Whiteness arrives in the days after the celebration of the New Year. For students, it may not be a viewed in terms of snow accumulation, but as a clarity, in having the whiteboard erased clean. Only in the change of a new year do we all feel an urgency to improve, and set goals. And, for those in school, the goal is to define achievement and become a better student.
Define the Word “Goal”
Ask a child or teenager what they foresee in their future, and the words, to your amazement, will come eagerly. Usually, the answer includes a location, such as the beach or a big city, and a specific vehicle. When asked the question, “How will you live such an expensive lifestyle?” children see themselves as happy and living comfortably. Nevertheless, while such goals are attainable, students need to know it takes a consistent work ethic and hard work.
Empowerment is achieved in setting a goal. The most difficult part is found in the “How?” It begins with reflecting on successes and failures, planning, making better and practical decisions, all the while motivating yourself with a specific purpose. The goal may be earning better grades or improving your time management in order to participate in an extracurricular activity. Or the goal could be focused on college, joining the military, or starting a business. With each goal set, next comes planning.
We often set small, attainable goals. We say, “I want the top score on my next three tests.” And, when goals are partly achieved, a new goal is quickly set; yet, when is there time to think about why the goal didn’t succeed? Small goals require time for us to contemplate the “why” and consider how to tweak the plan. This is an important element in your growth as a student, and necessary in reaching all goals
- Think about your successes. What worked? Did you spend a lot of time studying? How did you study, and what strategies did you use?
- Think about your disappointments. What didn’t work? How much time did you spend studying? What study strategies did not work? Why? Did you spend equal time on the subject in which you received the better grade? Were there too many distractions? Was sleep or tiredness a factor?
- Then, consider what you can do differently. Procrastination is not effective. The goal of studying is not memorizing, but learning the material. How can this be achieved? If studying late into the night made you feel tired, could you study for more days, perhaps, 20 minutes maximum for three or four days prior to the test?
- What makes you feel anxious about homework? Is there a remedy? Are you getting enough sleep? Have you ever worked past midnight on homework? Did that achieve the grade you wanted? What promises can you make to ease stress and get a good night’s rest?
A step-by-step method is needed for students to reach their goals. To devise your plan, think about the following questions.
- Planning a Time to Start Homework: How much time do you need to complete homework? How much time do you need to study? Would you work for 45 minutes, and then take a 10–15 minute break? What time would you promise to go to bed?
- Deciding on a Location: Where do you study that is without distraction? What distracts you? Do you like hearing background noise?
- Keeping a Planner: Where do you keep written assignments? How do you handle short-term and long-term assignments? What would you do with an assignment that wasn’t completed? Do you ever start assignments immediately, or wait until a few days before the due date?
- Studying Strategies: In considering the desire to work effectively, it is important for students to learn more about their gifts as a student. While some students can improve with the use of flash cards, others may benefit from hearing text, or writing and speaking it out loud. By understanding how you learn, you can save time, build your confidence, and achieve the goal.
- Make a Viable Plan: Don’t worry if aspects do not work. Take the time to tweak, and tweak again. You’ll need to make adjustments.
Lastly, when goals are achieved, take time to celebrate! Good luck!