Crush Those 2021 Goals with These Tips

  • January 19th, 2021

Last year was full of challenging and unfamiliar circumstances. But a new year brings a fresh start, a chance to make resolutions and set new goals.

A student sets on a bench working on her computer on the UA campus.

The Capstone Center for Student Success can help students develop a plan and stay on track with free support programs. Dr. Jennifer Roth-Burnette, director of academic support, shares how students can find success in the new year.

How can students make and successfully stick to a plan or resolution in the new year?

We strongly recommend setting SMART goals—goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For instance, if a student struggled in a particular class last semester because they didn’t really begin studying until the midterm, then their SMART goal could be to study their notes for 45 minutes after each class meeting, and email the professor or attend tutoring for any concepts they did not understand. A relatively small change can make a huge difference in academic success.

What advice do you have for students to be successful this semester, despite the uncertainty of the times?

Students can be most successful by planning ahead. Use the beginning of the semester to get organized and write your weekly schedule in a planner or calendar. Include time to attend class and time to study or attend tutoring, but also include time to sleep, exercise, relax and spend time with friends. Also, write down how you will reward yourself after a successful week of meeting your goals.

Speaking of rewarding yourself, what other tips do you have for students to find balance?

We suggest that students strive to find a balance between study and rest, work and play. If you begin to feel stressed, remember to take a deep breath, take a break, take a walk, visit with a friend—something to break the stress cycle and help your brain and body find a place of calm. If your stress becomes overwhelming, remember that there are resources on campus like the counseling center to help you learn new coping and calming strategies.

How can students get help from CCSS with making a plan for the year ahead?

Our coaches, both peer and professional, work one-on-one with students to help them identify areas for academic and personal growth or improvement, set realistic goals, have accountability to meet those goals, and then continue building on that foundation. Students can request a coaching appointment at our website or by emailing us at

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.