It’s that wonderful time again – new goals for the new year, am I right? I absolutely adore the beginning of the year. There’s something so crisp and fresh about the 1st of January, like you can just forget all the troubles of the previous year and start afresh.
This is precisely why I use this time to set my goals for the year. I’m not talking about resolutions here (which seem to, once broken, disappear from the mind). I’m talking about goals. Goals are an objective that you can consistently work towards. You might hit obstacles, you might fail a couple of times, but as long as you are steadily working on it, you’re succeeding.
Goal-setting, particularly for students, is something that I find very important. Giving yourself something to work towards is a great way to inspire motivation and give yourself a sense of productivity and purpose. The beginning of the new year isn’t the only time you can set goals. It can be at the beginning of the semester, or in the middle of the week halfway through the year. Deciding to pursue an objective is just the start. To achieve your objective you need to plan it.
You might already have some goals for the new year in mind. I’ve got a quick and easy guide to set and plan goals for the new year including a freebie printable goal worksheet that can be used to achieve those targets! This printable is available through The Cosmic Road Resource Library for subscribers, so if you’d like to download it, simply click the link below or sign up at the end of this post!
Set Your Goals!
Step number one: think about your main goal. What do you want to achieve for the future? It’s a good idea to pick something that motivates you because you will be more likely to work for it. For this guide I’m going to use a study-related goal as an example, but you can pick anything you want. Once you’ve thought about it, make your goal specific.
“Study more” is a pretty vague goal and there’s not a definitive way to measure it. Think about it on a larger scale. Is there a reason you want to study more? To do well in classes, to get a higher GPA, to get into a Masters program. And now we have it! To be more specific about the goal, instead of “study more” we can write “Obtain a GPA of 3.8 to enter the Masters program”.
It’s important that your goals for the new year are achievable and realistic. Have you set yourself a realistic goal? Is it actually possible? If you need to do some research or some calculating, do it now to figure out the limits of your goal. Next, make sure it is achievable. If you set yourself a goal to be achieved in a year, make sure it is something that can be achieved in a year. If you think it will take longer, give yourself the time or set a more achievable stepping stone goal that can lead to your larger goal later.
Do you have your goal yet? Write it down! Then give yourself a deadline. Nothing encourages you more than having a date to reach your target.
Plan with Mini Goals!
Okay, so you’ve got your main goal. It might seem really big or really far away or maybe you aren’t sure where to even start. The idea is to use mini goals, or stepping stone goals, to plan out how you will achieve your main goal.
To create mini goals, think about what you need to do to achieve your main goal. Going back to our example goal, if I wanted to increase my GPA, I need to think about what steps I could take to achieve this. “Do more study” is a good plan of action, but we want to turn this into a few mini goals that are specific. From this, I might create two mini goals:
- Create a study schedule for the semester
- Study at least 5 days a week
Give each mini goal a deadline just like your main goal. You can have as many or as little mini-goals as you like. When you have finished planning out your mini goals, you should be able to look at your goals for the new year and see a clear plan of action to achieve the target. In writing out your mini goals, you might find it easier to further break down your goals into sub-sub goals (Goal-ception?). This is your plan, and ultimately you are going to be the one who follows it, so make it as easy to follow as possible.
Once you have a goal, a deadline and a plan, you can add a reward. This part is totally optional but I like having a little bit of extra encouragement to help me achieve my goals. So even when I’m feeling a bit flat or like I can’t be bothered, I can look at that reward to keep me going. A reward doesn’t have to be something big. It can be a book to read, a fancy coffee, a night out with friends, anything you want. I like to keep a wishlist of things that I want to buy (but don’t necessarily need), then when I achieve my goal I get to buy something off the wishlist. Rewards can be added for achieving mini-goals as well.
If you require any extra motivation, having a mantra or a quote to repeat is one of my favourite ways to inspire myself to achieve my goals for the new year. Don’t hesitate to put a picture or a quote with your goals to keep you going. Try setting some goals with friends so that you can help each other and keep on track.
Once you’ve got a goal and a plan, it’s time to get to work! I’m excited to hear about your goals for the new year, so let me know in the comments if you have set yourself a goal. Don’t forget that the free printable goals planner is available for subscribers of The Cosmic Road, and you can access it by heading over to the Resource Library.
If you would like to become a subscriber, simply pop in your details below.
I hope all of you have a wonderful 2017!
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