Setting goals may seem like a tedious task, but it is a great way to keep on track and get tangible results. It can also help you to keep realistic about what is manageable, particularly around assessment times when life can get a bit hectic! To help, our resident GIE blogger Lucy has shared her tips for setting goals for the new school year.

1. Keep it realistic

Often we set ourselves goals that are TOO big, and which we can never realistically achieve in the time frame set. It’s all about finding that sweet spot that will challenge you, but is still achievable. For example, I could say I’m going to go for a run every day - but that’s never going to happen. Instead, I set myself a goal to run twice a week. Once I started doing that regularly, I’ve set a new goal to run four times a week.

2. Set yourself a deadline

If you don’t have a deadline to work towards, it can be hard to follow through with your goals (it’s very easy to just say ‘I’ll do it next week’!). If it’s a big goal you’re setting, it could be helpful to set smaller, checkpoint goals to get you to the big goal. For example, if your goal is to increase your marks in a subject, you could do it progressively – eg. ‘I’m sitting at 70% now, so I want to get 75% by the end of this term, and 85% by the end of the year’.

3. Keep it relevant

Sometimes you can fall into the trap of setting goals that don’t really relate to anything else in your life. Try to ensure you have a purpose behind your goals, and they are not just for the sake of setting goals. For example, if you have never been a competitive swimmer, and are unlikely to be in the future, is there much point to setting a goal of coming first at the swimming carnival? Set your sights on something that will help you into the future!

4. Give yourself a reward

It can be all too easy to sit back in the holidays and say ‘I will achieve x…’ – then when the busyness of school and life catches up, forget what you are working towards. And more importantly, WHY. Setting yourself a tangible reward can help you keep working towards your goals and give you that extra bit of motivation to reach them.

5. Make a plan

Rather than getting overwhelmed with a big goal, set yourself small steps to reach it. Mapping out how you’re going to reach your goal can really help you. This can also include navigating the things that will trip you up; if your goal is to increase your grades and your phone is a distraction for you, one example would be planning to leave your phone in another room when you are working.

I always found it really hard setting goals when I was at school, or even knowing where to start. Now, I look at the different areas of my life and what I want to focus on for the year ahead. If you’re stuck, perhaps think about some areas where you’d like to really achieve something this year – it might be at school, in your sporting team, a musical goal, or volunteering for an organisation you believe in. Whatever it is, keep a visual reminder of your goal somewhere at home to remind of what you are working towards!

Good luck for the year ahead!