Making SMART Goals for the New Year

It’s 2020! The beginning of a new semester or quarter makes many college students think about what goals they can set in order to get the best start to the new year.  Whether your goal is to keep your room clean, improve your study habits, or find a job or internship for the summer, you should keep the acronym S.M.A.R.T. in mind. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  In order to better understand this concept, I am going to use an example goal of getting good grades in school.

Be specific

To make this goal specific, you should be descriptive about what you want to improve or achieve.  Rather than simply saying that you want good grades in school, you could make your goal be to receive grades high enough to be recognized on the Dean’s List. You can get on the Dean’s List by having a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Being specific makes it harder to defer from it or change it once you have made it.

Make it measurable

A measurable goal is one that you can track your progress in.  For this goal in particular, you can track your progress by looking at your school portal which displays your scores on tests, assignments, and participation.  This will allow you to gauge how well you are doing and if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. Making it measurable will also help you recognize when you need to improve.

Require attainability and relevance

Goals that are attainable are realistic and can be achieved if you put in your best effort.  Receiving a 3.5 GPA in school is an attainable goal if you know you are capable of getting A’s and B’s in your classes. It is also important to make sure that your goals are relevant to who you are and who you want to become.  Being recognized on the Dean’s List is relevant to me because I am a student, and I am trying to receive the best grades I can during my college career.  

Define your timeline

Lastly, your goal should have a clearly defined timeline, including a start date and end date. In order to satisfy this requirement of SMART, you can state that you want to earn a place on the Dean’s List this quarter.  That means that you have set three months for yourself to put in your best effort to achieve your goal. Making a timetable will help you stay motivated to actually get the goal done and not continue to put it off.

Many people give up on goals, but using the SMART criteria when setting new goals will help you keep on track to actually get them done. By constructing your goals around these five attributes of SMART, you are sure to be on your way to a great year. 

Pearson Students: What are your goals for the new year? How are you going to accomplish them? Share by commenting below!


Kristi Yamashita is a third-year student at the University of California, Irvine. She is studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Organization & Management and Marketing. Kristi is a member of Tomo No Kai (a Japanese/Japanese-American cultural club) and the LEADS Program (Leadership Experience and Development for Success). She is also the Pearson Campus Ambassador at UC Irvine. In her free time, Kristi enjoys playing volleyball and dancing. She also loves to travel and cannot wait to go to Germany and Poland in March.
Read another blog by Kristi here.

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1 Comment

  1. David Armstrong 12 months ago


    Great post! I appreciate the comment around making your goals measurable. one of our team goals this spring will be to actively raise money for The Wounded Warriors Project through a local Triathlon. Our goal, will not only be to raise month for this charity, but to actively bring awareness to the foundation while getting in shape!

    Hope to see you and your fellow PCA’s at the event on May 3rd in Mission Beach…


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