“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.
Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”
As the new semester starts, commitments and school work will quickly pile up. Adjusting to school life in the beginning of a semester can be stressful, regardless of how many times you did it before. It takes time to get used to your new routine, set your course goals and expectations, meet your new professors, and learn their teaching styles.
Change is never easy, but anyone can make this transition process easier by creating a simple and actionable plan. If this is your first semester in college, you might enjoy this article at College Compass on how to make the most out of your first week in college.
In a previous post, we show how you can easily add all your different school-related and extracurricular activities into Google Calendar from an Excel spreadsheet.
In today’s post, we present a guide with practical strategies you can immediately start implementing to set the right tone early on in a semester. I’m very excited to share these tips with you! My own undergraduate and graduate school experience would have been much more enjoyable had anyone ever gave this advice to me.
There are three key elements of a successful semester start. In fact, these three strategies are essential for successfully achieving any goal. Even though they are very simple, I must admit, most people don’t care enough about their own happiness and fulfillment to apply these strategies. That is probably why success is not a norm in the world right now.
1. Setting Semester Goals
- If you don’t know where you’re going and why, it is very unlikely that you will end up in your desired destination. Without specific focus, you might easily get distracted and waste a few weeks or even months. And as you know, time is extremely important for a college student.
- People need constant reminders of their goals. Otherwise, life can take over. Writing down your goals on paper helps you to remember them. According to research, people who set specific and measurable goals are more likely to achieve them.
- Those people, who know what they are aiming for, are more likely to take action when an opportunity presents itself. In other words, it’s easy to miss out on opportunities if you are not even aware of your goals.
How to Set Your Goals: What do I want to accomplish this semester? What would be the very best outcome for this semester? What would I do this semester if I knew I couldn’t fail? How can I track my progress? Why is this goal important to me?
Make sure that your goal is specific enough and that it can be measured later. For example, your goal for the semester could be: “To get at least an A- in all my classes this semester” or “To have a 3.4 GPA by the end of the Fall semester.”
By the way, your goals don’t have to be related to your coursework. You can have a goal to make five new friends by the end of December 2019, for example.
2. Identifying Resources
It’s very simple – resources are used to produce results. The initial spark of motivation to achieve a goal naturally directs someone to use the resources they already have and cultivate new ones. Remember the feeling when you were doing something you really enjoyed? All resources were concentrated on the task at that moment. This all-consuming and focused state is sometimes called the state of flow.
By definition, resources include everything that helps you achieve desired outcome. Depending on a goal that you set for yourself, resources may include:
- Physical and Mental Health
- Specific Skills
- Textbooks and School Supplies
- Comfortable Learning Environment
- Other People
As you learn to value resources and intentionally cultivate them in your life, you will start seeing results that will distinguish you from others. Of course, there is so much we could say about each of these resources. For now, just start noticing what moves you closer to your goals and what doesn’t. Doing more of what helps and less of what doesn’t help is a great strategy.
How to Identify Resources: Create an inventory of resources you already have. At this point, it’s a good idea to make a list of your strengths. Ask yourself: What am I good at? What do I consider to be my strengths? What do other people compliment me for? Then pick one goal and ask, What will I need to accomplish this goal? What resources I already have? How can I best use these resources to achieve my goal? What resources will I need to acquire? Where can I acquire these resources? How will I go about acquiring these resources? This article provides additional information about identifying resources.
3. Cultivating Resources
The good news is that any student can learn how to get better at managing resources. Here is a general strategy for that: If you notice that you’ve made good progress towards a goal on a given day, reflect on what helped you do that. Then, just do more of what helps and less of what doesn’t. Sounds simple, huh? It is simple, but it’s not easy to get into the habit of consistently paying attention and noticing it.
In the next few weeks, we are going to focus on time management in our posts. Time is our most valuable and most demanded resource. Mastering time management can simplify your life so much! We will talk about setting up your Google calendar, choosing a planner and using it effectively. We sincerely hope that this will help you to stay on top of your schedule during the semester.
How to Cultivate Resources: Return to the list of resources you have created in the previous step. Find the resources you already have. Ask yourself: How can get the most out of this resource to achieve my goal? How can I create opportunities to maximize this resource? How can I take a good care of this resource and make sure it grows in strength? This is an ongoing process, that will help you learn more about yourself. Once you notice another helpful resource, start looking for opportunities to use it more and energize your life through it.
The Final Step
Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.
The final step in this process is identifying simple action items that you can start completing right away. Add these steps to your calendar and start moving towards your goals immediately. If we wait too long, we might lose the momentum and start procrastinating. Completing even a tiny task will motivate you to carry on with a plan.
Now that you have read this guide, don’t you want to give it a try? We have created a printable worksheet that will walk you through the process. You can work with up to three goals. If you are working on more than three goals, just print one more copy and plan away! Keep us posted about your amazing results!