One of the most important things about setting goals, whether they are for school, work, or other pursuits, is that each one needs to be distinct, achievable, and rewarding in order to keep you moving forward. Before you set any major goals for yourself, try to ensure they meet the following "SMART" criteria:
- Specific – Know exactly what you need to accomplish and what you hope to gain from doing so, whether it's simply finishing a paper, writing a personal statement for an internship or scholarship application or finishing some research for a larger project.
- Measurable – Make sure you can easily evaluate whether or not your goal was met and how beneficial it ultimately was to you.
- Achievable – Be realistic when setting goals. This can help you avoid missing deadlines and getting behind, as well as giving you a more accurate overview of how much time you have to invest in other tasks throughout the week.
- Results-Focused – Have very clear, distinct outcomes for meeting your goals, and hold yourself to them.
- Time-Bound – Set a deadline for each goal or, for more complex tasks with multiple steps, establish deadlines for each major stage of the process.
Need more information? Try this video:
Or, take a dive inside the mind of a master procrastinator: