Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals for 2021



The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here: the end of 2020.


I’m sure many of us rang in the New Year much differently than we typically would, but there’s one tradition we can still follow.


I'm talking about a New Year’s resolution — or in simpler terms, goal setting!


Goal setting this year will likely require a different course of action due to the uncertainty lingering around the pandemic.


The New Year grants us an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of last year, and create a new perspective or outlook for 2021. We can improve in areas we struggled, implement new ideas, routines, etc.


One area that many struggled in was education. Whether your child had to adapt to remote learning, college students couldn’t enjoy their normal four-year experience, or any other of the hundreds of unique and personal scenarios — everyone struggled in one way or another.


With everything going on, it's understandable that you may not be super keen to the idea of making any goals for 2021. But before you write the idea off, it’s important to know that goal-setting is actually more essential now than ever before! We have to set goals and expectations in order to maintain productivity and sanity.


Luckily, there’s a goal setting system used by many successful people around the globe: SMART goal setting. Here’s how to set goals while we continue to face uncertainty.


Using the S.M.A.R.T Goal System


The process of creating meaningful goals is different for each individual, but luckily there’s a tested and proven format you can use to get started — in comes the S.M.A.R.T goal system.

Firstly, let’s take a look at what “SMART” stands for:


  • Specific: The goal should have a clear, highly-specific endpoint. If your goal is too vague, it won’t be S.M.A.R.T.

  • Measurable: You need to be able to accurately track your progress, so you can judge when a goal will be met.

  • Achievable: Of course, setting a goal that’s too ambitious will see you struggle to achieve it. This will sap at your motivation, both now and in the future.

  • Relevant: The goal you pick should be pertinent to your chosen field, or should benefit you directly.

  • Time-bound: Finally, setting a timeframe for your goal helps quantify it further, and helps keep your focus on track.

Each S.M.A.R.T goal you create should have these five characteristics to ensure the goal can be reached and benefits the employee.


You see, when you make goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, you're increasing your odds for success by verifying that the goal is achievable, identifying the metrics that define success, and creating a roadmap to get to those metrics.

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Putting the System to Work


The S.M.A.R.T goal setting system brings structure and track-ability into your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, S.M.A.R.T goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal's attainability.


In every aspect of life — corporate, personal, etc. — S.M.A.R.T goal setting is one of the most effective methods for achieving goals. Many use this system due to its ability to evaluate objectives, its ability to provide transparency and clarifying how to achieve goals.

Here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal in action. a regular goal, that might simply read: “I will get a 4.0 GPA.”


On the flip side, a S.M.A.R.T goal sounds like this: “I will dedicate at least one hour a day and hire a remote tutor so that I can achieve a 4.0 GPA during the first semester or marking period of 2021.”


It’s important to remember that the clearer your goals are, the simpler it will be to come up with ways for you to achieve them. When setting personal goals, specificity is of the utmost importance. For example, just challenging yourself to “do more work” is way too vague — since you’ve got no way of tracking your progress, and no end goal in mind. Basically, if your goals aren’t quantifiable, then achieving success can be very challenging.


Knowing how to set goals using the S.M.A.R.T framework offers the details and context you need upfront.


Luckily, setting S.M.A.R.T goals isn’t difficult, it’s actually extremely easy. Just walk through each letter of the S.M.A.R.T acronym and fill in the blanks based on your objectives and goals.


There are a ton of templates out there that will easily aid you in creating and setting your goals. Here’s a few for your convenience:


· Template #1

· Template #2

· Template #3


Make sure you’re writing down your goals, setting regular check ins, and most importantly taking the time to celebrate wins — even the smallest ones! Remember, we’re navigating uncharted territory this year and we can’t be sure what to expect.


Setting your S.M.A.R.T goals will help you be prepared no matter what life throws at us during 2021.

P.S. Jill’s Tutors is here to help you achieve your S.MA.R.T goals! Just give us a call or text 512-812-9502 or email us at jillstutors@gmail.com — after that, we’ll set you up with one of our talented, remote educators.


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