How to set goals in university

Do you have a list of things that you’d like to accomplish by the end of your term? Year? Course? Program?

Having a list of goals is a great way to stay motivated and reflect on what you want to get out of university.

Goal setting is an exercise that can help you think critically about your priorities. Goal setting can be broken down into five parts, each with their own ways of helping you achieve your goals.

Practice visualization 

Visualizing your success can help you think critically about where you are, where you’d like to be and how to get there.  

Engage in mindfulness 

Being mindful of your goals can help you be strategic about how to prioritize your commitments.  

Stay motivated 

Your goals are a great reminder of why you’re doing the things that you’re doing and your priorities.  

Reflect regularly 

Having goals can help you assess what you’ve done so far, what you have left to do and what you can do better to accomplish your goal.   

Build your resourcefulness 

Setting goals allows you to think about the type of resources and support you’ll need to help you achieve your next steps. It may be helpful to create a list of on-campus supports, resources and services.

If you’ve been convinced that making goals is an important part of staying on track in university, keep reading!

Part of goal-setting effectively is thinking about how each goal is relevant to what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re having trouble creating, understanding and defining your goals, think of SMART! 

SMART goals are a useful tool that can help in making sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

S: Specific

  • Specifically, what are you trying to achieve?  
  • What does achieving this goal involve? 

M: Measurable 

  • Is it possible to measure your progress towards achieving this goal? 
  • How will you measure your progress? 
  • How do you know that you’ve achieved your goal? 

A: Attainable 

  • Is this goal attainable?  
  • What makes this goal attainable?
  • What makes this goal not attainable? 
  • What can you do to make this goal attainable?  

R: Relevant 

  • What is the significance of this goal to you? 
  • How is this goal relevant to your program, discipline, etc.? 

T: Timely

  • When do you want to achieve this goal? 
  • Why do you need to achieve this goal at the time you’ve specified

You can use the goal setting worksheet to help you with this process. Once you’re happy with your goals, don’t forget to write them down or record them somewhere. Reminding yourself of your goals can help you track your progress. Revise them on an as-needed basis.  

If you need help creating SMART goals, book an appointment with a Peer Success Coach or see your academic advisor!