Friday, January 30, 2009

What Part Does Planning And Goal Setting Play In Study Success?

Godspeed Sir Edmund HillaryImage by brewbooks via Flickr

By Scott Edwards

No great accomplishment has ever been achieved without planning. When Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Mount Everest, he wasn't out for a stroll and all of a sudden found himself at the summit! To make a change to your life you have to plan to make the change or it won't happen.

Before you embark on your studies, you'll find it valuable to set yourself a series of goals or targets to help you complete the course. Spending a little time planning these goals will pay dividends down the road. To have a chance of reaching your goals, they should always be S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Targeted.

Make a personal contract based on the following 5 D's to immerse yourself in the positive outcome of your studies. This contract should be written down, and signed.

DEFINE (what you want out of it) e.g. the exact car, house, number and type of holidays, income level for partner to give up work etc. Be specific or you won't know when you've achieved it. Re-enforce it with photographs and put them up around where you plan to work.

DESIRE is what stirs us deep down. Think about why you've decided to take this course, and why it's important to you. The more emotionally involved you get with your desire, the more you'll stick with it. Pin point whether it's the job, the status, the challenge, or the control etc. that drives you.

Commitment or DEDICATION. Announce to yourself and those close to you that you're dedicated to your studies by writing up a timetable and sticking with it. However much time you choose to study each week, have it written on a calendar planner that you can cross off once you've completed it. Put it in a prominent place so it's at the forefront of your mind (at least until it becomes a habit). All things that are important get prioritised, so let your friends and family know that this is a priority to you for perhaps ten hours a week for a set number of months. Once your timetable has become established, you'll take pride in your dedication, and study all the better for it.

DETERMINATION. Having a contract with yourself will make you more determined to stick with the programme. You're the one who will lose out most if you give up on yourself.

DISCIPLINE (to overcome the hard times) - The resolve to work around challenges and not allow them to stop you achieving your goals.

Your contract is a working document designed to assist and strengthen you through the change in your life. Keep it close by, and take time to look at it regularly. Add inspiring thoughts and ideas to it that will keep you on track and spur you on. The more emotionally involved you get with the results of completing your course, the sooner you'll get through it. Expectation of good things, along with planning and goal-setting, have proven time after time to bring the desired results to fruition. - 14682

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