As the new academic year is upon us, we may be thinking about accountability and measures of success in our work. In my seven years working with prevention professionals through EVERFI’s Alcohol and Sexual Assault Diagnostic Inventories, I have often been surprised by accounts of student affairs professionals who are not held to specific measures of success—yet who yearn for some accountability. It is true that being held accountable can prompt us to work more effectively. As you launch into the academic year, a time of fresh starts and renewed energy for your efforts, consider the following:

Focusing on what really matters: What are your primary goals for the coming year?

Well-considered goals can serve as a meaningful guidepost for prevention efforts and allow you to reflect on progress. If they are not already in place, the development of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific (SMART) goals is a good project for the new academic year.

Making progress: Have you put time on your calendar to devote energy to work toward these goals? Are you trying to do too much at once? Focus your time and energy on efforts that are proven effective and impactful rather than spread yourself too thin.

Identifying your milestones: How will you know you have reached your goals? What are your specific measures of success? Identify evaluation outcomes that will help establish and measure progress.

There are many ways to measure success, with no single right answers. You have probably already been asked to think about questions of accountability and goal-setting for this year. If you need a little guidance and inspiration, go ahead and block out some time on your calendar to watch this webinar recording that reviews Four Questions You Must Ask to Transform Your Prevention Strategy from Good to Great.