New Year, SMART-er You | Part Five

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Last week we discussed making our goals realistic, that this search for realism in our goals does not mean our goals are small or boring. Doing so helps us find out where our goal may need adjustment so we can reach it. There is one last step in the SMART goals process. You need to make the goal timely.

Timely goals are not only goals that are time-bound but goals that fit in the timeline of our life.

When a goal is timely it means that it has a due date. You have set in place when you want you finish your goal. By doing this you can keep yourself accountable.

A goal that is timely fits in your life’s timeline and is one that is appropriate for where you are in life.

Some questions you can ask yourself:

  • When would I like to have this goal completed?
  • How much time can I devote to this goal?
  • Does this goal fit in with the events of my life now?
  • Is reaching out for this goal the best use of my time?
  • When would I like to have this goal completed?

This is more than just picking a due date, though it is essentially what you’re doing. When deciding your completion date, take into consideration how practical that date is for the goal you want to accomplish. Some goals will have automatic completion dates. Going back to school to get your degree will have an automatic timeline for completion. There will be smaller timelines that will help to mark how far along in the program you are. The Student Success Coach will be there to remind you of important assignments and due dates.

If you aren’t quite ready to take on the task of going back to school, consider creating a due date for when you want to enroll and work towards the goal of enrollment. To quote Marie Forleo, “If it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t real,” make your goals real and schedule them!

How much time can I devote to this goal?

Having enough time to work on your goal is just as important as setting a due date. An undergraduate program from Geneva College will require 10-15 hours per week per class and a graduate program will require 15-20 hours per week per class. Do you have that kind of time? Or will you have to make it?

Does this goal fit in with the events of my life now?

You may feel that you just don’t have any time. Sometimes this is due to having more things to do than enough time to do them, and sometimes it is a matter of poor time management. An audit of how your spend your time may help you determine which it is and where those holes in your time usage are.

If the problem is too much on your plate, consider delegating tasks to others. Explain to them how much you appreciate their help in allowing you to pursue your goal.

If you find that you could manage your time better, try using schedules and to-do lists. Another helpful way to juggle your time is to set timers for tasks. It’s easy to get lost or sidetracked; but, if you set a timer and know that you only have that much time to spend on a single task, it helps you remain focused and get it done.

Is reaching out for this goal the best use of my time?

Any goal that you strive for will use up time. Reaching that goal should change you in a way that will make it worth the effort. Furthering your education is a goal that is certain to change you. Not only will you be learning valuable lessons from you professors, but you will also learn new habits, new ways of thinking, and make new connections.

We will now revisit our example goal one last time and adjust it to reflect timeliness.

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can complete my mission of helping families through difficult situations with grace. I will get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate. I will need student loans, grants, and scholarships in addition to continuing to work while receiving my education. I will take ownership of my goal by setting aside 15 hours a week per class for course work. I will take advantage of the Student Success Coach as soon I have a question or need help. I will enroll for the next fall start and graduate on time.”

You now have the tools to set and reach your goals. Start by making them specific, find a way to measure your success, sort out how to attain your goals by figuring out the roadblocks to your success, keep your goals realistic to achieve, and finally, set a timeframe in which you want to finish your goal. If you are ready to start down the path of earning your degree, contact our Student Advisor, and get the ball rolling in the right direction.

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