Goal setting made easy

Although we will soon be leaving 2020 behind, it is SO important to take the time to check in with yourself and identify where you are at and where you are heading. Not having a plan for success in your academic life can leave you stressed to the point of procrastination. Having said that, one person’s success can look very different from that of another’s. 

Often, at this time of year, we get so caught up in setting goals for the future. We do it so we are ready for that all inspiring New Year’s Eve countdown. However, that is where the problem begins; we place an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves from the get-go. And that is where my 2020 journey began.

This year I wrote down several personal and professional goals and I was absolutely certain, just like every other year, that I would attain them by the time 2021 rolled around. While I didn’t achieve most of them, I made SIGNIFICANT progress towards them and changed my focus to be more targeted. I changed my mindset. 

If you would like to set goals but don’t know how to start or need help to refine the decision-making progress, here are some tips for you that have helped me enormously:

1. Set SMART goals: 

Look at where you are at and where you want to be. Set yourself a number of clear goals. Make them smart, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Some can be as small as ‘write down all my assessment due dates’.

2. Scaffold these goals:

Search for practical strategies which will give you the tools you need to slowly chip away at the goals you have set. This can include Googling, asking a friend what works for them and/or seeking advice from a CQUniversity Student Mentor. 

3. Refine your goals further: 

Some goals may be too unrealistic for the present time even though you might accomplish them years down the track. Prioritise the most important tasks and don’t pressure yourself into fulfilling them all at once.

4. Turn to friends and family for help:

My family and friends sometimes know me better than I know myself. When I told them of my goals for 2021, the vast majority told me to calm down and focus on the now. So, go to that special someone you can confide in and tell them. 

5. Relax! 

Don’t feel restricted as you continue to work towards achieving these goals and know you can change your mind about any of them at any time. Don’t stuff yourself in a box that you can easily jump out of!

6. Find a hobby:

From my personal experience, I know that studying can feel like the most important thing in the world. It isn’t. It is NOT the be-all and end-all. Find the time to do something you love to do and roll with it! 

Goal setting, particularly at the beginning of a term, can be a powerful tool you can use to help you achieve your best. However, it is important to recognise that your best does not mean working until the point of exhaustion. So, with that in mind, you need to find what works for you. Not every strategy works for everyone. And not all people write down all their goals but achieve far more than other people expect.

Happy goal setting everyone!

Blog written by Meg Wright.

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