Goals, either short-term or long-term, are not taken as seriously as they should be. This is even more apparent in the education sector where most students just “go with the flow” and don’t plan out how they’d like their lives to be.
This usually owes to the fact that most students don’t understand just how drastically their lives can change (for the better) by mapping out how they’d like it to be.
Another reason for this goal-setting negligence is because of how “hectic” and “robotic” setting goals can be. This is a common deterrent.
On the bright side, the benefits of having goals massively outweigh the downsides. This includes having a sense of purpose, a clear sense of focus and direction, being able to measure your milestones, a solid understanding of your hierarchy of needs, etc.
If you are a student (regardless of your level of education) looking to set goals or wanting to learn how to set goals better, here are some examples to set you on your desired path.
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This may sound silly or too simple, but it is in fact, very important. Whether you are a college student in a dorm, or a high school student still living with your parents, making your bed once you wake up is a great way to start your day.
Apart from the fact that it is a neat thing to do, it sets the rhythm for the rest of your day. A good trick is to think of all you’ll do for the day as a domino effect where one task sets the others in motion.
You make your bed, clean your room, clean yourself up, and get mentally ready to move on to the more important tasks of the day.
Another thing this simple activity does is make your room more organized. Now, you don’t have to worry about striking out a full day to clean your room because you do that as a ritual every morning.
Congratulations, you are more organized than you used to be.
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Punctuality makes sure you don’t miss any part of your class lessons.
Punctuality also paves the way for a student’s success by allowing them to plan ahead, create an effective routine, and be prepared for their assignments.
A punctual student can deal more efficiently with day-to-day activities than someone who waits until the last minute.
But even more than the apparent advantages, being punctual creates an attitude that helps you succeed much later in life.
It increases your credibility, shows professionalism, and reduces stress.
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While it is okay to splurge from time to time, it’s imperative to eat healthy all the time.
A healthy diet is critical for good nutrition and health. It protects against a wide range of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
A healthy diet broadly means a variety of foods and consuming less salt, saturated fats, trans fats from industrial sources, and sugars.
Eating well as a student also means fewer health issues later on in life.
Being physically active comes with a lot of health benefits including reduced risk of heart attack, managing weight better, lower blood cholesterol levels, stronger bones, muscles, and joints, etc.
These activities help reduce feelings of depression and stress which in turn contribute immensely to your educational performance as a student.
One effective technique that helps regular physical activity is setting a fitness milestone. That way, you can keep track of your fitness progress.
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It is recommended that a college freshman get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Getting good sleep improves your sleep cycle, which occurs when the brain switches between active and passive states.
A student’s sleep schedule can have a big impact on their sleep quality. To get good sleep, it’s advisable to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. It is also recommended that you keep screens away for at least one hour before bedtime.
This is because smartphones, tablets, and televisions can emit blue light, which can cause subpar sleep quality.
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Apart from the fact that it lets you brag to your kids in the future without lying, getting good grades generally makes your life better.
In the figures released by the Department for Education tracking the earnings of thousands of U.K. students after they graduate, top performers, i.e. those with four A grades, earn £40,300 ($53,200) five years after graduation, while students with only one or two A-levels, on the other hand, earn just £23,200 ($30,600) after graduation.
Good grades also give students a closer relationship with their teachers and lecturers which helps their social life and helps them get respect from their peers.
It’s important to realize in time that school doesn’t teach you everything as a student. A lot of the life lessons you learn might not be from classrooms. That is why it is important to learn outside your school curriculum.
Pick up a book about habit building, finance, or building better relationships. You can also read fictional books to sharpen your creativity or read books on history to inform you of historical events and their significance.
These books would contribute immensely to your life outside of the classroom.
Jim Kwik – a world-renowned brain and memory expert – advises that you strike out a particular time of the day (ideally for 30 minutes) to concentrate and study whatever book you are reading at the time.
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This is important for every student. This is what your study and learning process ultimately hinges on. You have to find a system that works for you.
Good study habits help students prepare better for exams and improve their grades.
You should research several study systems and identify one that works for you. Then you can intend to implement and maintain it on a consistent basis.
You can select a study system, or design your own from scratch, and change it as you go. A common example is the study block system that is similar to a block schedule, or you could study using the Pomodoro approach.
It is important that you should be able to track and measure how effective your study system is. One way of doing this is by using a Habit Tracker.
Use your new system for a week or more and track how effectively it helps you learn and how long you should keep using it.
Simply put, Is it efficient? Is it sustainable?
Another way to access your study system is through grade improvement. After all, what is the purpose of a magical study system if it does not solve problems for you?
You can make this assessment by comparing your grades after using it for a couple of months to your grades before you started using it.
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Mentorship programs are a great way to learn from some of the top people in your field.
A formal mentorship program is an organized, often one-on-one connection that takes place in the workplace, organization, or academic setting.
An ideal mentorship program necessitates strategic planning and structure in order to connect people, enhance knowledge, and develop skills for future milestones.
These programs help you connect with some of the most knowledgeable people in your area.
You get to network with professionals with whom you may one day work. This will help you to develop not just your technical abilities and resume, but also your social network.
Another reason why this is great is that the mentors and coaches are willing to mentor you. So it’s not like you are forcing yourself on them. In fact, some of the mentorship programs offered are paid.
