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!