Learn how to set SMART goals to succeed at university and beyond.
Why set goals?
Goals are a great way to stay focused and work out what’s important. Having long-term and short-term goals can help you be more productive and get more out your time at university.
Goals can be big or small, long-term or short-term.
- Short term (Today, this week, this month) – Finish an essay; Get a part-time job
- Mid-term (This semester or year) – Improve GPA; Get an internship
- Long-term (1-5 years) – Finish your degree; Post-graduate study; Graduate programme; Travel
Start with ideas
Some examples of goals might include:
- Keep on top of the readings each week.
- Get accepted into Law School at the end of this year.
- Become fitter.
- Get a part-time job.
Below are some ideas to help you find inspiration:
- Check out Careers Development and Employability Services (CDES).
- Talk to your peers, family, and friends.
- Join a club, society or association.
- Explore options to study abroad with 360 Auckland Abroad.
- Learn about leadership and volunteering.
Once you know what you want to achieve, turn your idea into a SMART goal.
What’s a SMART goal?
Using the SMART goal system will help you to set concrete, measurable goals:
- Specific: Add specific details so you know what you’re aiming for.
- Measurable: Make sure you know if you have achieved your goal or not.
- Achievable: Use your goal to stretch yourself, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed and give up. Is the goal realistic?
- Relevant: Make your goal meaningful. Why is it worthwhile? What are the benefits of achieving it?
- Timely: Give yourself a deadline to complete the goal.
Once you have some concrete goals you can start breaking them down into smaller, more achievable steps.
Short-term, modest goals: I will do all my readings every week.
Is it SMART?
Specific: Every Sunday I will make a list of readings and schedule time to complete them.
Measurable: I know how much I have to read.
Achievable: I can tick off each reading as I do it.
Relevant: The assigned readings are based on a reasonable workload expectation.
Timely: Every week.
Mid to long-term goal: Get into Law School at the end of this year.
Is it SMART?
Specific: I’m accepted into Law
Measurable: I’m either accepted or rejected.
Achievable: Pass LAW 121G and LAW 131. GPA of B+ to A- for all papers.
Relevant: I want to study law so I can influence policy and create change in the future.
Timely: End of this year.
Try it yourself
Think of something you would like to do or a goal you would like to achieve. Use this worksheet, Setting SMART goals, to turn that idea into a SMART goal.