Timely advice on achieving VCE goals

With VCE students about to go back to school it is an appropriate time for VCE students to examine (or re-examine) their goals not just for their VCE but for this year (the VCE is an important year there is no doubt, but it doesn't mean that it should be the only thing).

With goal setting it is vital to remember this one almighty and all encompassing principle...

“If the ‘why to’ is big enough ‘the how’ to will look after itself”

Why are you going to all the trouble of studying in the first place? Study can be extremely boring. It is much more fun to exercise, watch TV, hang out with our mates etc. If we don’t have a strong and compelling personal reason for studying then we will forever be struggling to commit to our studies and becoming a master procrastinator. (You know what I'm talking about). Smile

What do you want and why? If you are struggling try to think of things try categorising into these 4 categories:

having (usually materialistic things)
being (personal/intrinsic/character goals)
doing ( things you would love to do eg travel etc )
and lastly achieving (you know what I mean...maybe "VCE" goals). Smile
Some other tips and strategies are: 1. Identify the Pros and Cons. The first thing you will need to do is to get a blank piece of paper and split it into two columns. At the top of the left column put a heading PROS and at the top of the right put CONS. Then I want you to simply write out how it will, or may, affect your life if you do study on the left and how it will, or may, affect your life if you don’t choose to study on the right. Keep writing till you have exhausted all possible options. Then you are left with all the information in which to make an informed decision about your future. Which one will you choose? Keep this list handy for future reference if things start to get tough.

2. Know Your Values. The next process you will want to go through to clearly define your goals is an exploration of values exercise. As previously split a page into two columns. At the top of the left column write the words TOWARDS VALUES and over the right column write AWAY VALUES. Now write down all the values or characteristics that are important to you in life. For example: Honesty, Health, Integrity, Humour may be examples of traits that are important to you. Write them down in your Towards list. In a similar way Procrastination, Poverty, Jealousy, Fear of… may all be examples of traits you don’t want in your life. Write them down in your Away list. Now think about the values and characteristics you will need to display in order to achieve your goal of studying more effectively. What will you need to do, and how will you need to behave in order to move towards the values you aspire to and away from the ones you don’t. Now get to work to become that person.

3. The 10 in 5. Quickly, without thinking about it too much, write down 10 goals you would like to achieve. You have 5 minutes. GO! Great. Now rank the top 3 in order of priority. What is your most important goal right now? Take a step towards achieving that goal right now!

4. Seven Steps to Exploding Your Goals. If you follow the following 7 steps diligently you will give yourself every opportunity to explode your goals.

4.1: Goals must be measurable! It is of no use to say “I want to study better”. There is no way to measure that. What you would need to say in order to make it measurable is “I want to commit to studying 3 hours per night.”

4.2: Goals must have a goal line! All goals must have a goal line to aim for. In the above example it would have been better for me to say I want to commit to studying 4 hours per night for the next 6 weeks. This has a target for me to aim at. It also gives us a measuring stick to chart our progress against. I recommend that you set goals that will take from 1 to 3 months to complete. This allows you to set goals that are big enough to inspire you yet not so big that they seem unachievable.

4.3: Have a prepaid, pre-purchased reward in place! This particular strategy is about creating leverage. Let me illustrate with an example. A good friend of mine Paul had a very big goal in place. His reward was a state of the art, surround sound entertainment system for his home. To help create some leverage after writing down his goal he immediately went out and bought this unit. He then left this “reward” unopened in his bedroom. Everyday when he got ready for work he would see his reward for completing his goal sitting there waiting for the completion of the goal. Now you can set the levels of your reward. It may not be as extravagant as Paul’s but try to make the goal and the reward of equal value to you.

4.4: Have a penalty in place! Paul knew that to achieve this goal he would need more leverage to keep him sufficiently motivated to achieving it. What he did was that as a penalty should he not achieve his goal then he would have to give his reward away. OUCH!

4.5: Have an additional penalty in place! To really ensure that it would be more painful not to achieve this goal than to achieve it Paul also put in place an additional penalty. One thing Paul hated more than just about anything was mowing the lawn. Therefore to make this very painful for him he organized with a friend of his that should he fail to achieve his goal then he would have to mow this friends lawns for the next 12 months. By the way this friend just happened to have a 1 acre property. That is a lot of lawn mowing. Talk about creating leverage.

4.6: Have your next goal chosen! Nothing kills momentum like a period of inactivity. As soon as your current goal is achieved start working on the next one.

4.7: Keep Them Visible!

Write your goals down and put them somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. Stick them to a wall in front of your study area, to the bathroom mirror or your refrigerator. Read them daily to check up on yourself. How are you doing? Great! Write down all your goals, make copies and place them where you will see them everyday.

Love to hear your thoughts and goals for this year and beyond...

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