Girl in a great jumper sits at a wooden table with her laptop open and notepad next to her, she is taking notes.

Goals: what are they are and how to set them

It might seem like an odd time to set yourself some personal or professional goals when there are only a few weeks left of 2021.

You might be thinking to yourself, “I’ll just wait for the start of 2022 to set myself new goals and start fresh.”

But the fact of the matter is that you can set goals whenever you like, so why not set yourself something to work towards and farewell 2021 on a positive note?

There is a difference between a goal and an objective

Terminology is everything when it comes to setting a goal. People will use the word’s goal and objective in the same sentence, and often refer to them as the same thing.

So, let’s break down the two terms and what they mean when it comes to achieving a task.

What is a goal?

A goal is an achievable outcome that is typically broad and long-term. For instance, you might set yourself the goal of receiving a distinction on a unit’s overall mark at the end of a trimester.

What is an objective?

HubSpot defines an objective as the specific, measurable actions you must take to achieve the overall goal.

Objectives are super helpful in understanding exactly what you are setting out to achieve and what you expect from yourself or others during that process.

So, if your goal is to get a distinction on the overall unit, then your objectives will include ways you can achieve that distinction. This might include setting yourself objectives to begin your assessments early, receiving 75-85% on assessments during the trimester, and staying on top of your weekly lectures and reading.

What are the different types of goals?

There are three different types of goals that you can set for yourself and including time-based, outcome-oriented, and process-oriented.

Time-Based Goals:

Time-based goals are trying to achieve something within a certain timeframe and can be short-term or long-term. The example of a goal to achieve a distinction on a unit is time-based because you set yourself until the end of the trimester to try and achieve this. You might remember a blog we did about S.M.A.R.T goals which is a way you can guide yourself when achieving a time-based goal.

Outcome-Oriented Goals:

Outcome-oriented goals are based on trying to achieve something at some point with no particular time frame but will often require objectives to determine when you might achieve this goal. An example could be you graduating from your degree or landing a job that you have applied for.  If the outcome-oriented goal is landing a job you’ve applied for, then your objectives might include writing up a cover letter, updating your resume, practicing job interview questions etc.

Process-oriented Goals:

Process-oriented goals are specific actions pr processes that you set yourself to reach a desired outcome. Process-oriented goals are often short-term or temporary. An example might be setting two hours aside every day during exam week to study or writing down the different tasks you need to complete in order to submit an assessment.

Whether you’re setting yourself a study or personal goal, it’s important to evaluate your progress along the way and celebrate any little wins you make!

With only a matter of weeks left for 2021… what goals will you be setting yourself?


If you need help setting goals, perhaps you should get in touch with PASS@UNE.

PASS@UNE is an academic assistance program facilitated by students, which targets traditionally difficult units. If you want to chat with the team you can contact them here.

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