Setting goals is a good way to accomplish a particularly difficult task. Study skills are one such task that takes time and effort to master. By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals related to an area of your study skills that needs improvement, you will be studying like a pro in no time!
- Specific-Once you decide what all you want to work on, narrow it down to one thing. Be as specific as possible. Working out one problem at a time will make it much easier to reach your goal without spreading yourself too thin. "I want to be a better reader," is too broad. Be more specific such as, "I want to improve my reading speed." Write this specific area down on a piece of paper.
- Measurable-Goals can only be achieved if they are able to be measured in some way. For instance, instead of "I want to improve my reading speed," a measurable goal would be "I want to improve my reading speed by 10 words per minute."
- Action-This is the part where you decide how you are going to achieve your goal. Write this part as an "I will..." statement. Following the example given previously, your goal would now look something like, "I want to improve my reading speed by 10 words a minute. I will do this by skimming over words like 'the' and 'an'."
- Realistic-Make sure your goals are something that is within reach. "I will improve my reading speed by memorizing every word in the dictionary," is not reasonable for most people. Everyone has limits due to time, resources, or ability. Do not ignore these restraints or you will be setting yourself up to fail.
- Timeline-Set a date to accomplish this task. Make sure this date is both specific and realistic for you. "I will meet this goal sometime over the summer," is vague. Try something more like, "I will meet this goal by the first day of school next fall." This gives you a definite time to shoot for and will help keep you working towards the goal. Goals can take only days or they may take months or years. Just be sure to make it a realistic timeline for you and your lifestyle.
You now have the tools you need to be able to set a study skills improvement goal and reach it. What is it you would most like to improve? Sit down and write it out. Before long, you will be a study skills expert.