Students Guide To Setting Goals For Academic Success
Successful people set goals that they can achieve. They aim for it, plan a strategy to achieve their goals and work in that general direction. Even if they do not achieve their goals, they are heading in the direction that allows them to enjoy success.
Top athletes, successful businesses and inspiring youths like our very own home-grown ones, Joseph Schooling (21) and Dylan Soh (15), set SMART goals to help their achieve their dreams.
Many schools now impart SMART goals as a life skill to help their students to reach their academic achievements. For students sitting for their PSLE, goal setting is usually reinforced in term 1 either through school teachers and/or external parties like trainers.
I feel that while the school does everything in its power to impart the skill, parents can help reinforce this skill by clarifying the goals (to make it a SMART one) and following up with the kids (on action plan and modifying it if necessary).
Last year was a fruitful year for my kids because we ended the year with one child experiencing a major transformation from being a student who was academically challenged to one confident of her learning skills and bagging an Edusave Award and another who achieved all his goals in PSLE and being successfully posted to his desired school.
In order for a SMART goal to yield tangible results, it has to meet the following parameters: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and has a Timeline. Help your kids to understand how to set SMART goals.
Goal should be Specific
- Try to narrow the goal and make it specific.
- Avoid setting goals that are vague and abstract. Eg. I want to do well. Or I want to be happy.
- Specific: I want to score high ‘A’ for my PSLE.
Goal should be Measurable.
- Break up the goals if it is too far in the timeline or too big to comprehend.
- Divide the goals into smaller, achievable steps. For example, if the goal is to achieve 89 marks in an exam paper and your kid’s current score is 65, work with your child to break the end outcome into smaller more achievable goals. For example, aim for 70 marks in a practice assessment paper.
- Each time he/she hits the mark, increase the target by another 5 marks until you are at your ultimate goal.
Goal should be Attainable and Accepted.
- You want your child to reach the goal.
- By breaking the goal into smaller subsets for the kids, they will feel their goals are within reach and therefore have better control over their own actions and behaviours. Be generous with your praises and encouragement when a subset goal is achieved. This will help motivate them towards the ultimate goal.
Goal should be Relevant and Reasonable.
- The goal should matter to your child.
- A word of caution to Parents: try to not impose your goal on your child. The goal has to be organically the child’s in order to achieve the maximum result. We want our kids to experience authentic self-motivation and this can only come about if the goals are outcomes that our kids want for themselves.
If your child is resistant or unable to come up with a goal on their own, you can try coaching by asking the following questions:
Shall we aim for this ?
If we try this , are you comfortable with it? Do you feel/think it is something that you can agree /commit to?
The basis of the above questions are to secure the child’s agreement to work with you on this goal. If the result is positive, you can then carry on in that direction. However, if the result is negative (i.e it failed to produce the results in line with the goal, then it is time to go back to the drawing board to figure out what is the obstacle and/or perhaps modify the goal.
What is stopping you from achieving the goal? What is the problem (reason)
Goal should be Time-Bound.
- What can I do today to meet my goal?
- What can I do next week to meet my goal?
- What can I do in a month to meet my goal?
Word of ADVICE: The objective is not to find fault but to find the cause of the obstacle so that we can seek solutions to rectify or overcome the problem.
- How can we do this better? What can we do to make it happen? (solution)
- What can I improve on?
Still not convince how goals can help your kid, check out this testimony from Tennis champ Roger Federer says:
One final word of advice:
Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star. ~W. Clement Stone
A goal is something that we work towards and aim for. Sometimes, we don’t achieve what we set out to do. Remind your kids to learn from their slip-ups and road-blocks. Keep going in the right direction by helping them to set and track the goals.
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Till our next post, love yourself, love one another. Live strong and stay free.
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