Do you make daily or weekly goals? Find out why you should!

When runners race they do so against other runners but they also compete against themselves, struggling to beat the times they set in races past.  Students should also compete with themselves.  You can only grow as a student and a person if you consistently challenge yourself, and setting goals can help to give you purpose and direction in life.  Goals also provide a way of measuring progress.  Here are a few tips for setting personal goals to help you make the most of your education.

Set Both Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Setting long-term goals is a good idea, but motivation tends to wear out quickly when the goal seems to be too far away.  Instead of losing sight of the big picture, add smaller, short-term goals so that you can measure your progress in increments.  For example, if your long-term goal is to complete your degree, then one of your short-term goals might be to make the dean's list or earn an “A” in one of your classes. This will make your goals seem more practical. Having a four-year goal of earning your degree can seem so out-of-reach, you might want to give up or slack off. Being able to be proud of yourself on a frequent basis is what you are trying to aim for here.

Set Goals that are Realistic

When setting goals you should aim high, but you should also be reasonable.  Pay particularly close attention to the amount of time and work that meeting a certain goal will require of you before setting it for yourself.  If your goal is to earn a Bachelor's degree, for example, don't expect to complete it in less than a year.  Make sure that you give yourself an ample amount of time to complete your goals.

Write Down Your Goals

Instead of just keeping your goals in your mind, write them down, that way you have something tangible to look at that will remind you of what you're trying to achieve.  Do this for both your long-term and short-term goals.  Write your goals down on individual note cards or a single sheet of paper and put them somewhere that you'll see them regularly.  Hang them from your bathroom mirror or put them on the inside of one of your school folders; whatever it takes to remind you of what you hope to accomplish.

Prioritize and Stay Committed to Your Goals

Identifying which goals are most important to you can help you to stay focused and better manage your time.  Once you've set your goals you should regularly evaluate your progress and work hard to achieve them. If you noticed you have fallen off track, try not to get discouraged. Just rearrange some of your goals so they fit into your current schedule and attack them that way. Never let them fall to the wayside, as you may never get back to them once you let them go.

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