Goal-setting for the school year: A how-to guide

Cartoons drawn by Ender Ross.

Goal-setting for the school year: A how-to guide

Foster Neve-Jones, Assistant Web Editor and Knights Speak

Goals are important, whether they be homework deadlines, the end zone on the sports field, or your own personal objectives. Goals help to keep you focused on the future and provide the opportunity to improve as your own person.

“People tend to get wrapped up in their daily life. It’s easier to stay afloat if you have goals,” said psychology teacher Rebecca Layton, “Long-term or short-term goals makes staying afloat a lot easier.”

While experienced high school students have already learned how to manage their goals and have achieved many of their own, Freshmen  might have a harder time.

Goal setting can be difficult, but there are many tips and tricks to help.

Step One: Where to start?

“I do an activity with my students for them to determine what areas of their life where they’re satisfied,” Layton said.

She utilizes a pie chart where students rate their satisfaction with parts of their life, whether it be family, health, romance or any other part.

Using this wheel, it’s easier to determine what aspects of someone’s life that they’re not happy with and plan out short or long-term goals based on that.

This activity is a great starting place for students to determine what focus their goals will have. A student might feel great about their relationship with their parents but not as much with their school work. Then, there’s a great place to dive into.

“[My goals are] generally academic,” said senior Gabriel Naylor, “like trying to get all A’s for a trimester.”

Step Two: Dial In

Once someone has determined what part of their life that they want to focus on, they can start to focus in. This is where you start to determine specifics, something exact and concrete to improve on.

“Where people go really wrong is when they’re trying to make strict changes,” said Layton. “You can’t start being healthy by saying ‘No sugar, no carbs,’’ that’s setting yourself up for failure.”

You have  to start small: set an easier goal, and then achieve it before looking to work on too much.

“I typically stick with an idea and push through it before starting another one,” said senior Nina Molitor.

Step 3: Review

As time moves on and you move towards your end goal, it’s always important to review your intentions. Although students might be afraid to change their goals, Layton argues that goals should change.

“They’re your goal posts,” Layton said. “If you thought X, Y, or Z would be useful, but it sucks, try something different.”

The freedom that comes with setting personal goals is that they can change depending on what works or doesn’t work. If one goal ends up being harder than originally thought, or too easy, adjustments can be made.

“If a goal is too easy for me, I just keep going and feel good about myself,” Naylor said.

Step 4: Celebrate

Once a goal has been completed it’s a great time to celebrate. Sometimes you can even set rewards for yourself and these rewards can be motivation for your success.
One great motivator for finishing goals is to have a bribe. A student’s parents might give them $20 for every A they get, or maybe someone might get themselves a donut after working a long shift. For some it could just be the satisfaction.

“I’m not super motivated, but what motivates me is that I’m getting something out of it,” said Molitor. “And that’s all I need to succeed.”

Now’s also a great time to set a new goal! Maybe even several. Goal setting is an ever-changing, ever-evolving progression of someone’s personal interests, and it is an amazing tactic to succeed at anything.