Successful students have goals – A Guide for Successful Students - Deepstash
Successful students have goals

Succeeding in college is rather like succeeding in life:

  • It’s really much more about you than it is about college. The most important place to start is to consider why you’re here, what matters to you, and what you expect to get out it
  • Students who have long term life and career goals see college as one step towards achieving their goals.
  • There may be times you feel like giving up or you just don’t feel like going to class, reading your textbook, or writing that paper.
  • Goals help you set priorities and remain motivated and committed to your college success.

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Goal Setting

A goal is a result we intend to reach mostly through our own actions. Things we do may move us closer to or farther away from that result. Studying moves us closer to success in a difficult course, while sleeping through the final examination may completely prevent reaching that goal. 

One way to prevent problems is to think about all your goals and priorities and to learn ways to manage your time, your studies, and your social life to best reach your goals.

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  • Short-term goals focus on today and the next few days and perhaps weeks.
  • Midterm goals involve plans for this school year and the time you plan to remain in college.
  • Long-term goals may begin with graduating college and everything you want to happen thereafter.

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Follow these guidelines:

  • Goals should be realistic. It’s good to dream and to challenge yourself, but your goals should relate to your personal strengths and abilities.
  • Goals should be specific. Don’t write, “I will become a great musician;” instead, write, “I will finish my music degree and be employed in a symphony orchestra.”
  • Goals should have a time frame. You won’t feel very motivated if your goal is vaguely “to finish college someday.” If you’re realistic and specific in your goals, you should also be able to project a time frame for reaching the goal.

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Everything people do and how they do it starts with attitude.
  • One student gets up with the alarm clock and cheerfully prepares for the day, planning to study for a couple of hours between classes, go jogging later, and see a friend at dinner.
  • Another student oversleeps after partying too late last night, decides to skip his first class, somehow gets through later classes fueled by fast food and energy drinks while dreading tomorrow’s exam, and immediately accepts a friend’s suggestion to go out tonight instead of studying.

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  • Enthusiasm for and enjoyment of daily activities
  • Acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions and feeling good about success
  • Motivation to get the job done
  • Flexibility to make changes when needed
  • Ability to make productive, effective use of time

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  • Frequent complaining
  • Blaming others for anything that goes wrong
  • Often experiencing negative emotions: anger, frustration, resentment
  • Lack of motivation for work or studies
  • Hesitant to change or seek improvement
  • Unproductive use of time, procrastination

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Stay Focused and Motivated

Attitude can change at almost any moment. One minute you’re enthusiastically starting a class project, and then maybe a friend drops by and suddenly all you want to do is close the books and relax a while, hang out with friends.

One of the characteristics of successful people is accepting that life is full of interruptions and change— and planning for it

Staying focused does not mean you become a boring person who does nothing but go to class and study all the time. You just need to make a plan.

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Planning ahead is the single best way to stay focused and motivated to reach your goals. 

  • Don’t wait until the night before an exam. If you know you have a major exam in five days, start by reviewing the material and deciding how many hours of study you need. 
  • Allow time for other activities, too, to reward yourself for successful studying. Then when the exam comes, you’re relaxed, you know the material, you’re in a good mood and confident, and you do well.

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  • If you’re not feeling motivated, think about the results of your goals, not just the goals themselves. 
  • Remember your successes, even small successes. Remember how good it feels to succeed.
  • Get the important things done first. 
  • Stay focused, motivated and concentrate on the things that matter most. 
  • Stay focused!
  • If the task seems too big and daunting, break the task into smaller, manageable pieces.
  • Imitate successful people.
  • Separate yourself from unsuccessful people. 
  • Reward yourself when you complete a significant task – but only when you are done.

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Thinking about your goals gets you started, but it’s also important to think about priorities. Try this experiment: go back to the goals you wrote and see if you can rank each goal as a:

  • Top priority
  • Middle priority
  • Lowest priority

Priorities always involve time: what is most important to do right now. Time management is mostly a way to juggle priorities so you can meet all your goals.

When you manage your time well, you don’t have to ignore some goals completely in order to meet other goals.

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  • Having long-term goals (college diploma) leads to setting midterm goals (by semester) which can be broken down into short-term goals (completing an assignment).
  • Writing out your goals helps you think more clearly about what you want to achieve.
  • Having enthusiasm for daily life, accepting responsibility, being motivated and flexible, and making effective use of time are signs of a positive attitude.
  • Planning ahead is the single best way to stay focused and motivated to reach your goals.
  • Goals help you set priorities and remain committed to your college success.

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