Ahhh, a new year and the opportunity to make new resolutions! The act of making these resolutions can prompt you to evaluate and clarify your goals. Given the fact that so many resolutions revolve around one’s career, the OITE often takes advantage of this time of the year to help guide you in your resolution making. For example:
- In 2012, we made a month by month calendar for your career success. Check it out! These steps are still valid today in 2015.
- In 2014, we outlined key competencies that are vital to your career development and should be a part of your personal plan for career success.
As you can see, we are fans of resolutions, but many of us can attest, our resolutions and our good intentions often fail. Why is this? Many times, it is because we don’t make SMART resolutions.
SMART is an acronym used to describe goals and it stands for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Time-bound
SMART goals are clearly defined so it is easy to determine whether you succeeded or fell a little short. Many resolutions are much too vague. A common New Year’s resolution is “lose weight.” Making this a SMART goal would turn this statement into “Lose 15 pounds by August and have kept it off until December.” Another frequent resolution is to “save more money.” Making this a quantifiable goal is an easy semantic change of “Have at least $5,000 in my savings account by July.”
These examples can give you an idea about how to make your goals more specific (S), measurable (M) and time-bound (T). However, only you will know what is attainable (A) and realistic (R) for yourself. Deciding what is attainable and realistic for you in this moment is a very personal decision, but remember that accomplishing something new often requires change and effort to disrupt the status quo. It can be easy to change your desired goal because of an arisen challenge mid-way through. We encourage you to find that tricky balance between challenging yourself while managing realistic expectations.
Making SMART goals can be difficult, but meeting with a career counselor can help. We look forward to working with you to achieve your SMART career goals in 2015! Happy New Year!