Goal-Setting for Spring Success

by: Alicia Rosas

As you drift into the second month of the new year, think about all of those resolutions that have (or have not) followed you into February. Maybe you wanted to get into a better exercise routine, spend more time each week studying, or raise your GPA this semester. Whatever the goal, here are some strategies for effective goal-setting for college students!

What’s the purpose of setting goals?
Goals provide direction for your effort. By setting a goal, you tell yourself where you want to go from where you’re currently at.
Goals are directly linked to motivation for a task. When individuals set goals, their motivation to complete that task drastically increases.
Goals provide a starting point. Effective goal-setting will help you find a place to begin achieving what you set your mind to.

What kind of goal-setting strategy should I use?

I believe that the goal-setting strategy you use depends on what kind of goal you want to set. Are you looking to set a personal goal, such as a health-related goal? Are you looking to set an academic goal, like raising your GPA? Or are you looking to set a career/professional goal, such as using a better time management system or working towards applying for an internship?

Your goal-setting strategy should depend on your investment in your goal. Is this a short-term or a long-term goal? Is this a goal you would like to build upon later?

There are two really effective strategies I’ve seen for setting goals: SMART goals and Bucket-List/Vision Board style goals (specifically the Impossible List).

  • SMART Goals can be used for a variety of tasks you want to accomplish, no matter the type of goal you’re looking to set.
    o Specific: a target area for improvement
    o Measurable: contain a number/quantifier for tracking progress
    o Achievable: possible with your existing resources
    o Relevant: something you want to actually accomplish
    o Time-Bound: will occur within a certain period of time
  • Impossible List Goals: these elaborate on each goal you set before them – set your expectations to a specific and achievable goal, within a certain amount of time (the next 5 years, etc.) and build upon that goal once you achieve it. Specify which goals you are currently working on.

Tips for Setting Effective Goals:
1. Reflect/Evaluate: Take time to think about what process you used, your outcome, what you liked and disliked about what goals you’ve set before and how you set out to achieve them.
2. Define: be very clear and explicit about your goals that you’re achieving. The clearer you define your goals, the easier it is to work towards them.
3. Accountability: Have someone/something help hold you accountable for achieving your goals. Maybe this is paying the registration fee for a race you want to run, or maybe it’s making regular appointments with your professor to discuss your GPA.

For more information about goal-setting, visit:
Want to set goals with an Academic Coach?
The Learning Center
Holden Hall Room 80
(806) 742-3664

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