By Rod Powers

Setting goals is a good way to accomplish a particularly difficult task, like taking the ASVAB. Developing study skills is 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’ll be studying like a pro in no time!

S.M.A.R.T. goals are

  • Specific: After you decide what you want to work on, narrow it down to one thing. Be as specific as possible. Working out one problem at a time makes reaching your goal without spreading yourself too thin much easier. “I want to be a better reader” is too broad. Be more specific; for example, you may say, “I want to improve my reading speed.” Write down this specific goal.

  • Measurable: Goals are only achievable if you can measure them in some way. For example, rather than “I want to improve my reading speed,” a measurable goal would be “I want to improve my reading speed by ten words per minute.”

  • Action: This step is where you decide how you’re going to achieve your goal. Write this part as an “I will” statement. Following the previous example, your goal would now look something like, “I want to improve my reading speed by ten words a minute. I will do this by skimming over words like the and an.

  • Realistic: Make sure your goals are within reach. “I will improve my reading speed by memorizing every word in the dictionary” isn’t reasonable for most people. Everyone has limits due to time, resources, or ability. Don’t ignore these restraints, or you’ll be setting yourself up to fail.

  • Timeline: Set a date to accomplish the goal. 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.” Goals can take only a few days to years to achieve. Just be sure to make it a realistic timeline for you.