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Setting goals and how best the achieve them

Our Bethany School blog has been written by Mrs Hill, Deputy Headteacher – Academic, this week. She writes about setting goals and the top tips on how to achieve them.

As we head towards the end of January, I wonder how well you are doing at sticking to those new year resolutions. Apparently, 43% of all people who make a resolution expect to fail before February, and almost one out of 4 give up before the first week of the new year is out. If you are maintaining the momentum, you’re doing well!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to Year 7 and 8 in their assembly about this very topic.

Too often we set ourselves goals to achieve, but we don’t commit the time to thinking through how we are going to get there, and the amount of effort that might be involved in making a change. This immediately gets things off on the wrong foot as our brains are programmed to think that exerting effort is costly and this generates unpleasant feelings, which in turn prevent us from making the effort to change.

So, what can we do to overcome this and achieve the things that we want to but which we perhaps don’t naturally enjoy?

Achieving Goals: 4 Simple Steps to Achieve a Learning Goal

Here are three techniques I shared with the pupils that you might want to talk through at home:

  1. Make the effort less costly by removing the things that distract you from making it – so for example, if you have work to complete that requires a lot of thinking, turn off the music and put your phone in a different room. Make sure you have the tools you need to complete the task and set a timer.
  2. Increase the benefits to yourself for studying – try promising yourself a treat at the end of a study session or a social trip at the end of an exam week.
  3. Make the task more enjoyable – the more we enjoy things, the less effort our brain perceives that we are having to make to do them! So, if you love drawing, turn your revision into a colourful mind map, or make a run more enjoyable with your favourite music on the playlist.

It is also important to remember that when we try to achieve new things and we exert effort, which may also push us outside of our comfort zone; we will make mistakes and things will go wrong. That’s why I encouraged Year 7 and 8 to remember that there is always an opportunity for a fresh start. This might come at the end of a lesson, the end of a day, the end of a week, or term or year… but there is always a chance for a fresh start.

So, when you next struggle with the goals you have set, or things don’t go as you would want, pick yourself up, dust yourself down, make some adjustments, and try again. There’s always an opportunity for another go at achieving those goals!

Mrs Hill
Deputy Headteacher – Academic