Setting SMARTR Year-Long Goals

Can you feel it in the air? The warm breeze, the salty air, the background humming -- summer is here, and it's in full swing. I'm sure you have your calendar packed with pool parties to attend, weekends at the beach, or extraordinary adventures around the world. Summer is the season of fun new narratives in our lives.

As you live through it, though, you know a different season is approaching -- enjoy every bit of fun as studying is on the way. Rather than let it daunt you, why not prepare for it and embrace it? Tackle your year and make it your best one yet.

The first thing to do, if you haven't done it yet, is to get yourself a Bullet Keeper. I cannot stress how incredible this planner is.

The new design is even better, as now you can choose on which day your week starts -- I'm one of those whose weeks start on a Sunday, by the way.

So once you get yourself a yearly planner, what do you do next? Well, now your start by setting yourself some goals, of course. How else can you make it the most productive year of your life?

Don't worry, though. Whatever your goals may be, you can apply what we're about to discuss.

Set Yourself Smart Goals

Before you say, "This isn't news for me," this is still the best method you can apply to achieve your goals. Employing the S.M.A.R.T. approach will ensure your success along the year, and it will help you keep focused on the road ahead.

For those unfamiliar with it, SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

This principle states that if you can specify your goals, measure their success, make them achievable and realistic, and tied them to a time-frame, you will be successful.

How Do You Smartify Your Goals?

Instead of telling yourself, "I want to pass all my exams," think of what you need to do to achieve it. Maybe start with, "I will study for my exams," as that will be the building block to achieve your ultimate goal of passing your exams.

Now that you figured out your goals, it's time to measure them. When your only intention is to "study" without any kind of metric, your determination will quickly fade. Instead, you should set measurable goals, say, "I will study x hours per day/week."

Or you may want to say, "I will complete x amount of exercises per day/week." In either case, you can easily measure your progress and success along the way.

Once you break your big goal into smaller milestones, you need to be confident you can achieve them. There's no point in telling yourself you'll study 5 hours per day when you know you have other responsibilities in your life. Always make sure you have the right conditions to achieve your goals -- whether these are physical or mental resources.

It's time to make your goals realistic. You already know you can achieve it -- you have the right mindset, you are motivated, you know what these goals mean to you. Now you need to make sure you keep your focus and motivation.

To do that, start small and commit to 1 hour per day, or however much you feel confident in achieving. If it's only 30 minutes, that's okay, too. What's important here is getting started. You will feel motivated to keep going if you can achieve a goal you set for yourself.

Finally, it's essential you make it time-bound. It may be a realistic goal you are confident you can achieve, and you may be able to measure it -- but when exactly are you going to do it? Don't fall into the trap of making a mental note of your goals, write them down instead! If your goal is to study for 1 hour per day, write it down on your monthly planner. With the Bullet Keeper, you can easily assign yourself daily, weekly or even monthly goals.

All Work and No Play? Who Are We Kidding?

I'll let you in on a little secret of mine -- while I may be a passionate follower of SMART goals, I have made mine smarter. You may be all fired up to knock down some milestones but if you don't Reward yourself, you'll lose your momentum.

I made it a habit to always reward myself whenever I achieve one of my goals, however small it may be. You should, too. Whether you want to purchase a new item, visit a new place, or simply watch the newest Netflix movie, make sure you allocate enough time for rewarding yourself.

Go on, now. Grab a notebook, an agenda, or your friendly planner and start writing down your SMARTR goals. You know what's the road to success so what are you waiting for? May your next year be great again.