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What are SMART goals and why are they important?

Posted on 22/06/2016 by
The 'SMART goals' approach is a well-known style of goal setting that can be applied to your studies. Here's how SMART goals work and why they matter.

The ‘SMART goals’ approach is a well-known style of goal setting that can be applied to your studies. Here’s how SMART goals work and why they matter.

If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of studying from home, you may find that setting SMART goals helps you to stay on track. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Here’s some more information about SMART goals and how to set them.

Specific

Goals are more likely to be achieved if they are specific. For example, telling yourself ‘I’m going to read five pages of course notes this Saturday morning’ is far more effective than telling yourself ‘I’m going to do some study this weekend’. What does ‘some’ study mean? It could mean anything from five minutes to five hours. Don’t leave your study goals up to chance – be as specific as possible.

Measurable

You must be able to measure all of your goals. For example, ‘learn section B of the textbook’ is not as clear as ‘correctly answer all the practice questions of section B of the textbook’. Consider using number quantities (how much, how many etc) to set your goals and make them measurable.

Achievable

Make sure achieving your goal is actually possible. Too often we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and this leads to disappointment and frustration. Remember to leave more time than you think you need, and to plan far ahead – the last thing you want to do is get behind because you thought you could cram all your assignments into one weekend.

Relevant

A relevant goal is one that has meaning – one that matters. Ask yourself: ‘If I achieve this goal, will I be helping myself to get ahead? And does it fit in with my long-term plans?’. When it comes to study, we often convince ourselves that things like shopping for new stationery or cooking three-hour meals are really important. When in reality, pretty pens and gourmet meals won’t help you get any closer to your dream job. Focus on the goals that will get you the best results.

Time-bound

Last but not least, all goals should have a time limit. Without a sense of urgency, there will be no real motivation to complete the task before a certain time. Give yourself deadlines for all of your assignments (or follow the ones set out by your tutor!). Stick to them, no matter what – it might be tough at the time, but it will be so worth it when you’re graduating with your qualification.

If you are having time management troubles, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Study From Tutor and ask for advice – we have plenty more tips and tricks about staying on track.

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