How to Stay on Track with Your Academic Goals

How to Stay on Track with Your Academic Goals

Midterms are upon us and if you are anything like me, the academic goals you set at the beginning of the semester have begun to fade from your mind. But wait, they don’t have to! We want you to finish your semester strong, so today we are sharing lots of tips to help you meet and exceed your academic goals. With these in mind, you will be able to enter summer break feeling proud and accomplished before you know it!

Set the right types of goals
Setting goals is great, but if you aren’t strategic when deciding what you want to achieve, your odds of success will be much lower. Before you even start your journey, you should follow these steps to create benchmarks that can be met.

Use positive language
This is critical in helping to place you in the right mindset, so instead of saying “I won’t fail math” say “I will get a B+ in math.” By taking away the negative connotation of the phrase you will be able to feel more motivated to work toward your goal.

Be realistic
You want to create a goal that is both measurable and achievable. You should be able to definitively measure whether or not you are making progress toward your goal. Additionally, your goal should be realistic, for example, “get a perfect score on every assignment” is likely not possible, but “get a 90 or above on all assignments” is something more feasible. This is not meant to hold you back, or to say that you can’t surpass your goal, but rather to ensure you won’t get discouraged even when doing your best, which could cause you to give up prematurely.

Set “mini” goals
When you set a major goal it can also be helpful to set a few smaller goals that will help you to get there, for example “I will complete every homework assignment” or I will go to office hours every Friday.” These actionable steps can help you make progress if you feel stumped on how to move ahead.

Make sure they are “your” goals
At the end of the day, these are your goals and they should reflect what you want to accomplish, not what your family, friends, or teachers want you to do. If you do not truly believe in the importance of a goal you will likely not be committed to achieving it, so before you start, take the time to really think about what you want.

Use an online tool
There are a lot of online tools that can help you manage your goals and provide the extra reminder you need to keep going. I really like Wunderlist, a great app for to-do lists and tasks that really helps keep me on track. Sometimes a subtle reminder on my phone is all I need to get me back to making progress.

Stick with it
First and foremost, you need to commit to sticking to your goal even if setbacks happen. During the process, everything is not going to go perfectly and you need to prepare yourself for when things get derailed and have methods ready to come back even stronger. If you don’t prepare yourself for this you may find yourself giving up, so it is better to face it head-on.

Reward successes
Along the way, there will be moments where you do great things that bring you closer to your ultimate goal. Take the time to reward yourself for these little wins in order to keep you motivated as you continue working! Whether it’s taking a trip to your favorite park or cooking your favorite healthy meal, choose a reward that will help you relax and unwind.

Remove distractions
Meeting an academic goal feels really great, but the process of getting there is not always the most fun. You may be tempted to avoid tasks like homework or tutoring and find yourself browsing the internet, watching tv, or scrolling through social media. Avoid this by creating a workspace with minimal distractions. There are also helpful web apps, like Offtime, that temporarily block social media and keep you from getting sucked into the latest posts on Instagram.

Find a buddy
If you have a friend or family member who is working toward a goal at the same time as you, you can hold each other accountable and you will both be more likely to be successful. You don’t even need to have the same goal, you just each need to know what the other is aiming for, check-in periodically, and offer mutual support.

Set aside time to unwind
Working toward a major goal requires hustle, but you don’t want to get burnt out which could cause you to give up all together. To avoid this, set aside time to relax and do something that you enjoy, after taking some time away you will come back feeling better and more productive.

Limit yourself to a few goals at a time
We know that working toward an exciting goal can inspire you to want to change many areas of your life all at once, however, we would recommend limiting yourself to 2-3 major goals at a time. Any more and you may become overwhelmed and unable to make progress toward any of them. If you think of improvements you hope to make but can’t focus on just yet, write them down and come back to them later!

Get organized
Being organized can help everything you do feel just a little bit easier. Get organized both physically, by cleaning up your workspace and digitally by organizing your calendar of assignments and online files. When everything is in order you will be less distracted by clutter and better able to get actual work done.

What are you doing to achieve your academic goals this semester? Let us know on Twitter, @Conserisapp. Good luck!

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