The new academic year has just kicked off and many of you are about to embark on a new journey or continue on your educational journey that will somehow improve the rest of your life.

Now let’s take a moment to consider two important questions you need to ask whilst you are on this journey; ‘How do you know if you are doing well?’ and ‘Are you where you want to be?‘.  Over the years, I have learned the best way to do this is by setting goals, without goals we are on an endless road with no sense of direction or purpose. Goals are a call to action.

You can’t just set a random goal, these goals have to be paramount and contribute to something BIG! As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog I use the SMART goal setting technique which stands for Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-Bound. Let’s consider these characteristics in a bit more depth.

Specific – Whatever goal you set should be part of the bigger picture. The much smaller goals have to be clear and well-defined, if not you will find yourself weaving in and out of tasks, not knowing exactly where to go. When you set your goals you have to review them and question whether they address exactly what you want to and whether they do actually help you in achieving your overall goal. If the answer is no then you need to re-think that goal until the answer to those question is YES.

Measurable – Is this goal measurable? Are you able to clearly see the impact or difference on completing the goal. Attach something tangible to the goal, so that you can assess your success over time. Working towards a percentage change or target grades can be one way of doing this. Monitoring your success in this way allows you to re-focus your efforts and energy if your first strategy doesn’t work. It provides you with the reason to switch up your game or approach. You will be forced to think about what’s going wrong or what you could do better to make sure that you meet your overall aim.

Attainable – Can this goal actually be reached? There is no point setting impossible goals for yourself. From my own experience, it only frustrates me and makes me doubt my own ability to work toward something that is not achievable. The trick is to set a goal which can be reached but will also push you to heights you have never been before. Slightly outside of your comfort zone but still rooted in reality. Once you’ve reached it you will feel that sense of accomplishment, a sense of dominance, a feeling like no other!

Relevant –Make sure your goal relates to your overall aim, if not then you’re simply wasting your time and in this world time waits for no one.

Time-Bound ­– Like I just said time waits for no man or woman. You must make sure you include a sufficient amount of time to reach your target. Your targets can be short or long term but you need to stick to the time frame you have set. Goals to complete by the end of the week, month, term, a year or next year will help you to hold yourself to account. The more targets you can smash through in a year, the closer you get towards achieving your overall goal!

An example of a SMART target

During my recovery from my severe epileptic attack three years ago, I set the goal of walking without aids. I wanted to exercise at least three times a week for 15 minutes over a period of three months. At the end of each month, I would note down progress in terms of the pain I felt, the strength in my knees and my balance. At the end of the three months, I was able to meet that goal. It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of time, effort and strength to not give up but I was determined I would recover.

I’m a guy who loves to smash targets; fitness targets, financial targets and business targets. This is my way of measuring my progress and bettering myself. Setting and acting on your goals will do nothing but benefit you! Get Goal Setting!