“There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. —Nelson Mandela
College can be quite stressful given the number of responsibilities that fall on a single student. Assignments, exams, and other tasks keep on piling up, and this added pressure might cause you to fall behind on your studies, which will eventually land you in an emotional spiral. Developing the skill of goal-setting as a college student will help you overcome the added pressure.
Clear goals ensure future success
Experts suggest that college students set up concrete goals. This helps them traverse in a clear and right direction, determining what steps they need to take and how to fulfill these tasks.
Moreover, setting up successful goals provides you with the desired focus to excel in life. This post is all about goal-setting tips for students!
12 Goal Setting Tips for Setting Successful Goals for College Students
Setting up goals is not a single-step process.
You don't just think, "I want an A grade in my Biology course," write it on a paper, and believe that you are good to go. You have to walk through numerous steps, set smaller goals, determine priorities, and think of your strengths that will help you achieve those goals.
Let's go through 12 motivational goal-setting tips for College students that will lead you to Your Inevitable success:
1. Brainstorm Your End Goal
The first step is the easiest. Think about what you want to achieve at the end of the year or at the time of your graduation. Now this goal is specifically going to be on a larger scale. For example, you want to graduate in 4 years with a 3.8 GPA or have relative experience in your selected program at the end of your graduation.
visualize your success
Not only is this the easiest step in the process, but it is also the most important. When you engage in this visualization process, you should start to see all the wonderful possibilities of your academic success. You are in complete control of your thoughts and you can use them to serve you in this process.
As you visualize and brainstorm your end goal, be sure to write them down.
writing your goals down helps you earn more money!
Write down your goals
Previously, a Harvard Business School study took a survey amongst a group of MBA graduates. They were asked a simple question,
"Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?”
Ironically, only 3% of the grads had written their goals with concrete plans. Later on, it was found that those 3% of MBA grads earned ten times as much as the other 97 percent combined ten years after graduation.
Thanks To The Result, We Can Clearly See That Planning Goals, Setting Milestones, And Developing Strategies Can Lead Students Toward Success. The Most Important Advice To Take From The Harvard Business School Study Is That Goal Setting Should Be Done At An Earlier Stage.
2.Break Down into Smaller, Doable Goals
It's essential to set goals that challenge you but are still within the realm of possibility. So, don't set hard or highly challenging goals for yourself. The key here is to make your goals less burdening yet effective.
We are often so motivated at the time of planning that we set high goals for each day, and later due to exhaustion, we end up being demotivated to carry out the other remaining plans.
set small goals that lead to bigger goals
So, take it easy on yourself and break down your goals into smaller doable goals (such as getting an A in chemistry) so they become achievable for you. Remember, completing small goals leads to the accomplishment of bigger goals. This is why having attainable goals ranks among the top goal-setting tips for students.
3.Be More Specific with Your Goals
Try to be more specific about what you want to achieve as a specific goal is clearer and easy to understand. This sets a clearer picture of what you must do and aligns all your tasks accordingly.
For example, if you want to achieve a 3.8 GPA by the time you graduate, you would write your goal like this:
"I am so happy and grateful now that I have graduated from Auburn University with a 3.8 GPA by May 12, 2024."
Always write your goals down in present tense and add a specific date. This tactic helps keep your eye on the ball.
Another tip that comes in handy is setting realistic goals. Now, I rarely use the world "realistic" because if I were being realistic when it came to setting my academic goals, then I wouldn't be here now sharing this blog post with you!
Dream BIG but start small
It isn't realistic for a first-generation low-income student who was born into a family of 10 and later loses her father to cancer to be one of the top applicants admitted into an Ivy League doctoral program, but here we are 🙂
If I can achieve my academic goals, despite the many adversities stacked against me, then so can you.
I always say we can set relatable goals but never doubt what's inside of you. My hero, Les Brown, always states, "You have no idea what you are capable of and they don't either!" Believe in yourself and the beauty of your dreams but always set goals that are related to the type of life you want to live.
This way, your direction, and steps will be realistically determined when it comes to goal setting tips for students.
5.Determine Your Areas of Expertise
Although you must be a pro at many subjects, there might still be some subjects that can give you a tough time.
Follow your heart and academic strengths
My grades and overall college experience started to improve drastically after I chose a path that highlighted my academic strengths. I talk more about this in my previous blog post, HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EDUCATION: ADVICE FROM AN IVY LEAGUE STUDENT, if you'd like a deeper discussion.
When you make a list of your weak and strong subjects, put them in different columns, and determine which subject or topic needs more attention as well as those subjects and topics in which you can work harder and get an excellent grade.
6.List Down Your Personal Strengths
Take a little time and think clearly about your personal strengths and the soft skills you possess.
Determine what learning method works for you and develop strategies that will motivate you to achieve your goals.
7.Set Your Priorities
Priorities play an essential role in organizing your goals and plans and are one of the best goal-setting tips.
It is crucial to prioritize each of your tasks because it allows you to focus on important and urgent things first and then move on to lower priority tasks later.
8.Create a Realistic Timeline
Creating a realistic timeframe drives a sense of motivation in oneself. The deadlines push a person to strive harder and accomplish their set goals.
You can set realistic timelines on longer goals (such as first-year, sophomore year, etc.) and short goals (weekly, monthly, semester midterm, etc.). Every goal should have a dedicated deadline that you must strictly follow to keep track of your progress.
Write every goal down
Refer to my previous example in Step 3 and use that template to set both long and short-term goals for yourself as you advance throughout your educational journey.
9.Adapt to Change
We all know college can be very unpredictable. There can be various inevitable challenges that might come your way. They will stir your plans and make you feel demotivated to continue.
Don't make extremely rigid plans to avoid being distracted by these obstacles. Leave some room for changes so that you can reschedule and re-organize whenever it's necessary.
follow your "why"
Some of my best and greatest discoveries in college came from me being open to an alternative path but ALWAYS following my original plan to use my research to improve the lives of others. I remained true to my WHY (reason for pursuing my degree in the first place) and it lead me to some amazing places.
Giving rewards to oneself proves to be a strong intrinsic motivating factor. Be it short or long-term goals, don't forget to treat yourself!
Celebrate the small wins!
When you celebrate the small victories, your brain becomes conditioned to the chemical patterns of celebrating and wants more of it. Train your mind to lead you to your desired goal!
Go see a movie, grab that donut from your favorite shop, hang out with friends or take yourself on a day out. Give yourself anything that makes you happy because feeling good will eventually lead you to perform well in your academics.
11.Get Help Whenever Needed
College can be a tough time for a lot of people. You're dealing with new people, new ideas, and probably a fair share of anxiety about the future.
It's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed at times, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. There are plenty of resources available on campus, so there's no need to struggle in silence.
Talk with someone
If you're having trouble with your coursework, seek out a tutor or go to your professor. If you're feeling stressed or homesick, talking to a counselor can help you get back on track. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
12.Believe in Yourself and Your Ability to Reach Your Goals
The college experience can be daunting. But the one thing that will see you through all of the challenges college throws your way is belief in yourself. If you believe that you're capable of meeting your goals, you will be.
The first step is to set your sights high. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. And when you stumble along the way, which everyone does, pick yourself up and keep going.
Remember, college is an opportunity to grow and learn, both academically and personally. So go out there and make the most of it. And always believe in yourself.