New Year, SMART-er You | Part Two

monarch caterpillar eating a leaf

You now know how to set good goals using the SMART Goal setting method, ones that are specific. We worked through several questions and came up with an example goal:

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can help families through difficult situations with grace.”

Let’s continue using our example goal and examine what it means to make a goal measurable and how to do so.

Some goals are inherently easy to measure. Let’s take applying for college classes. You can make it easy to measure by creating a to-do list like this:

  • Fill out application
  • Send official transcripts to Geneva College
  • Once accepted, complete Student Acknowledgement Forms
  • Register for Classes
  • Order Books

But what about more abstract goals? How do you measure their success?

This requires defining what success means to you in respect to your goal. Then, you need to determine what unit of measurement you can assign to ascertain the success of your goal.

Some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What does success look like to me?
  • What, if any, are the tools I can use to measure my progress?
  • How often do I need to examine my progress?
  • What does success look like to me?

For some, success might be turning all their assignments in on time. For others, they may aspire to a certain GPA or graduating with honors. It’s up to you to decide how you will determine success. Find a way that keeps you striving to improve, but that also makes you satisfied with the results.

What, if any, are the tools I can use to measure my progress?

Progress can be measured in a variety of ways. As you complete assignments and courses you can check them off a list. Try crossing days off your calendar or keep a countdown clock for graduation. You can even keep a check on how you feel at the end of the week on a scale of 1-10.

Enlist the help of a willing family member or friend to keep you accountable for your progress. Take advantage of any programs your college or university might offer in success coaching or counseling. Geneva College provides a Student Success Coach to work with each online student to help keep them on track with completing their assignments.

How often do I need to examine my progress?

Some goals will require you to set a timeframe for you to re-examine yourself. Geneva College has made this process easy by setting up a weekly schedule you can stick to so you can monitor your progress.

Every week follows this structure:

  • Monday – Session Week opens so you can access your resources and do your reading
  • Tuesday and Wednesday – Post to the Discussion Forum (initial post due by 11:55 p.m. Wednesday)
  • Thursday and Friday – Respond to your instructor and classmates in the Discussion Forum and begin preparing your written assignments or take any quizzes/exams 
  • Saturday – Written assignments and/or quizzes/exams due by 11:55 p.m.

You will receive weekly feedback and grades for your assignments, quizzes, and exams; therefore, making it easy to monitor how you are doing and to make any adjustments or receive help to keep you on track.

With the aspect of being measurable taken into account let’s modify our goal to:

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can help families through difficult situations with grace. I will enlist the help of student services and get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate with honors.”

Don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach a goal milestone. Rewards can help you stay on track as well as give you motivation. Part three will examine what making a goal attainable means, and how to do it. Until then, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our student advisor for help in achieving your education goals.

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