Passing a test that you’re worried about. Getting straight A’s. Graduating from high school. Earning a college degree.
Goals are everywhere. They’re big and small, exciting and terrifying.
A students’ goals might look a lot like the ones above. Someone who isn’t in school anymore likely has a different set of goals that look quite different. There is a very good reason that Fortune 500 CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, and other business executives set goals for themselves and their companies. Studies have concluded that when people write down their goals, they are 33% more likely to achieve them. At the same time, simply setting goals—not even achieving them—has been linked to improved self-confidence, increased motivation, and increased independence.
Goal-Setting Alone Is Valuable
Setting goals leads to more resourcefulness and a level of self-belief that non-goal setters simply don’t have. Even if you fail to meet your goal, the practice of thinking about your desires, setting a goal, and working towards completing it is hugely beneficial. There is something called the “endowment effect” that states that when we take ownership of something, we are more committed to it. Whether this is an item, an idea, or a goal, this principle applies. Setting a goal shifts our mindset—this goal is OURS and we WILL achieve it.
Plan Action Steps to Achieve Your Goals
Most goals that fail to be accomplished do so because of a lack of actionable steps. You may say that you want to earn straight A’s this semester, but how are you going to do that? Let’s say your action step is to spend 15 minutes every weeknight (outside of doing regular homework) studying something from one of your classes. This gives you a tangible way to reach your goal. Simply saying “Gosh, I hope I get good grades” isn’t enough to help you achieve that. Set an actual, realistic, and precise goal, like “I will get straight A’s this semester,” and then implement your action plan to bring you closer to achieving that goal.
Whether you actually meet the goal or not, you’ll still enjoy great benefits of goal-setting practices, such as an improved attitude and increased optimism, more independence, increased motivation, and more self-confidence.