Whether you are starting college or working toward an advanced degree, goal-setting is a trait of successful, motivated people. The key to doing well in school is setting defined goals and taking steps to complete them. Rewarding yourself and monitoring your process can help keep efforts to reach your ultimate goal on track. Learn how to set goals that you can actually live up to and that will complement your future.
1. Set a long-term, specific, ultimate goal
Instead of just saying that you want to graduate from college in 4 years, say that you want to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 4 years. This makes it easier to follow steps and know where you should be at any given time during those 4 years.
2. Create easily achieved short-term goals
Think of short-term goals as stepping stones for achieving your long-term goal. For instance, if you want to graduate in 4 years, set a short-term goal for how many credit hours you need to complete per semester. Maintaining a certain grade point average is also a good short-term goal.
3. Monitor your performance
Tracking your progress is essential to achieving your educational goals. Write down your goals in a notebook or dry-erase board. Having your goals in sight while you are studying helps motivate you and keeps you accountable. If you see problems arising with your short-term goals, you are able to recognize this early and modify the situation accordingly.
4. Reward yourself
Several well-timed study breaks during a cram session can help relieve stress and keep you focused. When you accomplish a short-term goal, reward yourself with a movie, special dinner or shopping. Having something to look forward to after completing a goal can help give you an extra push when you are feeling unmotivated.
5. Share your goals with a supportive friend
This keeps you accountable. If you feel you are losing focus, talk to your support system. Good friends push you to what they know you are capable of doing.
6. Set goals that are realistic
It may not be a good idea to say that you want to be an astronaut if you hate math and science. Make sure your goals are in line with your capabilities or what you are willing to do. If you are not willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals then you probably will not accomplish them. If you want to be a doctor, realize that it will take you quite a long time to complete your education versus if you wanted to be a teacher. Knowing this ahead of time will save you from having to neglect your goals or from falling off track.
7. Research your educational goals before you set forth on your journey
If you want to be a teacher but the college you intend to go to is the worst in the state for primary and secondary education, it may be a good idea to change the school you want to attend.
- Vanessa Faultz, & Ana Chandler, eHow Contributors