Find your lighthouse: effective goal setting for students

Everyone knows having a goal is beneficial. But many people fail to make use of the goal they set. Few realize that goal setting is a skill that could be learned and trained. As a student, it's the best time to learn about goal setting and practice it at a early age, just like learning other skills and knowledges. This article will help you to know more about goal setting.

Why setting goals?

Apart from setting you up for success in school, goal setting benefits in many ways.

  • Accurate self-image

In the way working towards the goal, you will have a better understanding of yourself. You may adjust your self-image from time to time as you try out different possibilities. You are able to clarifying the path ahead.

  • Experience of success

Reaching a goal can provide a positive experience of achievement and personal satisfaction, which can boost your confidence and motivate you to strive for the next goal.

  • Focus on the priority

It's common to have many goals at the time. When setting and excuting goals, prioritization is essential. Learning to manage different goals and concentrate on the most important ones is not as easy as it sounds like. As you trying to arrange your goals, you are also learning to make wise decisions.

How to set a SMART goal?

One practical guide of goal setting is SMART. By following the rules, your goals will be more powerful and beneficial. SMART contains five main principles:

  • S – Specific. What EXACTLY do you want? A specific goal gives you a clear destination of where to go. With a sufficient direction, your effort will not be wasted and you can track your progress much easier.
  • M – Measurable. A goal without measure is like a game without rules. Assessing your progress based on your measurement keeps you motivated and on the track. So, instead of saying "I want to improve my math", set your goal to "I want to get an A for math for this semester".
  • A – Attainable. A goal is different from a wish. A goal should always be reachable through one's effort. Unrealistic goals can be very demotivating. But that doesn't mean you should set goals that are easily attainable since these goals do not require much effort and you will fear making setting tougher goals when getting used to easy goals. Therefore, a good goal should be realistic yet challenging.
  • R – Relevant. You may have many small goals to achieve the big goal step by step. It's better to keep your goals relevant and in line with your ultimate life goal. Such organized goals ensures your control of your life and prevent you from being distracted from the most important goal.
  • T – Time-bound. Every goal needs a deadline. Since many students are deadline-driven, a time-bounded goal would help you to approach your goal sooner, because it takes away your excuse for procrastination. So always set a deadline for your goal.

How to excute the goal

Goals well set, but life as usual. We have all been experiecing this: we never work out our great ambition as we wished. Here are some tips to help you work towards your goal.

  • Write down your goals

Crystalize your goals by writing them down and keep them visible. When you are writing down your goals, rememeber to use a positive and certain tune — always use "will" rather "might" or "could". This is a trick called self-fulfilling prophecy: people will live up to what they believe they would be. These physical reminders will help you to keep your goal in your mind and motivate you to work on it everyday.

  • Create your TODO list

Break down your grand dream into everyday practice. A TODO list break down the great picture by focusing on small pieces. It gives you a sense of control over your life because you already know what to do so you will not feel your time being wasted. It drives you towards a well-organized life.

  • Adjust your goals timely

No one can set perfect goals at the beginning. You may adjust your goals as you working on it. If you find a goal can be easily accoumplished, make your next goal more challenging. You will be better at setting goals through trial and error.

  • Reward yourself

It is important to keep your motivation for the upcoming goals. Most of the time, achieving a goal is the best reward already. But still, feel free to treat your and acknowledge your achievement! Such positive reinforcement can benefit the habit building and enhance confidence in a long run.

Now you have a better understanding of goal setting! Want to give it a try? One addtitonal tip for you: getting start NOW!