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Goal Setting Guide: Part 2 - How to Set Goals: A Beginner’s Guide

A Beginner's Guide to Setting Goals

So, now you’ve decided to avoid the mad dash that comes with procrastinating. You’re going to set some goals and get things done! But how? How do you learn to set goals? If you’re a procrastinator, this whole goal setting thing may not come naturally. That’s totally fine! Teach yourself how to set goals, by following the tips below:


Take the time to self-evaluate.
This might be the hardest step towards learning to be a good goal setter. Being honest with yourself is tough, but necessary. Jot down some notes about how you feel when you procrastinate. Does it stress you out? Does it give you an adrenaline rush that makes you feel more effective? Why do you think you procrastinate? How and why do you hope to change?


Envision your success.
By now, we’ve all at least heard of “The Secret”. If you haven’t yet, I’d bet money that your mom is planning to give it to you as a post-graduation, pre-college gift. You can roll your eyes all you want, but visualization really is a powerful tool. Take the time to envision yourself three to four months from now, or at the end of your school year. Imagine that you’ve just had the most successful school year of your life. Now, figure out what would make your school year feel successful. Would it be earning straight A’s? Making the honor roll? Improving your GPA? Whatever success means to you, envisioning it can make the process of figuring out how to get there far less daunting.


Ask yourself “why” and “how”.
Now that you’ve envisioned your best possible school year, jot down some notes about why you’re setting goals and how you hope to achieve them. Once you’ve decided how you want to achieve your goals, commit to them. Make a promise to yourself to follow through. You deserve it and you owe it to yourself!


Write down your goals clearly.

Setting clear, specific goals for yourself will make you more effective in your work and will prevent you from feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or disappointed if the first few tries don’t go as planned. Well-defined goals will help you figure out what strategies work for you, and which don’t. So, for example, if we’re talking about your sociology paper, set a goal to finish the concluding paragraph by 5pm on Thursday. This is clear, well-defined, and achievable. Don’t set a broad goal for yourself like, “be more productive”. This isn’t clear enough and you won’t feel motivated to finish the paper early.

Looking for somewhere to record and track your goals? Check out the Be Your Best You Notebooks by ClassTracker. 

Research shows that people who write down their goals are 40% more likely to achieve them.
Don’t go too easy on yourself.
Challenge yourself! If you set goals that are too easily achieved, you won’t feel motivated to finish them. Instead, you’ll let them pile up because you’ll fool yourself into thinking you have “plenty of time”. This is a trap so many of us fall into… it’s how you ended up procrastinating on this paper. Instead, really challenge yourself. You’ll be motivated to work hard and reach your goals and feel accomplished when you do. Setting a goal that feels challenging will keep your mind on the task of hand, instead of distracted by anything from Snapchat to Netflix.

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