Top Nine Ways to Set Goals and Stick with Them

By Raylene Lung

Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

It’s that time of year again ⁠— January falls upon us and, with it, a new semester, filling us with feelings of both excitement and dread. While many of us try to tackle the new-year anxiety with a list of goals and resolutions for the semester, we also know that these are things we might end up neglecting.

What gives? We tried to break down some of the pitfalls of resolution lists and come up with a few doable solutions. Here are the top nine ways to set goals and make sure to stick with them in 2020:

1. Stay organized.

Now is your chance to get out your coloured pens and an adorable planner from your nearest bookstore and get to work! Organizing your goals will make them that much easier to achieve.

2. Make your goals realistic.

Ambition is a good thing, but sometimes having overly-ambitious goals hinder your ability to complete them. Setting goals that are achievable makes them that much easier to reach — and the easier the goal, the more motivated you become to work on them.

3. Write it down.

The best way to make a goal stick in your subconscious is to write it down. It makes the goal more concrete, therefore triggering your brain to complete it. 

4. Use campus resources.

They are there for a reason — so use them! Carleton’s student services offer a wide variety of support for your personal and academic needs, including peer study sessions and academic advising. 

5. Reward yourself.

Give yourself a reward for the little victories. Small reinforcements will encourage you to stick with your goals and keep going.

6. Keep making more goals.

Once you accomplish a goal and feel you have a good handle on it, add another one. This will encourage you to maintain your good habits and push yourself further.

7. Practice self-care.

As obvious as it sounds, don’t get too wrapped up in conquering those goals. Remember to take care of yourself. Take days off when you need them and don’t feel guilty for treating yourself. Balance helps you stay focused.

8. Change the pace.

Make sure to have a good mix of short term and long term goals.

9. Involve your friends.

Setting goals with your friends can help you stay motivated as you work together to reach them. Friends are also a good source of encouragement for those days when tasks seem insurmountable.