I’m a massive fan of setting goals. In fact, I attribute most of my achievements to actively setting goals, writing them down and regularly reviewing them. I set goals for my life, goals for this blog and of course, goals for the school year.
One of the reasons I feel like setting goals for the school portion of my life is because it gives me a chance to reflect on why I’m studying and why it’s important to me. It also gives me a chance to think about where I want to go and what I have to do to get there. For instance, I know that I want to become an educational psychologist and for that to happen I have to get admitted into a very competitive masters program. This means that while I’m currently happily sitting on a decent GPA if I want to achieve my goal I’m going to have to work harder and improve my Grade Point Average.
I set goals using the SMART method. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s basically all about setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals and for me, it’s the perfect method for setting my school’s goals for the semester.
Being specific with your goal setting is proven to lead to more success in achieving them. To be specific with your goals is actually really simple. All you need to do is think about what you want to achieve, for example, instead of saying you want to improve your grades you might say that you want to achieve a certain grade in a class or the GPA you want to reach.
To be more specific about your goals think about the Who, What, When, Where and Why. These will really help you to pinpoint a goal that’s specific!
Goals are best when you can measure your success along the way. Again, this is another super simple thing to do to tweak your goals. A really good example of a measurable goal is something like attending tutoring twice a week. You can track your attendance and measure how well you are achieving that goal.
Setting attainable goals is something most people struggle with, myself included. Personally, I tend to set my goals on the cautious side in fear that I can’t achieve anything better but that’s just as bad as setting goals that are way out of my reach. An attainable goal is something you know you can achieve with a little bit of effort and a lot of hard work. It’s something that will motivate you and drive you forward.
Another problem area for people who set goals. Being realistic is so important when setting goals, especially when it comes to education. If you know you can get A’s across all of your classes then that’s an awesome goal but there are some of us who no matter how hard we try, that goal is always going to be unrealistic and that’s okay. You want to set goals that aim high but that are still within your reach.
An awesome way to set realistic goals is to break them down into smaller goals. For instance, my goal career is to become an education psychologist but at the moment, that’s not realistic as a student, so my goals are smaller (such as doing volunteer work and shadowing an educational psychologist) and in the end, will help me reach that bigger goal.
Goals are best when you set a time frame around them. Anchoring your goals within a certain period also means that you can’t procrastinate on them. Do you want to lose 10 kilograms by the end of the year? Well, it’s already July, you know you better get to it!
Most of my school related goals are generally set for a semester. This way I’m able to review them and assess what works, what doesn’t and what I need to do in order to reach bigger goals. It also means that I’m able to set more specific goals like attending classes more regularly for the semester or achieving a certain grade in a certain class.
What are your goals for the upcoming semester or school year? Let me know in the comments below!