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Similar to number seven, here, you also are required to think outside the box. This is a little more specific and it is in direct correlation with your field of study.
You can do this through job shadowing experience or internships.
Job shadowing is a popular type of work experience that comprises closely following the day-to-day activities of an industry specialist.
It gives you the opportunity to learn on the job, gain personal experience in your chosen industry, and take in as much knowledge as possible.
While job shadowing is very similar to an internship, the latter requires you to perform more duties during your learning process.
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A lot of your success in life is going to stem from the connections you build and it’s advisable to start building those connections as early as you can.
It is important to understand that this is not a pointer to making friends with anybody and everybody. It is advisable to make a few good connections instead of building a plethora of networks.
And if you can manage the two, then good for you.
Building relationships with a few great contacts is an efficient use of your time and pays off in the long run. Developing these connections is more likely to result in true partnerships.
As a rule of thumb, connect with other students of like minds that help you progress in the direction you want.
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Knowing and being able to communicate in a language that is not the convention may give you “cool points,” but there are deeper benefits to it.
For one, it lets you consider schooling in another country that speaks the language you’ve learned without having to worry about language as a barrier.
Additionally, it can help you communicate better with exchange students (students from a secondary school or university that study abroad at one of their institution’s partner institutions) from countries where you speak their language.
Furthermore, there are many cognitive benefits tied to learning new languages. It helps with problem-solving, critical thinking, and better listening, among other things.
To cap it off, being multilingual slows down cognitive decline and mental aging.
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Generally speaking, practicing thankfulness can reduce stress, boost physical health, strengthen relationships, and foster a collaborative and respectful culture. Gratitude has also been shown to improve empathy and self-esteem and also lowers aggression.
More specifically in students, creating a sense of gratitude can even improve academic performance.
Learning thankfulness isn’t as simple as it sounds. To become more aware of all the opportunities and blessings around you, it is necessary to create the framework for continuing practice.
Here are three simple steps to follow:
1. Model Gratitude in any adult you see.
2. Celebrate the little wins.
3. Write down what you are grateful for.
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Soon enough, you’ll have to include in your resume that you are a team player. Well, joining a club is one way to show that is true.
Melissa, a psychology expert, informs that “participating in a club or society allows you to obtain knowledge, skills, and experience in areas such as communication, leadership, communication, group development and management, problem-solving, finance, and public speaking.”
She further explains “You will notice a difference in yourself. You’ll get bigger faster than you expect. It’s also the most effective technique to meet new individuals.”
This is inextricably linked to number 11 – building strong connections.
It also gives you an extra opportunity to vie for a leadership position which we’d talk about shortly in number 17.
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This would include reaching out to your teachers and professors, speaking up and participating in class, reaching out to your classmates, and participating in school activities.
For the fear of being wrong or being embarrassed, a lot of students just stay in their little bubbles where they are safe, but it’s just better to be a more active student.
Apart from the fact that these actions build your personal relationships, they also build your social skills and prepare you for the real world out there.
It is important to know when to rein it in and not overcompensate though. Moderation is key.
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The hands-on learning inherent to volunteer work gives students the competitive edge needed as they enter the job market.
Even when college students have top grades and test scores, hiring managers may also want to see relevant work experience on a resume, and many new grads may not have developed these professional skills yet.
Volunteer work here can be a huge boost and make your resume stand out among other candidates, helping you land that first entry-level job.
And to cap it off, volunteering feels good.
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Having a leadership position helps you develop leadership skills, valuable soft skills, network, and even learn more about yourself. Plus, it’s kinda fun to have a little power.
Holding a position of power would also look good on a resume, and work in your favor in the “team player” department.
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The major purpose of keeping track of your costs as a student is to increase your financial awareness.
If you don’t know how you spend your money or where it’s going, you won’t be able to identify the habits to change in order to avoid overspending and regain financial stability.
You won’t know when to cease spending in a certain category if your budget isn’t guided by clear expenditure insights.
It’s most advisable to track your expenses so that you’ll be able to track expenses.
It’s important to keep in mind that consistency is essential if you want to keep to your budget and get out of debt so you can focus on more important things.
It also grooms you to be a future responsible adult who is in charge of your finances and knows how to spend judiciously.
Check this guide to best understand how to take care of your finances as a student.
The idea of social media is not inherently bad, but spending too much time on it is not a good idea either.
Studies show that too much time spent on social media can stress us out and leave us anxious and depressed. These findings have been confirmed for both adults and children.
Some of the telltale signs that you should cut your social media time or cull it completely include:
- Too much screen time
- If your feed makes you feel bad and sorry for yourself
- If you are being bullied
- If it’s affecting your mental health
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I saved this for the last because it’s tied to the rest of the goal examples on this list.
Journaling helps you to put down what your goals are, how you intend to achieve them, your progress, and any hurdles you’ve experienced along the way.
Writing down and tracking your goals makes them more real, improving your drive and accountability.
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Finally, incorporating goal-setting into your personal and academic life will result in significant improvements.
It’s worth noting that these goals must be SMART i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
That way you can set objectives that are realistic and that you are convinced you can do, making them even more enjoyable.
Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.