With the first few months of the year flying by, it’s easy for students to lose track of the academic goals they set at the beginning of the year. Not only does time seem to go quickly, it’s normal for students to lose interest in some of the goals set or maybe they’ve forgotten what they actually wanted to achieve in the first place. Having clear academic goals is the key to students being successful in achieving all they want to during their years in education. That’s why it’s important to help them stay on track with their yearly goals and apply some of these useful strategies to help them do so.
Remember, It’s Okay To Change Goals
One of the main reasons students lose interest in goals they’ve set out for a new year is because they’ve changed their mind about what they want to achieve or have just lost motivation in general. That’s why it’s important to remind students that goals are not permanent. In fact, they’re flexible and it’s vital that students continually re-evaluate their progress and what they actually want to achieve. Changing goals when necessary can really make a difference, especially if students have become demotivated or a target needs to be made slightly more realistic for the time frame they have. To help them get back on track, encourage them to sit down and re-assess the goals they started out with at the beginning of the year and adjust, adapt or change them completely if necessary.
Share Goals With Others And Get Support
It’s important for students to tell other people about their goals. Enlisting friends, parents, teachers, and grandparents as personal cheerleaders, supporters or just accountability partners is a great way for students to stay on track with their goals. Remind them that even successful students get help and aren’t afraid to ask for it!
Build An Environment To Help Students Achieve Goals
It’s important for students to build an environment that will help them achieve their goals. We recommend creating a space that minimises distractions and maximises focus and on-task behaviour. Perhaps this means having music available, or a quiet area to work, using a digital timer for keeping track of break times or just having lots of water and healthy snacks nearby to provide a boost during study sessions.
Narrow Down Goals
Having too many educational goals can actually be more of a hindrance for students and the same goes with goals that are unachievable. It’s a good idea for students who have particularly fallen off track with their academic goals to regroup and think carefully about one or two clear goals they would like to focus on throughout the rest of the year. We also recommend being realistic with these goals, and perhaps looking at goals set before and amending them slightly if they were slightly unrealistic. Using S.M.A.R.T goals is an excellent way to avoid being overwhelmed and help increase productivity throughout the year.
Build Habits And Routines
The key for students achieving goals is through having structure, habit and routine. When students have clear systems in place, it makes it significantly easier for them to stay on track in achieving their goals, especially on the days when they’re not feeling as naturally motivated. We recommend starting each Monday with writing out a detailed to-do list and prioritising tasks accordingly. Not only is prioritising their day something students will be able to continue to use throughout life, it will also help to motivate them to get the tasks done- there’s nothing better than the sense of achievement when crossing things off a list! Even though having weekly priorities and planning out what needs completing first isn’t going to guarantee it will get done, the process of planning helps students focus and gives direction to each day.
Visual reinforcement makes a huge difference when it comes to students achieving goals. Encouraging them to use visual systems so they can track and chart their progress will also help them to check if they’re on track but also to review and appreciate their progress. This regular comparison and tracking will do wonders when it comes to keeping students motivated to stay on track to achieve their goals.
Use A Reward System For Distractions
Concentration and hard work are essential for students trying to achieve specific academic goals. However, it’s easy to become distracted with more appealing things such as hanging out with friends, watching TV or scrolling through social media. It’s important for students to recognise what is distracting them from achieving their goals and rather than indulging, instead, use a reward system for when they’ve completed a step towards their goal. This way if they get everything done they intended to at the beginning of a study session, they can reward themselves with something like watching a YouTube video or just hanging out with friends. A little motivation can go a long way when it comes to getting back on track with goals.