The Power of Setting Goals

By Amber Lazorko, Kapiʻo Staff Writer /

In college, success often comes from trial and error. Learning from our previous experiences is essential in moving forward, and using what we have learned to set new goals for ourselves can be an effective way of ensuring a more positive, productive and enjoyable semester.

There is ample research to support this idea. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2010, researchers from McGill University and the University of Toronto investigated the effects of goal-setting on the academic performance of students at four-year colleges. They found that students who set clearly defined, attainable goals for themselves improved their academic performance by an average of 30 percent. The authors concluded that, goal-setting “appears to be a quick, effective and inexpensive intervention for struggling undergraduate students.”

With the end of the semester fast approaching, now is the time to consider our experiences this semester and think of goals that can help us to do better next semester.

Stop Procrastinating: This applies to registering for classes, buying textbooks, doing homework or starting projects. A very stressful part of the semester is when major projects and papers are due. An attainable goal is to finish your papers at least one day in advance. Time is often the most valued prized possessions for a college student. Adapting good time management skills can be rewarding, as you wont feel so rushed and stressed throughout the semester.

Plan ahead: Along with that, planning is crucial. Getting organized and planning out project deadlines, tests, quizzes, and school activities are key aspects of overall preparation and readiness. For example, to make registration effortless, try meeting with a counselor each semester to create and understand an academic plan is vital. Touching base with a counselor can help ensure you’re on the right path and having a clear overview of your academic journey makes the finish line seem attainable.

Get some sleep: College life is difficult and a lack of sleep can exacerbate the stress we feel from school, finances, friends and other concerns. Therefore, getting a decent amount of sleep each night is crucial for long-term success in school and our overall well-being. Set a goal of getting the 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep recommended for adults each night and you will be in better condition to meet the demands of your days.

Make time for yourself: To put it simply, mental overload sucks. Having too much on your mind can prevent you from being productive, so take time to clear your mind and find the clarity you need to handle all of your obligations.