compare quotes and contact my local credit union for financing options.

  4. Realistic: I can’t save for my car if I’m over spending on entertainment, material items, etc. I need to have a well balanced budget.

  5. Time-Bound: I will accomplish this by by August 1st, 2020.