Earning your degree as a busy adult can no doubt be challenging and it can be easy to lose sight of the finish line and what exactly you're working so hard to achieve. To keep yourself focused and your eye on graduation, you need to set clear, specific and measurable goals.
1. Write Out Specific Goals
Regularly writing out your goals is an important part of your success and your career. Whether it be monthly or weekly, practice goal-setting by creating a list of realistic, attainable goals and placing it somewhere you'll be able to easily see everyday.
When writing your goals, be as specific as possible. Don't write goals like "Get good grades." Write exactly what grade you plan to get in each of your classes. Your grades should only be one part of your goal planning. Think about what you hope to learn, research or accomplish. Make sure to create goals that emphasize specific things that you hope to attain.
2. Ensure Your Goals can be Measured
The best goals are not only specific, but also measurable. Goals like getting a specific grade are very measurable; you simply have to check whether you are getting the grade you want to get. Learning goals, networking goals and other goals that are not tied to something tangible may be more difficult to measure. You can figure out the measurability by tying goal to achieving specific results within a set period of time. For example, you can measure whether, in the last month, you learned two new research techniques or made two new connections with colleagues in your field.
To make sure you can measure a goal, describe what the completed goal will look like. What will be different once you've achieved the goal? What, exactly, will you have accomplished? When will you have accomplished it by? Writing this out will not only give you additional insight and clarity, but can excite you about your goal.
3. Read Your Goals Daily
It's important to read your goals at least once a day. By reading your goals daily, you accomplish a few things.
• You keep your goals at the front of your mind. It's too easy to get distracted and engage in behavior that is counterproductive to your goals. If you keep your goals in plain sight, you won't be able to forget what you meant to do.
• You can make sure you are achieving your goals. By reading your goals daily, you automatically check whether you are progressing towards them. If you are not progressing adequately, you can evaluate why and change your behavior and priorities as needed.
• You keep yourself excited and motivated to achieve.
If you set realistic, specific and measurable goals in education and your career, you'll be prepared to accomplish more and build the life you want for yourself!