How to Set Educational Goals

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Goals help you choose a specific direction for your future life. They can be structured, composed and action orientated. Besides developing strategies, you need to know how to self-asses and measure your success. Start with asking questions like what is your goal, when do you want to accomplish it and how are you going to do it. Usually there is a central goal that can be broken down into intermediate goals or specific tasks. Success and failures can be used as learning experiences that lead to improvement.

Set your goals
Before you start setting goals, do some research about colleges and programs that you are interested in. Most people don’t know how to set educational goals because they don’t have a clear vision about what they want. Write down your short and long term objectives and place them in a visible place. Also list former goals that have not been achieved in order to establish a historical framework that will lead to better goal-awareness. When tasks are formulated, they should be expressed in a positive manner.

Make sure they are SMART
Goals have to be realistic and achievable. If you have a family and small children. setting a goal to graduate in 3 years might not be the best option. If you don’t like biology and chemistry, don’t plan to become a science teacher. An effective goal has to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. A measurable goal allows you to quantify your progress, and if it’s attainable you can control the outcome. Relevant goals lead to improvement and setting a time limit keeps you focused.

Set intermediate goals
If you don’t know how to set educational goals because they seem to hard to achieve, write down some intermediate goals as part of the plan. If your long-term educational objective is to graduate and get a good job, think about how you are going to do that and break it down into a number of steps. Some of the intermediate goals can be succeeding in a specific course, obtaining an internship or creating a portfolio of your work.

Don’t procrastinate!
Procrastinating means wasting time doing something you’re not supposed to do in order to avoid something you should do. If you are a procrastinator, heading towards a goal can seem scary. A good way to get things started is to set a schedule. Each time you meet it reward yourself by doing something that you like, like watching a movie or going out dancing. If you don’t complete the tasks, don’t do the things you like as a “punishment”.

Stay positive
An important step on how to set educational goals is to stay positive. Don’t get discouraged even if you don’t manage to reach every intermediate goal. Keep trying until you get it right. Each failure is a learning experience that brings you closer to your objectives! Use family inspirational quotes if you have to, but don’t lose your drive and motivation; remember what the end game is, but try not to think too far ahead, otherwise it will all seem to overwhelming and distant. A positive attitude brings forth positive outcomes.