With the start of the new year, it’s the perfect time to make a clean slate and start thinking about what you want to accomplish in your CPA studies during 2022. Setting the standard as easily as possible will allow you to best use your time. This list will help you get started on how to set your new goals to ensure you reach your milestones, meet deadlines, and are kept accountable.
1. Evaluate yourself
To start planning for a goal, you should consider the things that you want to achieve. Categorizing what is important to you will allow you to create workable plans to get results. Be sure to write down these concepts. Individuals that write out objectives are more likely to accomplish them!
2. Define your goals
Once you have a high-level picture of your desires, you can get specific and define a course of action. Whether your goal is to complete all your PEP courses, pass the CFE, or achieve level 2 in PERT, ensure your goals are distinct and attainable. These goals should be separated into long and short term actions based on your priorities and your position.
The most effective way to set goals is by using the SMART method:
- Specific – Being specific makes it easier to focus on a course of action. For example, instead of having the goal to study more, try being specific about the time you plan to study at, for example, 6pm to 8pm everyday.
- Measurable – Be sure you can evaluate whether the goal was met. For example, aiming to achieve C in most AOs by the end of a module.
- Achievable – Be realistic in what you can attain for the given year. Keep in mind CPA timelines of exams, work commitments, etc. to determine what is accurate for you to invest your time in given the resources available to you.
- Relevant – Be sure to ask yourself if the goal is realistic and relevant to achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to pass the CPA Tax exam, your goals should be focused on the Tax module, tax studying, etc.
- Time-specific – Make sure your goals are consistent with your academics, work schedule and other responsibilities. Try to establish deadlines for each step of the process.
3. Execute your goals
As you execute and be consistent with your goals, priorities and circumstances may change. Your goals may evolve over time. It is important to recognize what is working and what is not, and revisit your goals frequently. For example, you may become unexpectedly busy at work, and using your lunch break to study may no longer be realistic. While it can be challenging to accept, it is important to recognize how a new or modified goal is a better course of action.
4. Overcoming Challenges
As you face certain challenges, you can set a goal on that particular issue. In some cases, overcoming a challenge might mean enlisting help. For example, if you are struggling with the CPA Core 2 module, it may help to find an appropriate tutor or study group.
There is no better time to start thinking ahead for what you want out of the upcoming year. It is not enough to have intentions, but the right framework to accomplish an idea. Setting goals will provide you with a greater sense of motivation and confidence. Be sure to reward yourself for your accomplishments!