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Setting Goals

One of the easiest ways to motivate yourself is to set goals for what you want to accomplish. Goals are more likely to be achieved because you will be able to clearly picture how great it will feel to achieve the goal.

The best goals are those that are necessary, push you to learn new skills and will enrich your life as well as the lives of those you know. Some strategies and tips on how to set goals that you will be likely to achieve follow:

  »  "HARD" Goals

Heartfelt: Your goals will enrich your life and those around you.
Animated: You can vividly picture how great it will feel to achieve your goal.
Required: Your goal is necessary to achieve what you want in life.
Difficult: You will have to learn new skills, make sacrifices, and step outside your comfort zone to achieve your goals.

Benefits of HARD goals
  • They force you to overcome self-imposed limitations.
  • Allows you to focus on something bigger than your immediate wants.
  • Research suggests that the harder the goal, the higher your performance.


Example:
“I want to finish my thesis this semester so that I can finish my Master’s degree.”

Heartfelt: Finishing your thesis will enrich your life by allowing you to finish your education.
Animated: Image how wonderful it will feel to turn in your thesis and not have to worry about it anymore.
Required: You can not receive your Master’s degree without completing your thesis.
Difficult: Perhaps you will have to learn something new, or this could be the first time working for a particular company, analyzing research by yourself, or the like.

  »  Have a Support System in Place

Having a support system will keep you from feeling as though you are going through this alone. Common sources of support:
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Fellow students in your program
  • Professors and Academic Advisers
Make sure you keep in touch with these contacts
  • If you need help, ask.
  • If someone else needs help, attempt to help them.
Benefits of having a healthy support system:
  • Alleviating stress
  • Increase your confidence and esteem
  • Decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • It’s fun!

  »  Additional Tips for Success

  • Make the time to write down all your goals — large and small
  • Break your big goals down into small goals
  • Make time every day to work towards your goal
  • Remind yourself of your goals every day
  • Look over your goals every week
  • Are your goals all still relevant?
  • If you did not make any progress with a goal, identify the obstacle
  • Add or modify goals to keep your list as up to date as possible
  • Tell others about your goals so you feel more accountable
  • If possible, see if you can meet others with the same or similar goals
  • Cross off the goals as you accomplish them
  • Reward yourself every time you accomplish a goal
  • Savor the feeling of accomplishment once you complete a goal — you did it!