Every year, after a well-deserved holiday break, I think of my own student days. It was tough to adjust back! I just wanted to share some things with you that I hope you will find helpful.
I know coming back for the start of a new term, new classes, and new projects is an exciting one, but can quickly turn to a growing feeling of procrastination.
It feels like you have all the time in the world, then the days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and then suddenly the term is coming to a close and you are scrambling to get projects done. This last-minute scrambling doesn’t just hurt your short-term progress, but results in your long-term hopes and dreams being pushed to the back burner. This is why setting goals is so important. That is how I pushed myself to do it.
Goals have a tremendous amount of power to shape our lives and all of society if we can meet them head-on. Our university is based on goals and a strategic plan to achieve those goals. I believe your hopes and dreams for the next year should be no different.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Goal Setting
It’s never too late to start setting goals, nor should you underestimate the power of them. It doesn’t take the beginning of a calendar year for you to set goals and start leveraging their strength.
Do you want to improve your grades? Try setting goals. A 2010 study found that by participating in a dedicated goal-setting intervention, undergraduate students increased their GPAs by 30% compared to a control group. These kinds of results are not limited to academia and should not be overlooked.
Make SMART Goals
One of the first steps everyone should take in goal setting is actually writing them down. Put your goals on a piece of paper, a whiteboard, a reminder on your phone or your calendar. Somewhere that you will check them regularly.
Using the SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Based) method is definitely recommended. SMART goals allow you to clearly lay out a defined objective instead of a general statement like “I want to run more.” The SMART goal version of this could read “I will run three times a week for at least 20 minutes.” This is a defined goal that can be tracked and measured for success.
For information on SMART goals, take a look at this helpful guide from the Student Success Office.
Going Beyond Academic Goals
It can be easy to default to academic or professional goals, but it’s important to explore and go beyond these priorities alone. There are many different types of goals to choose from that includes professional, skill building, health, volunteering and leisure activities. Try setting a goal of meditating for ten minutes a day or aiming to read five books this year for pleasure. Types of goals are truly endless.
I encourage you to incorporate a mix of goals to broaden your focus, skills and experience. You’ll be surprised as to how much this range of goals will help you grow as a person and as a professional.
If you are having difficulty setting your goals, try talking to a friend, colleague or, if you are a student, reach out to the Student Success Office and utilize their wonderful support programs.
Good luck with your goals this year!