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Keep your eyes on the prize! Setting goals for the rest of the term

By Sophie Lachapelle, 2nd-year  Health Studies student

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – JFK.

The leaves have changed, the temperature is slowly dropping, apple cider season is in full swing, and Christmas (for those of you who celebrate it) will soon be here! But don’t get too excited… there are still three weeks of school left, and this post-midterm lull in your homework won’t last for much longer.

If your head is swirling with warm thoughts of the much anticipated holiday season and you can’t seem to get back into the work groove, you’re not alone. Ease yourself back into your workload by looking back at your term. What did you plan to do? What have you actually done? What do you still need to do? Now that you have compiled those lists, we can begin to set some goals for the rest of the term.

Goals are important for helping us determine what is important to us, prioritize tasks, and keep us on track (especially with the end of the term looming). Think of goal setting as a funnel. This funnel starts with your values, those all encompassing principles that you base your life around – what are they and how do they affect your academic career? What are your goals for your academic program?Building relationships, engaging in extracurricular activities, and even graduating are examples of goals for your academic program.

How can you complete your program goals by setting smaller goals for the rest of this term? What about completing the outline for that final paper, or planning an exam study schedule for your most difficult course? These term goals will help you plan the last two levels of the funnel: weekly and daily goals. Remember that goal setting is an ongoing process – your goals may change as you complete assignments or adjust your priorities.

If you’re having trouble, think about being SMART with your goals: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time sensitive.

  • Being specific with your goals will make them easier to tackle. While studying biology seems daunting, studying units 1 and 2 of biology will be easier to take on.
  • Measurable goals are more straightforward to complete and evaluate.
  • Action-oriented goals allow you to have control over what gets done – your goals can only be completed by your actions and your actions alone.
  • Don’t set yourself up for failure; make your goals realistic and achievable.
  • Finally, create goals that are time sensitive and have a deadline.

This handy acronym will ensure that you have goals you can not only meet, but also actually feel good about completing!

Now you have a list of values and objectives to shape the rest of your semester. Remember the words of JFK and go forth into the final weeks and keep your eyes on the goals you have set for yourself! If you’d like more tips and tricks on how to set goals and prioritize, check out the Learning Strategies’ “Strategies and Tools” page!

Photo courtesy of klengel under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.