Sometimes, our New Years' resolutions get away from us. Other times, we focus too intensely on the big picture of our lives and how we'd like to change holistic, all-encompassing habits; that can leave our other commitments feeling like small potatoes.
For those in such a situation, setting semester-specific goals can help us remain focused on what we want out of our academic journey.
From September to December, there are 13 weeks left in the academic year, leaving plenty of time to keep oneself on track!
Our goals should be S.M.A.R.T!
Specific — Clearly defining what success looks like
What do you want to accomplish?
When are you going to set aside time for this?
Why do you want to see this through?
Measurable — The way you’ll be keeping yourself on track
If your goal is to gain something or give up something, how much?
How will you know when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do?
Attainable — Tailor your goal to your lifestyle and your commitments
What tools do you already possess, or need, to make sure you succeed?
Take stock of the resources available and what you already know you can do.
Realistic — Double-check that your goals are achievable without superpowers
Setting a goal that is too high or with too quick an end date can discourage you.
If you find yourself with an unrealistic goal, think of ways you could shape it into something with more grace and wiggle room for the unexpected.
Timely — Take note of your timeline
How much time do you have to get these tasks done?
For example, September to December is thirteen weeks.
After identifying the big picture, think of how you’ll periodically check in with yourself before the end date.
Plan your reward!
Accomplishment is, of course, its own reward, but when setting a goal for the semester, you can look forward to something for yourself other than the satisfaction of seeing a good grade.
Go somewhere special, celebrate with your family at a dinner party, or get yourself something you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Kindness with yourself doesn’t have to be reserved for pure victories either; if you nearly make it but just miss, or get way off track along the way, try and connect with friends and family who support you and want to see you succeed the way you want to next time.
Here’s an example list of S.M.A.R.T goals for you to take on, or adapt to yourself.
I will study the assigned reading for an hour with a tutor twice a week until the end of the semester.
I will join a small study group of my peers and a tutor twice a week until the end of the semester.
I will visit my professor’s office hours online or in person to ask questions and get feedback on assignments once a week until the end of the semester.
Whenever we are assigned an essay, I will set up a one-on-one appointment with the Reading and Writing Center online or in person to brainstorm and pre-write before I start my first draft.
I will read one book for fun outside my assigned reading once a month until the semester ends. [This could include graphic novels, audio books, and more!]
I will write my upcoming assignments down in a physical notebook at the start of every week until the semester ends.
I will ensure I get eight hours of sleep by setting my phone aside thirty minutes before bed every weeknight until the semester ends.
I will meet with the career center to (find a job/internship/learn more about a career path) twice a month until the semester ends.