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The dissertation writing process is a long one – the dissertation process itself is more like an Ironman triathlon than a quick sprint. It’s long, arduous, and a test of perseverance. It is an endurance event, and in order to reach the finish line, setting smaller goals along the way is crucial. Short-term goals help keep you on track, maintain your motivation, and help you focus on your larger project. It’s important, though, to make sure these goals are SMART goals. No, not intellectually astute, but:

Making your goals SMART goals will build confidence and assist you in planning your dissertation timeline and work schedule. You’ll be able to see the clearly outlined SMART goals and develop a plan from there.

For instance, instead of simply saying “I want to finish my entire dissertation in a year,” a SMART goal would be to say “I want to finish a rough draft of my Literature Review and send it for editing by March 2nd.” In the latter, you’ve broken a large, possibly unattainable goal down to a specific and realistic goal with an established deadline. You can then make another goal for the next chunk of work – and plan your schedule and timeline accordingly.

In addition to setting SMART goals, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

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