We humans are goal-oriented creatures
– we work best when we have a target, something to aim for. Despite that, the majority of people don’t have clearly defined goals, and the majority of people aren’t achieving what they want, either. Goals are what can set you apart – in your studies and in your life – so taking the time to set, stick to and celebrate them is beyond profitable.
“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” – Fitzhugh Dodson
Taking the time to map and work out the following three phases is something which can excel you on your journey. A*’s become that much easier, as does school, simply by being clear about what you want and then taking the time to get there.
The first step is to create them. Easy to do, easy not to do. I wrote a comprehensive Guide to Goal Setting, but here I’ll outline a few key principles:
- Your goals. It’s important to aim for what you want to achieve, not what someone else wants. Your goals should inspire and motivate you to take action in order to make them a reality.
- Specific goals. The clearer you are, the clearer the target, and that makes for straightforward achievement. Try to include numbers, such as a certain mark on your next test.
- Time-bound goals. The all important question: when? To quote C. Northcote Parkinson: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words – the more time you have, the longer it’ll take to achieve your goal. Push yourself!
Just creating goals will make you part of an elite few, so congratulations if you’ve come that far. However, this is just the beginning, and coming up is the most important phase:
This is the critical part – progress. Without it you’re but a sitting duck, looking at your target without moving towards it.
Saying it’s the most important doesn’t mean it’s the most boring and effort-intensive, because if you’ve set some inspiring goals – this will be a walk in the park. In fact, being productive – progressing – is a fundamental key to lifelong fulfillment. If you don’t produce, you won’t be happy, so taking the time to produce what you want is well worth your while. There will be ups and downs, but the long-term satisfaction is better than any quick-fix you may find.
Do this for long enough and you can move onto phase 3:
Achieve (and Celebrate)
This, contrary to belief, is not the most rewarding part. The most enjoyment is to be found in phase 2 – progressing, but here you can relax (for a short while) and celebrate your achievement!
It’s important to not linger too long, for you’ll get bored pretty quickly, but it’s a good idea to celebrate the things you’ve done. People often sell themselves short of what they’ve accomplished, but whatever goal you’ve achieved – it’s a great accomplishment.
Thought it was over? Well, almost – just repeat the first 3 phases. Once you’ve celebrated, you can go back to the drawing board and dream up some new goals to inspire you yet again!
If goal setting is something you’ll stick to (for life, preferably), I can guarantee the astronomical rewards. Whatever your goal – straight A*’s, make a million or run an ultra marathon – remember that’s it’s possible, for truly anything is within the limits of your imagination and the laws of nature.
Nick Goodall is a student of life, self-development addict and author of The Student Manual, a fluff-free guide to help students awaken their potential and take on the world.
The A+ Club from School4Schools.com LLC, based in Arlington, VA, is dedicated to helping students across the U.S.A. meet their goals and find the academic success the want and deserve. Contact us here or call now to (703) 271-5334 to see how we can help.