How goal setting helps your study

Start by deciding what you want to achieve (your goals) then write them down. This makes them more real and helps you to commit to them. Display your goals somewhere prominent to keep reminding you of them. It also serves to reinforce your goals.

Don't forget to review your goals at regular intervals to makes sure they still work for you.

SMART goals

When you set your goals, it's important to make sure they're SMART goals. SMART is an acronym to help you formulate your goals. It stands for:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable (or Meaningful)
  • Achievable (or Acceptable or Action-oriented)
  • Relevant (or Realistic)
  • Time-framed (or Time-Bound)

Some examples of SMART goals:

  • Specific - For example, 'Complete Module 1, Chapter 1, pages 1-35', rather than 'Read the first part of the learning material'.
  • Measurable - This means you can measure what you've done. For example, if your goal is to 'Complete the activities on page 35 by Friday afternoon' you'll be able to measure whether or not you've achieved your goal.
  • Acceptable - Are they your goals and are they acceptable to you? Ensure you decide what you need to do, not someone else
  • Realistic -Make sure that what you've planned is doable. You can read 35 pages in a day or so, but setting yourself 350 pages to read in a day may not be realistic.
  • Time-framed -  This means giving your goal a deadline. For example: 'I'll read chapters 1 and 2 on Thursday afternoon', or 'I'll complete the draft of my assignment by the end of this week/date'.

More about setting goals

Goal setting - Cal Poly website (opens in a new window)

Goals and motivation - Massey University website (opens in a new window)

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