Setting goals for yourself is a great way to achieve what you want. These can be big, long-term goals like what you’d like for your future or smaller short-term goals like completing a project at school or to finish a book you are struggling with.
Setting goals gives you the long-term plan and short-term motivation to achieve stuff and will help you to organise your time and resources. Most people who are successful have set goals to achieve their dreams; this includes world leaders, athletes, business people, scientists and a lot of amazing people.
Remember, not a lot of success happens by accident. Have your dreams and start to plan and work towards them.
First consider what you want to achieve, and then commit to it. SMART is a great way of achieving a goal because it helps lay out all the steps and makes it clearer. SMART is what’s called an acronym, the letters stand for something and that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
What exactly do I want to achieve?
Good goals are clearly defined:
Why do I want to reach this goal?
How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
You’ll need to be able to track your progress.
How will your goal be achieved?
List the individual steps or tasks you need to take.
Why is it important to you?
When do you want to achieve your goal?
Set your target date and work towards it
A good SMART goal will answer all these questions:
Specific: What is it I want to accomplish?
Measurable: How do I know I achieved my goal?
Achievable: Is it realistic?
Relevant: Why is it important to me?
Time-bound: What is the deadline?
Getting good at setting SMART goals can take a bit of practice so stick with it and you’ll find it works!
Download a good SMART worksheet example you can use below.
Don’t keep putting stuff off. If you do, you’ll soon run out of time to get everything done. By planning your work into manageable chunks and sticking to the plan, you’ll find yourself more on top of things – this will help you feel much more relaxed about your workload.
If you find your to-do list is getting too long, it may be that you have too much on. It can be easy to get involved in more activities than you can manage, especially if your friends want you to join them. Remember, it’s okay to say “no.” Knowing your limits and sticking to them will go a long way in keeping your commitments manageable.
If you have a test to revise for or a project to get done, bring along some work wherever you go. You can use some free time at lunch to study, or read a book while on the bus. Instead of reaching for your phone to check messages, use your time wisely and catch up on homework. Just a few minutes here and there will quickly add up, freeing up your time for other things later.
To-do lists are great. Make a list each day of what you need to get done, starting with the most important things. As the day progresses you can tick the items off your list as you get them done – this can be really satisfying! If you don’t complete every item on your list, don’t get upset. Simply add it to the next day’s to-do list – do get it done as soon as you can though, as you won’t want to drag these things on for too long.
Use your school journal diary or a calendar app on your phone to help you stay organised. Be sure to include your homework, any project work, tests, activities and hobbies. This will give you a clearer picture of the time you have to do your work.
It may help to have a weekly calendar in the kitchen or on the fridge, so everyone can see what you’re doing. Weekly family meetings are a great way of seeing what everyone’s plans are, and can help avoid any clashes.
Everyone thinks that they’re a good listener, but that’s not always true. Good listening takes concentration, and the good news is that it’s a skill you can master. Teachers will expect you to be paying attention. Concentrate on what’s being communicated and make eye contact with people when in conversation – this will also help you remember what was said later on.
If you’re not sure of something, just ask for help or for a further explanation. Remember: there’s no such thing as a stupid question if you don’t know the answer! Stick your hand up – you can bet you’re not the only one who doesn’t know. You may be the only one brave enough to ask.
Assertive communication means standing up for your needs and beliefs, without behaving passively or aggressively. It’s a good communication style, and definitely one to practise.
It would include things like:
Listening to others without interrupting
Having an appropriate speaking volume
Having a steady tone of voice
Having confident body language
Keeping eye contact
Clearly stating your needs or point of view in a calm manner
Think about what you want to say. Know what you can get across clearly, and come up with specific words and sentences you can use. This will help you stay calm if you feel you might get nervous.
It’s not always easy, but being aggressive, sarcastic or giving the silent treatment are never the best way of making a point. Recognise your emotions and express them in a calm or a factual manner. People won’t necessarily know how you feel, so just tell them. You might be surprised by their reaction.
You can’t say yes all the time or keep everyone happy. It’s okay to say no sometimes – just do so clearly, without lying or over-explaining. Maybe there’s an alternative solution.