Semester Goal Setting Tips

Posted by in Life in College

5338785518_5cd0786870_zGoal setting is something very beneficial that you should do at the start of each semester. It helps you formulate  ambitions that will keep you driven and gets you to actively plan out strategies to reach those goals. When you are setting semester goals it is crucial to not just think about things you feel would be fun or important to do, but rather things you can see yourself actually accomplishing. It is easy to go into a semester saying you want to join a few new clubs and make a 4.0 all while training to run a marathon. But in reality, all of those combined are not realistic goals to set for yourself. Now I’m not saying it is impossible, but goals take time and focus, and being a student requires most of your time to be devoted to studying with just a few other activities on the side. So here are a few things to keep in mind when you are goal setting at the start of each semester.

Obtainability- Is my goal something that is obtainable to me. In other words, is my goal something that I know through hard work and determination I can realistically achieve? You have to know that it is something you can do, maybe not right now or tomorrow but through studying, training, or practicing you will be able to achieve it.

Time- Do I have an adequate amount of time in the semester to complete my goal? If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, do you really think a semester is going to give you the time you need to complete this? If your goal is to train for an Ironman Triathlon, is 16 weeks in the semester plus school and other obligations going to allow you the necessary time to train?  While you be able to dedicate the required time to a new organization such as Greek life, a sport, or a volunteer service without stretching your commitments and school load too thin? Make sure you know the time commitment required to make it happen before jumping into a goal.

Purpose- What is the purpose of your goal? What is the reason or drive behind obtaining a specific goal? It is important to know why you are setting goals, that way you can better motivate yourself to fulfill the goal. Obviously the motivation for broad goals around grades, exercise, and community involvement are most likely set to better yourself. But you need to have a more specific reason to improve your chances of success. Why do you want good grades? To land that dream job? Why exercise? Need to lose some extra pounds or want to join a sport? Or, why do you want to get involved in an organization? Do you want to help the community or make new friends? In other words, what is the specific reason you want to take on a new goal? Determining what your motivation behind each goal is will help keep you from making silly, ineffective goals that don’t seem to have a purpose. For instance, if you have a goal to only check emails once a week or only cooking once a week, what is the purpose or benefit? What are you trying to achieve in these goals? Know why you are setting your goals and what you hope to achieve when you reach them.

Determination- Is my goal something that I am determined enough to achieve? If your goal is to exercise seven days a week, do you really think when you have three exams one day and are running on no sleep the gym is going to be your first priority? A good rule of thumb about determining if you are up for the challenge of a new goal is to ask yourself, “Am I willing to get up at 6 A.M. to do this if I have to?” If you can say yes, then you are probably determined enough to see that goal through. But if you know that an extra few hours of sleep and other obligations are going to get in the way of achieving your goal, don’t make your goal so extreme.

In goal setting it is easy to think we can do it all and that the end result is not too far away. However, it is important to remember a few things within goal setting. First: obtainability. Is this something I have a physical or mental chance at completing with hard work? Second: time commitment. Do I have the time needed to succeed at my goal? Third: purpose. Is there a purpose for this goal and what exactly is this goal fulfilling. And lastly, fourth: determination. Do I have the drive to see this goal through to the end?