With 30 credits under my belt, I have officially completed one year of my college education. Yay for me! Taking online classes has opened many doors for me and allowed me to experience some amazing opportunities. My online schooling is extremely flexible, which is both amazing and challenging all in one. Although it allows me to create my own schedule, there is also little-to-no accountability. I very quickly learned that I need to set my own deadlines, or nothing will get done. Taking online classes has helped me to develop self discipline and forced me learn how to create my own goals (and stick to them.) Goal setting is an invaluable skill, and one that needs to be consistently regulated. These are the five tips I have gathered that have made me a successful goal-setter.
- Make a Schedule
It is so important to write everything down. Getting into the practice of having a planner is essential to goal setting. Make a list of everything that needs to get done, then prioritize. Use your calendar app, a paper agenda or whatever you find the easiest to use and schedule those items in! Make appointments for yourself. Being able to check things off allows you to track you progress, it’s so rewarding! This transitions to my next tip:
2. Make it Specific
Be specific with your goals. Don’t say things like “I want to complete this class in one month,” or “I want to try to workout more.” Avoid words like “try” and other uncertain terms. Be firm. This is what I like to call, the “break down.” Phrase goals carefully and specifically, assignment by assignment, day by day. Don’t let yourself have an excuse in case of failure.
- Make Yourself Deadlines
Every goal needs a deadline. If you are like me and most of your goals don’t have a harsh deadline, it is absolutely essential to create your own. I learned this very quickly doing my online classes, not every one of my classes has due dates. That may sound great (and sometimes it is) however, that can make it very difficult to get anything done. So, I started making my own. Make your goals attainable, and put a time restriction on them. Time bound goals are goals that get done.
- Make a Reward System
If I find that I am getting nothing done, I like to create rewards (or consequences) for myself. For example, if I get my assigned reading done, I will allow myself to eat that snack I have been craving. Or, until I get all my emails sent out, I don’t get to drink anymore coffee (I find that I am very food motivated.) Whatever works! Often this helps me to focus harder and motivate me to get things done.
Bonus tip: stay electronic free if at all possible. Social media is a huge distraction and pulls focus away from more important tasks. For me, this means no phone until I complete my daily assignments and no phone while I do my daily Bible study. This can also be a huge motivator to get work done!
- Make a Strong Team
Lastly, and arguably the most important component of goal setting, is accountability. I found out very quickly into my college career that it is essential to my success to have accountability, especially because I don’t have teachers or classmates to keep me in check. It can be a huge burden to feel like everything is on your shoulders to complete your goals. If you have an accountability partner, or team, it can lift some of that burden. In my own life, I have found that my mom is my best accountability partner. Not only in school, but also in my relationship with God, and my physical health. Working with a coach or mentor can be a powerful tool. Choosing someone to examine your goals and check in on your progress can keep you in check.
Goal setting and achievement is a lifelong process. We are constantly growing and learning, and our goals and priorities should reflect that. These are the tips that have helped me succeed in this season of my life. I hope they can help you in some way as well! Thanks for reading!
In the final week of my Leadership Theory and Practice class, one of my assignments was to listen to an interview between Dr. Jeff Myers and Dr. Voddie Baucham. Dr. Voddie Baucham brings up the issue of authority many times throughout the interview. He really convicted me of the way I respond to the authority figures in my life, especially my mother and father. Baucham mentions that the way we respond to people in authority is the way we respond to God’s authority. I feel like I need to be more aware of the way I am responding to my parent’s authority, not just being willing to obey when I agree with their decisions, but more importantly, when I don’t.
I feel that God is calling me to have more of an attitude of service in my home, offering the gifts God gave me to bless my family. I need to trust the authority He has me under. Dr. Voddie Baucham made me realize that I need to give, not just live in my home. Romans 13:1 says “let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Even if you don’t always see eye to eye with your parents, God has placed them in that position of leadership, and we are all called to trust the authority God has put us under. Easier said than done, I know. But we have a biblical obligation to submit to our rulers.
Someone once asked me, “what if that manager you loathed the most was the person you showed the most respect?” Yikes. I immediately felt the gunshot of conviction right to my heart. Since then, I have tried my best to make every response to the people I work with thoughtful and respectful. The more I do it, the more of a habit respect is becoming to me. It has been the hardest behavior change for me to adopt, and the most fruitful.
My prayer is that I would learn how to humbly submit to my parents and develop an attitude of service in my home. Not only with my words, but with my actions. I pray that without saying anything, I could become an example of biblical service to my family.
“Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.” 1 Peter 1:7 (Message)
I find that in times of unknowing, it is the hardest for me to be faithful. Times of suffering, although terrible, force me to lean on God. But in times of uncertainty, I try to take control and find my own way; I always feel so isolated and far away from Him. I am currently trying to find my way through a season of unknowing. I think everyone goes through something similar when trying to decide on a career path. There are endless decisions to make and an insurmountable amount of pressure. I have been feeling so overwhelmed lately by the burdens that come with responsibility. The devil has been putting thoughts of hopelessness into my mind and weighing me down with ideas of impossibility. There seemed to be no good options for me.
While trying to study Sociology at my local coffee shop, I could feel God pushing me to open my Bible. Although I am behind in school, I was having a hard time focusing (which is unusual for me,) however I was very willing to find any excuse to put down the text book. I gladly grabbed my Bible and journal. I have been going through what one might call a scripture rut; I haven’t been able to find a chapter that I could really connect with in a long time. Nonetheless, I started flipping through the pages, and once again felt God talking to me, telling me to read 1 Peter.
All I needed to understand was that God is living hope. I was brought to tears, right there in the middle of the coffee shop. It was like the floodgates were opened; I was immediately filled with joy and hope. Even in seasons of confusion and unknowing, He is faithful. He gives me hope. No matter the trials of this world, we can still be filled with inexpressible joy and glory. He gives us a future, He gives us salvation. “So that the tested genuineness of you faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7 (ESV). We were given brand new life, we have everything to live for. He is living hope.
Although my circumstances haven’t changed and I am still in a season of uncertainty, I am filled with joy. God is in control, and he gives me a future. My prayer is that God would help me remain faithful and to trust in Him; that He would give me comfort and contentment where I am. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me a new life.