When you’re setting goals, make them SMART

When you’re setting goals, make them SMART

And that doesn’t just mean making them clever… it’s a whole thing.

Tell yourself that you’ll never eat chocolate again or you’re going to read a novel every day, and it’s not going to happen. It’s an unrealistic goal that’s doomed to fail (give it your best though). Instead, when you’re setting yourself something to achieve, use the SMART system. That’s:

Let’s dig into that a little bit before you get started!

Don’t make a goal like “I’m gonna do better at school.” Well, that’s a good start but your actual goals should be more specific than that. Think hard about what you really want to achieve and make that the thing you strive for.

Measurable means you can keep track of how you’re going

In the same way, you should be working towards something that you can track. An obvious choice here is marks – throughout the school year you can have a good sense of how you’re going because, well, teachers give you points for learnings. But it could also be something like “I’ll do an hour of maths homework every night.”

Attainable means it’s something you can actually achieve

An hour of maths homework every night be doable, and it’s certainly more realistic than “I’m going to read an entire textbook every week.” Think about your other commitments in life, and how much time and energy you can put towards your goals. Don’t pick ones that are doomed to fail.

Relevant means umm… relevant

Remember up top where we talked about never eating chocolate again? That’s not relevant to a study-based goal, is it? Why are we even talking about chocolate? Instead, choose milestones that will help you in your glorious academic career. And wing us a Smartie, will you?

Time-bound means having an end point in mind

This just means you should have a finish line in your mind (and, more importantly, your calendar). “I’ll bring my average English marks up by the end of this semester” is one example. Another is “I’ll have read all the books on the syllabus by April.” Having that end point focuses your mission.


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Prep for Sydney Uni is a series of webinars and activities to help you get through the HSC and make it to the University of Sydney. You can receive free HSC support and tutoring, guidance on the next steps in the application process along with tips on transitioning to university. Hear from current students who have been in your shoes, staff who process applications and experienced educators to help you with all your HSC needs.

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