As 2017 draws to a close, many people are thinking about what they’d like to accomplish in 2018. Goal setting is a wonderful way to prioritize what you’d like to accomplish. Yet, many people find the process of goal setting an overwhelming proposition. In addition to following the SMART method for goal setting, which will be explained below, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
A Quick Refresher on SMART Goal Setting
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
The SMART process can be used for short-term or long-term goals. It can be used for personal or professional goals. A specific goal is well explained. There’s a big difference between saying you want to be a paralegal and you want to be a paralegal for [insert the name of one of the biggest law firms in your city]. Think about how you will measure your progress toward your goal. Then, consider whether the steps you need to take to reach your specific goal can be attained in the amount of time that you’ve set. Be realistic. Sometimes, life can be out of our control. Yet, with that being said, you do need to set a deadline or a timeline. This will help you continue to focus on working toward your goal while also allowing you to measure your accomplishments.
5 Questions You Should Use When Setting Your Goals
Now that you’ve had a refresher on the on the SMART goal setting process, use the following questions to help you set (and reach) your goals.
Have you written down your goals? Writing down your goals is important for two main reasons. First, it helps to get your thoughts down on paper. It makes it easier to visualize. Second, writing down your goals gives you something to read in the future. Some people write down their daily and weekly goals each day. Some people focus on monthly and yearly goals. Some people write down their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Many people will also write out three, five, and ten year goals. At the end of each year, written goals give you something to review.
Are you sure these are your goals? When it comes to goal setting, you’ll be most successful if you’re really working toward your goals and not toward goals that other people think you should pursue. It doesn’t matter if those “other people” are members of your family or members of your professional circle. While their input may be valuable, it’s important that your goals are yours. Working toward your own goals will help you stay motivated.
Did you remember to set a deadline? While the world won’t come crashing around you if you don’t meet your deadline, setting one is still important. If you don’t have a deadline, you could be more likely to procrastinate. So, remember that a deadline really is your friend. Besides, as a paralegal student, you must get used to the idea of working under deadlines.
Can your goals be adapted? It’s important to recognize that everyone experiences setbacks at various times in life. When your goals are adaptable, you’re able to continue working on them even if something comes up. Tomorrow is a new day. Next week is still coming. Setbacks don’t last forever.
What did you do to work toward your goals today? Hold yourself accountable each day for what you do (and what you don’t do) to move you closer to your goals. It’s your life. If you want to accomplish your goals, you have to make the hard decisions. You may have to do some things you’d rather not do. Ultimately, though, meeting your goals will make it all worth it.