How To Set & Follow Study Goals

I am a big fan of setting goals. So much that I wrote an entire series on it in January because, for me, goals replace resolutions. Resolutions are broad, abstract statements such as “be a better wife” or “eat healthier”. Goals, on the other hand, are planned out, step-by-step procedures and habits that lead you down the path to where you want to be! Sometimes it’s easy to get off track, lose motivation, or forget why we do what we do. Sometimes it’s easy to feel burnt out, even about things that we love doing!
Right now, I have the biggest case of Senioritis ever: I am all set to graduate grad school in December, I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA, I’ve passed every certification exam with flying colors (except that pesky math part… literally passed that by 1 point… aka “victory!” in Kirsten World). And guess what? At this point, I am just downright tired of school. It’s been my top priority for SO long. And this semester, I am just over it. Ready to be done. Ready to move on and focus on other things that have slowly moved to the top of my priority list. 
So, what’s the problem with that? The problem is that I’m not out of the woods yet! I still have a huge research project to conduct, analyze, and present to the ominous “evaluators”. So even though I am so, so ready to be done… I’m just not yet! 
This is where the goal setting comes in! Did you know that our motivation for completing long-term goals is like a giant U? Yep. Think about each semester. We start out super motivated with our new schedules and our new school supplies and we are super excited to have an awesome semester! However, somewhere around Midterms, we begin to lose motivation. We get tired. And we realize that, even though we’ve come so far, we’re still only halfway there. And that can be a little discouraging.

So let’s do this: Take 5 minutes to make a list of all of the things that you’ve already accomplished! If you’re in your first semester, go ahead and write down how many tests you’ve already completed! If you’re a year or two into your college career, write down all of the classes that you’ve completed and what else you’ve accomplished! In grad school like me? Same thing. ALL. THOSE. CLASSES. You’re almost done! Don’t forget to add all the awesome things you do like work, friends, sports, etc!

Next, make a list of your goals for the upcoming months! You’ve already accomplished all of those things and, at one time, they were goals, too! Don’t let yourself get discouraged or feel overwhelmed! You’ve done awesome things before and you will do awesome things this time, too! 

Once the semester moves on, and we realize that Finals are coming up, we kick it back into high gear and work our tails off to make awesome grades on our final exams/projects! It’s just that middle part that’s challenging; the bottom of the U. The part of the year where we aren’t feeling the urgency of Finals and we’re just kind of drifting throughout the school year. That’s where habits and routines really come into play! We’ve all heard that it takes between 21-28 days to form a new habit. So let’s try that!
Commit today to taking baby steps for the next 3-4 weeks (the rest of October) to doing a little each day to move yourself towards your studying goals. They don’t have to be huge steps, just a little each day to get you where you would like to be by November 1. Think of a way to celebrate yourself when you do reach that goal. Maybe splurge on a new bag or plan a big girls’ night! Whatever motivates you!

How do you keep yourself motivated to follow through with your goals?! What study goals do you have for this semester? Or for this year?! 

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