How to Set SMART Goals
All of our goals may look different, but we must aim for them to be SMART. Whether you are starting a graduate program, transitioning into residency, or just taking the next step in achieving your goals, the foundational layout of your goals being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely will surely make them easier to tackle.
S: A specific goal. You will have to answer a few “W” questions: What do I want to accomplish? Who is involved? Where (location)? When (time frame)? Which (constraints/requirements)? Why (specific reasons, purpose, or benefits of accomplishing a goal)? For example, a general goal would be, “apply to graduate school.” Whereas a specific goal could be, “apply to five programs on the East Coast and five programs in the Midwest by their priority deadlines.”
M: To ensure your goal is measurable, ask:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
A: Goals at one point may have seemed far away or not within reach; when we move closer to our goals, they become more attainable with our personal growth, which fuels our abilities, skills, and dedication towards achievable goals.
R: Can you realistically achieve your goal? A goal becomes realistic when you believe in yourself and that you can do this!
T: Setting goals within a timeframe gives us that extra fire that we need to achieve them. If you want to apply to 10 programs in total, make sure to outline all due dates to work towards submission gradually.