Early is on Time. On Time is Late. Late Always Loses: Measure Your Goals
This month I'm talking to you about setting goals and why doing so is the difference between success and failure. To make it tangible (adj.: real, concrete), I'm coming at it from the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting model which encourages that goals you want to achieve are:
Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-Bound
Last week I highlighted the difference between being specific and random and how each can affect an outcome. When you're specific, there is no reason anything should be lost in translation - if I ask for a trim at the salon, I shouldn't walk out with a shaved head. If I order a burger at a restaurant and it hits the table rare, I cant' be mad since I didn't say I wanted it medium well. The same goes for setting a goal you desire to achieve, if you want to get straight A's this semester, what are the steps you need to take to get there? It's not as simple as saying, I'll study. Here are some questions to ask yourself that fall in line with the S.M.A.R.T. way of goal setting to help you do your best to get those A's!
1. How many hours in a week can I commit to studying? 2. How will I break down my study time? (1 hour to math, 2 hours to science, 45 minutes to ELA, 45 minutes to Social Studies) 3. Are there any classes I need extra help? 3a. If so, when/what day will I speak to my teacher to set an appointment to go over what I'm struggling with? 4. When are my papers due & tests/quizzes (by class) happening this semester? 5. Do any of my classes offer extra-credit work? 5a. If yes, when does my schedule allow for me to complete said extra-credit assignments? What are the due dates for the assignments?
The point of goal setting is to create a path for yourself to an outcome, or better yet, a win. Small wins toward achieving goals keep you encouraged and inspired!
This week we're going to look at what being intentionally measurable in setting goals means.
Let's take the above example and change the goal to getting a 90% average this semester (straight A's would make the question too easy!), what benchmarks - in other words, measurements - would you use to gauge how you're progressing? How about setting up an excel sheet that keeps track of your grades on tests, homework and extra-credit assignments? Does class attendance and/or participation play a part in your end of semester grade? Add that in too! Can extra-credit assignments help you reach your goal or even take you over the mark?
The most important part of measuring your goals in any situation? Review what you've accomplished along the way! In our scenario above, go over your numbers a few times during the semester to see where you stand and if you need to step things up, you'll have time to do so as opposed to waiting until the end when semester grades are final and released. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continue exude (verb: display, emit) the effort required to reach your goal.
So, what's your end-game? Use measurable steps as the ultimate way to reach your goals so you're not caught out there late, playing catch up or worse, miss achieving a goal when you could have reached it if you just kept on top of things a little closer.