Goal-setting strategies for students in the New Year

As the New Year approaches, we’re likely to hear a lot of talk about resolutions. While it’s easy to set goals, it’s more difficult to stick to them. Unfortunately, this is why so many New Year’s resolutions fall flat so fast. Whether your goals for 2019 are related to your personal, professional or student life, it’s important to be realistic. The “SMART” method of goal-setting is a process that helps to map out your resolutions so that they’re achievable. If you haven’t heard of this method before, here are the details.


Your goal should be narrow, instead of broad, so that you know exactly what you’re working towards. So, if your goal is to simply get an internship in a hotel, it may be too generic. Ask yourself, when should this internship start? What city do I want to work in? What job role am I aiming for? You can see how answering a few extra questions helps to define what you’re working towards.


Goals that can be measured allow you to track your progress. This will help you to remain focused and meet your deadlines. Using the example of obtaining an internship, a measurable goal would outline the steps you will take to achieve this. For example, how many hotels will you apply to? How many cold calls will you make?


This is an area where most goals fall flat. If your resolution is not attainable or realistic, it’s less likely to happen. Looking at our internship example, getting an internship at the most expensive hotel in Las Vegas is possible, but maybe not realistic for a student studying in Toronto. An internship at the Hyatt in downtown Toronto, however, seems much more plausible. It’s important to dream big, but without actionable steps to get there, your dreams might never become reality.


Relevant goals are those that align to you and with you. These goals are ones that make sense based on where you are in life. For example, you may have a goal to own and operate your own hotel. This is an ambitious goal, and one that is entirely plausible. But, for a hospitality student, it might not be relevant right now. This could be a long-term goal for the next 10 to 20 years. If you’re the life stage of pursuing internships, it could take some time before you own your own enterprise.


Time stamps will help break down your goal into manageable sections. Consider these as stepping stones. Even if you’re only pursuing an internship, it will take many steps to get you there. Break down your goal into sections, and set a goal date for each one. For example, you might apply to three hotels every week for two weeks. Then you might follow up with each application for two weeks. Smaller goals like these within the scope of your original goal gives you actionable steps leading you to your final destination.

By applying the SMART method to your New Year’s resolutions, you can achieve a clear and focused path towards achieving them. It can also help you by setting small steps and deadlines towards your larger goals. As you think ahead about the New Year, apply the SMART method to your resolutions to ensure you’re setting realistic goals that you will actually accomplish.