CCU News / Opinion / World

College Students: Here are Five Ways to Help You Actually Reach Your Goals!

If you’re reading this you either shot for the moon and missed in the past or you’re adjusting your aim before you launch.
The temptation when setting goals is to just pick a direction and throw yourself at it, but this doesn’t work and if it does work, your results are going to end up being lackluster. So how do you shoot for the moon and not miss the mark? You need to make S.M.A.R.T. goals by asking yourself a set of questions. Here’s what I mean by S.M.A.R.T.:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-Bound

First, is your goal SPECIFIC? Ask yourself: “What exactly am I trying to accomplish?” “How am I going to accomplish it?” “How am I going to break down each task?” When you know exactly what needs to be done, a clear path to success takes shape.

Speaking of success, you want it to be MEASURABLE. What does success look like when you reach your goal? What all needs to happen before you are satisfied? How do you know you’re on the right track? On top of knowing how well you’re doing, measuring success can help keep you motivated. Whether it’s the miles ran a week or X’s on a calendar, make sure success is measured tangibly.

Next, is your goal ACHIEVABLE? With the assets that you already have, can you realistically reach your goal? No one likes to set a goal, put effort into reaching it, and fall short. Brainstorming based on the resources you have is crucial for success. Think about the systems you can put into place to get you where you need to go and make the journey easier. Systems can be as simple as laying out your gym clothes the night before, having a friend or two to hold you accountable, or putting food on the counter.

Maybe your goals are realistic, but are they RELEVANT? Before starting your journey, it is very important to ask “What is the big ‘why’ behind my goal?” “If I had a mission statement what would it be ?” and “Does this goal line up with that mission statement?” If your goal does not match up with who you want to be as a person, you are going to be far less likely to reach it. If your goal actually does line up with who you want to be, it’s important to make that goal a part of your identity. Let’s say you’re trying to run a 5K for the first time, you have to start by telling yourself “I’m a runner.” If you do this, you will be significantly more likely to reach your goal.

Lastly, is your goal TIME-BOUND? When does your goal need to be reached? When are you starting? How long should each stage take before you reach your goal? If you schedule times for a task you are significantly more likely to reach it. This can be “I got to the gym every other day at 7 AM and I rest on Sunday” or “I want to stop biting my nails before my next birthday.”

If you want to succeed, the best goals are always specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Do your goals fit those criteria? Because if they do, shooting for the moon may not be rocket science anymore. Go get it.

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