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  • Sasha Moonilal

How To Stick To Your Academic Goals in 2023

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past and assess your current goals. Many people set new years resolutions, and many people fail them within the first month of the year. But why? When it comes to goal setting, primarily academic goal setting, there are a few things to keep in mind to create realistic and achievable goals to help you succeed.

Why you should set academic goals

You may be thinking to yourself, “why should I set academic goals anyway?” The reality of goal setting is that it triggers new behaviours and helps guide your focus to sustain momentum in your life (Positive Psychology). Goals allow you to envision where you want to be in life, and help you lay out the steps to get there. Goals also help boost your self-confidence, measure your academic progress, and give you a sense of focus and purpose when it comes to school. In a way, goals help you remember why you are putting so much effort into your schoolwork and why it will be worth it in the end.

4 Tips To Kick-Start Your Academic Goals in 2023

Set “SMART” Goals

Many students make the mistake of setting many broad goals rather than a few specific goals. Narrowing your goals down and making them super specific is key to achieving them this year. A great format to follow when goal setting is the SMART goal-setting system. SMART stands for:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Time-Bound

Setting goals using these parameters is a great way to set yourself up for success this year. For example, a SMART goal looks like “I will study for 2 hours a day and go to my weekly tutoring session this semester so I can achieve honour roll by the end of the year,” rather than a goal that is “I will achieve honour roll this year.” By making your goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound, you are creating smaller, more actionable ways to complete the broad goal of achieving honour roll, therefore setting yourself up for success in achieving the goal.

Put in Time To Plan Actionable Steps

After creating your SMART goals, it’s time to put them into action! The next step is making a detailed plan to help you achieve and stick to your goals. An easy way to do this is to write down your goal, write a list of all the necessary steps to take to achieve the goal, and note any possible obstacles that might hinder your success. Being aware of the exact steps to achieve your goals makes them seem more attainable and will help you stick to your academic goals all year long. Another benefit of a detailed actionable plan is it allows you to predict any challenges you may run into, and start brainstorming strategies to overcome them.

Keep Yourself Motivated Through Out The Year

Staying motivated throughout the entire academic year can be a challenge. A good way to stay motivated is to have a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within and is your internal desire to achieve something (Azusa Pacific University.) This means your motivations for engaging in the behaviour arise entirely from within rather than from a desire for an external reward or prize. When it comes to academic goal setting, intrinsic motivation can be the internal desire to learn as much as you can in a specific subject rather than focusing on receiving any external validation, like high grades.

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is based on external factors, such as rewards, validation, and praise (Azusa Pacific University.) This means your motivation for accomplishing your goals comes from external factors. When it comes to academic goal setting, external motivation can look like giving yourself a reward after completing a goal, which helps keep your motivation up to keep completing your goals throughout the school year, and helps you stick to your action plan.

Another great way to keep motivated is writing down your goals somewhere you can see them every day. For example, writing them down on your school planner, desktop screen or even phone background can help you remember what goals you are working towards and how you plan to achieve them. It’s also important to write down your “why,” which is essentially the reason behind your goal-setting and academic intentions.

Reach Out For Support

An important part of goal setting and working towards academic success is knowing when to reach out for external help. Sometimes leaning on a friend, peer, teacher or tutor is a great way to help you out of academic ruts or roadblocks. Tutoring is a great way to help stay on track with your goals all year long. By even committing just 1 hour to tutoring each week, you are holding yourself accountable for staying on top of your long-term goal-setting plan. Tutoring also helps keep your motivation high by having someone to help you through challenges and hurdles in your academic work.

You can also reach out to peers who are in a similar academic environment as yourself, to help keep each other accountable with your academic goals and work together through challenges. Lastly, reaching out for emotional support from family or friends is another great way to maintain positive mental health throughout the academic year and avoid burnout or overworking yourself.

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