Why are you wondering whether goals are important for students or not?
For me, it was simple curiosity.
You see, in the personal development / self improvement space, goals are a hot topic. The space has gone through every evolution you can think of.
- Goals are great
- Goals are necessary
- We’re burnt out with goals, stop setting goals do this instead
- Goals are bullshit
- Goals are only for certain people
Just search goals on the internet and you’ll find a million posts, all sharing their personal opinion on what goals are, whether they’re important or not and so on…
Hell, you’ll even find some from my blog there, and posts that I’ve written for other successful bloggers as well.
But that’s the thing, until now, I thought goals were for adults.
Goals are for personal growth, for people with mature concerns about life and it’s value…
…what about students though?
Here are a few things I found out researching the idea – Why are goals important for students, if at all?
Why are goals important for students?:
- Students with no goals have no direction with which to focus their energy
- This causes them to waste time, resources, embrace mischief when they’re young and not know what they want from life when they’re in college
- Goals imply a sense of purpose, to set one properly you need to know yourself, what you want from life etc…on a deep level
- It’s been proven that students who set a goal and write it down and develop an action plan are likely (8 out of 10) to achieve those goals
Do you have to set goals to be successful as a student?
Yes, setting goals is your best bet to being successful in school – and here’s why.
When you set a goal you’re effectively aligning yourself with your desired future. Those who choose not to do this wander aimlessly and end up wasting time, resources and effort because the results they want are not always fresh in their mind.
When you don’t understand (specifically) what results you want, you cannot prioritize your choices and behavior based on what’s conducive (good) and what’s not good for your goals.
But it’s not just having a goal in your mind that counts, it’s the actual follow through (careful planning and execution) that really changes your life when you set goals.
For example, let’s say a student named John know’s he wants to not worry about his research paper over spring break, and his goal is get most of it done beforehand.
John (in Scenario A) sets a goal to have most of his paper completed before break. He knows that he could reasonably complete 20 pages after break. This wouldn’t stress him out, he’d be able to relax, and have time to just enjoy the rest of the year.
So his goal is to complete 150 pages before break, which means in the next 3 weeks. From there he understands that 50 pages will need done each week, and can then prioritize his days accordingly.
With no goal, John simply goes about his normal day with no change. Keep in mind, he still has his goal fresh in his mind, but because he went no further, he doesn’t know how much needs to be done, only that some needs done.
At the end of both scenarios, the John who set the goal and got after it, completed his goal in time, and had a wonderful break and end of the year.
But in Scenario B, the John who didn’t set the goal still executed. He got 85 pages done in those three weeks, and during those three weeks, he felt pretty good, because he was doing more than normal and well on his way to having a nice break – or so he thought.
But because he neglected the goal setting process, he didn’t have the info he needed to win fresh in his mind each day. He did what he “felt” was good, not what he knew was good.
Coming back from break, he had 65 pages to complete instead of 20, and his time at the end of the year was spoken for.
The entire goal setting process is designed to make sure you get the results you want so that you don’t have to hope and pray to stumble upon those results…maybe…
If the results are important to you, then you probably have the desire to ensure you get them, rather than leaving it up to change, because if you don’t reach your mark, you don’t exactly have another 4 years to try again.
What’s the difference between students who set goals and those who don’t?
Students who set goals regularly achieve them. In fact, students who set goals and follow careful execution plans are likely to reach those goals 80% of the time, regardless of the difficulty of the goal.
When students don’t set goals, not only do they not reach those goals (because no goals have been set) but lack the knowing required to truly know what they want from life, and therefore take advantage of their education.
Setting goals creates a sense of control for you while you’re in school, which is important. Your education is supposed to prepare you for your life, right?
How important is it then to consciously guide the direction your education takes?
For students in regular grade school, setting goals for themselves creates momentum that will carry on into high school, and when in high school, setting goals fosters the type of attitude and confidence required to succeed and head off to secondary education, or prepare them for life when school is completed.
What kind of goals should students set?
The type of goal you (or they) set as a student depends on the type of student you are, where you are in your education, and what types of improvements you’re trying to make while pursuing that education.
Types of goals Students can set for themselves:
- Behavioral goals – for students who have behavioral problems in school
- Consistency goals – for students who need to make behaviors a habit (like waking up on time)
- Subject specific goals – for those who feel they’re lacking in a certain area
- Openness goals – for all students in order to fully experience education and find out what they like
- Work performance goals – practical goals for getting homework and projects done on time
- Progress oriented goals – Getting to a certain point in their education by a certain time (being qualified to apply for a research grant or qualifying for a minor)
How do you set goals in the first place?
Goal setting is a process of defining what you want and creating a followable plan to obtain that initial desire.
The first step to setting goals that will have you achieving everything you want, while turning you into the best student you can be is discovering your aspiration, which isn’t hard at all.
An aspiration is your desire for life to be a certain way. Whenever you say “Man, it would be really cool if…” and then fill in the blanks.
…if I could achieve this [blank].
…if life could be like that [blank].
…if I could only [blank].
The second step in getting your goals off the ground will be getting to the point where you actually make the decision to pursue the goal in the first place. This is called an intention. It means that you went from “I wish” to “I will”.
The third step in the goal setting process is developing your action plan. Action plans can be tricky, and students specifically are known to get bogged down and over complicate things when trying to create action plans.
This leads to confusion, frustration and pain. When we attach pain to something, we run from it, which is bad when that something happens to be your goal!
Download this simple and easy action plan to avoid all these problems. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t.
What goal setting tools will I need?
Tools for excellent goal setting:
- Journal – for recording your progress and chronically your experience
- A goal setting planner – a proven road map for avoiding pitfalls and embracing success
- Phone applications – to help keep you on track
Setting goals for your student life will not only help you get better grades, it will provide direction so you know where you want to go with your life and how to get there.
Goals are the most excellent method for taking your aspirations and transforming them into tangible results, those who neglect to set goals leave their results up to the wind, which means they’re effectively snubbing their innermost dreams and desires.
Goals keep you on track, they maintain your alignment and ensure you never go astray, and give you a road map to follow that makes sure you get to your desired destination.
Those who do not set goals really have only a semblance of direction to go.
This is similar to knowing you want to take a road trip, but not knowing where, never fleshing that desire out, and never deciding to go in the first place.
When setting goals, you want to make sure you nail every step, or you could end up veering off course.
In order to nail every step, the simplest and safest way is to create a foolproof action plan, which you can get here.
The second step is to use an expertly created goal setting planner, like this one here.
After you’ve used these both to set your first goal, you’re well on your way to becoming addicted to the increased success and satisfaction that accompanies getting the results you’ve always wanted!