Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, why don’t you try
setting 2016 goals instead? Specifically, why don’t you try to set education
goals? Resolutions are firm absolutes and usually are about completely changing
a habit or behavior. We’ve all done it—you set a New Year’s resolution with the
best of intentions only to break it three weeks later. Well, not this year!
This year, set goals.
Goals require work, deadlines, and check-ins. Goals need a
game plan and a schedule. The best part? If you fall behind on a goal, you can
always get yourself back on track.
You don’t have to do it alone. We’ve set up 4 easy steps to
setting education goals you can (and will!) stick to in 2016.
Step 1: Reflect on last year
Did you have goals coming into 2015? If so, did you reach
them? Even if you didn’t officially set goals you probably had some idea of
what you wanted to accomplish. If you didn’t accomplish what you wanted,
reflect on why not. It’s true that sometimes outside roadblocks can get in the
way of accomplishing what you want, but often these are just excuses that we
tell ourselves. Separate the excuses from the real roadblocks in 2016.
Step 2: Think about your endgame
Let’s say your endgame is to earn your bachelor's degree.
Don’t make that your only 2016-education goal. Earning your degree takes
commitment and time. Think about what you need to do to earn your degree. Maybe
your want to take 6 credits per semester instead of 3 to reach your goal, or maybe you want to earn straight-A's so you take less credits. Set goals that are realistic and
that will propel you towards your endgame.
Step 3: Identify your roadblocks
Roadblocks are anything that might stand in the way of you
achieving your goals. Write out any potential roadblocks, and think now about
how to avoid them or how you’ll deal with them when they come up. If a roadblock
is that your child will need you to take care of him or her after school, then
come up with a solution now. You could work out different after-school care a
couple days a week, or commit to doing your school work at night instead. If
you come up with a plan now, you’re less likely to fall behind on your goals.
Step 4: Be accountable
Being accountable is an important part of any goal. Be
accountable to yourself, and also to others if it helps you. A good way to set
up accountability is to write down all of your goals and share them with
others. If you tell your loved ones what your goals are, you’re more likely to
stick to them and to receive positive reinforcement.
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