By Mrs. Nancy McKenna
One of the most important things you can do to keep yourself motivated is to set goals. Having both short and long term goals helps keep you focused on the things you need to do and the things you want to accomplish. Setting goals not only helps you complete things like school work, but they also help focus you on the future.
So how do you start? Many times it is easier to start with a very specific big goal. For example, I would like to run a half marathon next year. Once I know what my big goal is, I can then set more short term goals that will help me achieve my bigger goal. It is important that you make your smaller goals attainable, specific, and time measured to help keep yourself on track. For me, this means running a 5K during the month of November, increasing my daily mileage in December, running a 10K in February, and so on. You want your short term goals to be things that will push you but also things that you can accomplish so you are successfully working towards that big goal and being able to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Set a very specific timeline for yourself, for both the short and long term goals, or otherwise it is easy to get sidetracked and think of your goal as “someday”. Also, find ways to keep your goal visible. Writing notes that stick to your computer, keeping a journal, doing a collage, and creating an idea board are just a few ways that you can make your goal visual. Personally, I LOVE a good list. Crossing things off a list feels so good to me, so that is something that helps keep me motivated. Find something that works for you and go for it!
Another really key part of setting goals is to have someone to keep you accountable. When we don’t have people checking on us, we tend to find it too easy to let our goals slip a little bit. “Eh, no one will know if I skip this day”, and then it becomes easier and easier to keep missing days and then your goal is off track. Find that person who will encourage you but also keep pushing you. For me, my person is my sister. We are working on this goal together, and we help push each other to go running even when we are tired or don’t feel like doing it. Plus, goals are more fun with a buddy!
With goals, it is vital that you have balanced goals. What I mean by that is having goals that vary between work and play. Set goals for school, but then also set personal goals that are for yourself. For example, you might set a goal to get all Bs in your classes this year (work goal) and a personal goal of reading 125 books this year (play goal...at least for Mrs. McKenna). If all of your goals are work, you will find yourself getting tired. Having a personal goal will help you on days when you are struggling with your work goal because you still get to feel that sense of accomplishment with meeting a goal. However, be careful that your work goals don’t get shoved out of the way by your play goal! The key is to keep them balanced and not let personal ones overtake the work goals.
So what types of things should you make goals about? Well, it can be literally ANYTHING! Read more books, exercise more, get better grades, attend live sessions, do more chores around the house, spend more time with family, clean the house more, work on specific projects, save money, and the list goes on. Pick something important and also something fun, and then go get started!!!