Keep­ing your eye on the prize

Set­ting goals the key to im­prov­ing re­sults and some­thing all stu­dents should be aim­ing for


OF­TEN dur­ing the cooler months of the year, it can be hard to mo­ti­vate our­selves to tackle the start of the work day, or the school day.

Of­ten it is still dark when it is time to “rise and shine”, so how do you stay mo­ti­vated when in all hon­esty, it would be much nicer to stay un­der the doona?

Set­ting goals has been proven to be a good strat­egy to im­prove re­sults, no mat­ter who you are, and stu­dents of all ages can get into the habit of aim­ing for the stars.

Look­ing where you are and ask­ing your­self, ‘have I done my best?’ is the trick to set­ting goals. A stu­dent might de­cide that they are cur­rently a C in English for ex­am­ple. They need to ask them­selves ‘what do I need to do dif­fer­ently to get that to a B?’

That’s when look­ing at strate­gies is im­por­tant, and you need to have those goals, and the skills you are go­ing to im­ple­ment to get there, on the desk at home. Of course it is all age ap­pro­pri­ate, but it may be as sim­ple as putting a piece of pa­per with ‘English B!’ above the desk, and that’s where par­ents can help.

Par­ents need to ap­plaud stu­dents when they’ve done their best, en­cour­age them, and get them into a growth mind­set. Lit­tle steps like that will go very far.

A good acro­nym used in schools and the work­force (yes, we love acronyms and that’s be­cause they work) is set­ting a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

S = Spe­cific: What is it specif­i­cally you wish to achieve? Why?

M = Mea­sur­able: How are you go­ing to de­ter­mine if your goal has been achieved?

A = At­tain­able or achiev­able: Your goal needs to be re­al­is­tic. It should stretch you but be pos­si­ble.

R = Rel­e­vant: Is this worth­while at this point in my life?

T = Timely: What length of time do I need to achieve this?

The more de­tail you can put in when set­ting a goal the bet­ter!

Even when we set goals for our­selves, we can still get over­whelmed! What can we try when this hap­pens?

Break down tasks (projects – as­sign­ments or pre­par­ing for a test) down into man­age­able chunks. Con­sider the dif­fer­ent as­pects of the task in two ways eg: Macro level – con­sider all projects. Mi­cro level – break down each project. Bite off, at any par­tic­u­lar time, the amount you can chew!

In the cooler months it is in­evitable your child will get the snif­fles or even the flu. Let them take time for them­selves. Build rest and re­lax­ation time into their sched­ules. Build in time for those things they en­joy.

We talk with Year 12 stu­dents about their OP es­ti­mates, and what they need to do to reach their goals. This can be done at home too, and aim­ing for an OP to do a course at uni, or any other de­sired out­come, re­quires ask­ing the ques­tion, what do I have to do to get there? You’re tak­ing a big pic­ture view, and break­ing it down into smaller pieces in or­der for each stu­dent to put things in place to get there. It might not work the first time, but tweak things and in the end it is pos­si­ble to get there.

As par­ents, you don’t want to put ex­tra stress on your child, but set­ting goals will give them fo­cus and a sense that they can be the best they can be.

Par­ents ❛❛ need to ap­plaud stu­dents when they’ve done their best.

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