Ready, Set, Action! Today’s post is all about creating an effective action plan to help you successfully achieve your goals!
As I mentioned in my blog post last week, there are three steps to goal-setting that greatly increase your chances of reaching your goals. If you haven’t read my previous post (which I recommend you do if you have time), here’s a quick recap of the first two steps:
- Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals
- Understand the importance of the goal; answer the question “what is the objective I am trying to achieve with this goal?”
The third step, arguably the most crucial step to ensuring successful goal-setting, is to devise an action plan with a rewarding system. Here’s how to do so:
First, identify all the tasks and sub-tasks you will need to complete to reach your goal by the deadline you specified.
Example: If your goal is to “score 75% or above on your biology midterm exam,” tasks you will need to complete are: recording detailed and organized notes every lecture, reviewing notes weekly, asking for help when needed, reviewing the material for the midterm at least a week prior to the exam, etc.
Next, create a realistic schedule which incorporates the tasks you identified.
Example: Using the goal and tasks mentioned above, how much time per week do you have to allocate towards studying for biology? How can you make use of this time to complete the tasks? Do you absorb the material you review better in the morning or at night? When will you allocate time to seek help if needed. Make sure to schedule realistically and leave time for other tasks as well; such as getting enough sleep, other schoolwork, meeting with friends and family, self-care, etc. For more information and insight on creating a good schedule, read the post I made last November on effective scheduling.
Once you establish your schedule, set up a reward system to reward yourself for staying on track.
Creating a schedule is simple, but sticking to that schedule requires dedication. To stay motivated, make sure you reward yourself for following your schedule. Rewards should be something meaningful to you, such as an edible treat, an episode of your favourite show, dinner at your favourite restaurant, a phone call with friends, etc.
(Optional) Establish an external progress monitoring system to ensure you stay on track.
If, like me, you struggle with self-motivation, creating an external progress monitoring system can be of great benefit. An accountability partner (such as parent or friend) is someone who can check in on your progress from time to time to ensure you stay on track. I highly recommend regularly seeing a learning strategist at the Academic Success Centre because not only do they act as an accountability partner, they can also guide you towards the appropriate learning strategies to maximize your productivity.
Now that you know more about effective goal-setting, I wish you the best of luck in turning those New Year’s resolutions into concrete goals with action plans. I hope 2017 is your year of growth and progress!
Until next week,