Lose 10 pounds. Spend more time with family. Start on a new career path. Do these common resolutions sound familiar? According to research from the University of Scranton, just 8% of people successfully achieved their New Year’s resolutions in 2012. Are you one of the 8%? What kept you from achieving your resolution? One common reason that resolutions fail is that they are not goals. Goals are written down, focused, and detailed, while resolutions are usually general and vague. A proven way to set effective goals is using the “SMART” method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, and Timely.
Setting a SMART Goal
As a Ross student, you probably have many things that you want to accomplish during your time in school. Perhaps it’s perfect attendance, your first 4.0, or to score an interview for your dream job. How can you turn one if these resolutions into a SMART goal? Let’s start with a goal of perfect attendance.
Specific: A specific goal is easier to achieve because it is exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, “I want to achieve perfect attendance as a Ross student” is a lot more effective than, “I want to have better attendance.”
Measurable: How can you evaluate your progress? How do you know that you are getting closer to success? “I want to be in class on time every day” gives you a goal each day to track and to hold yourself accountable.
Achievable: What has been stopping you from perfect attendance in the past? Childcare? Transportation troubles? Do you have options to eliminate these obstacles? Perhaps you have been late a few times because of traffic. Waking up a few minutes earlier and leaving more time to get to class can solve that problem. By finding out what has been stopping you in the past, you are able to make your goal more achievable.
Results Orientated: What is your ultimate motivation for perfect attendance? Is it to stay caught up on class work? Is it because great attendance will make it more likely that you’ll be assigned your dream externship? Painting a vivid picture of where your SMART goal can take you will help you achieve it.
Timely: This one might be one of the easiest components to a SMART goal. What is the time frame to complete your goal? In the case of a Ross student, it can be in as little as 30 weeks to graduate a program with perfect attendance and gain opportunities for a great career!
After applying the SMART method to our resolution of “Have better attendance”, it becomes a goal of “Have perfect attendance for 30 weeks in the Medical Assistant program in order to gain an opportunity for an externship at a Pediatrics office”. Doesn’t that give you a picture of where the goal can take you?
What’s your New Year’s SMART goal? Is it a goal that will get you into a new career? How can you make a change today? Write down your goals, make a plan, and get started. Have a happy and successful 2014!