Plan Ahead to Reach Your Goals in 2019
Whether it is squeezing in more physical activity or implementing better study habits, setting goals for the New Year is a common practice. Unfortunately, straying from these resolutions is almost as prevalent—according to US News and World Report, 80% of goal setters drop their resolution by the second week of February. So how can high school students stick to their college prep resolutions in 2019?
In order to stay committed to your resolutions through 2020 (and beyond), students need to plan ahead and set themselves up for success. Keep reading for some tried and true tips that will help you beat the odds and meet your college prep and academic goals for 2019.
Simply wishing for you goal isn’t enough to make it a reality; instead focus on developing a realistic plan of action. Write down your resolution, whether it's reaching your goal score on the SAT or starting on your college apps early, and the steps you will take to achieve this goal throughout the year. For example, if you want to boost your SAT score, consider including steps such as creating a study schedule, working with a tutor, and taking a practice test every month. Breaking down a academic or college prep resolution into smaller checkpoints will help with accountability and make your goal feel more attainable.
Get Your Friends Involved
Sometimes, the support of a team can be just what you need in order to tackle a major goal. Share your New Year’s resolutions with friends and see if any of your classmates have similar objectives. Once you identify friends with similar goals, consider using a team-based approach to work on challenges. Creating a study group or standing test prep date with a friend can help make resolutions feel more fun. As an added bonus, working on a resolution as a team can help everyone feel more motivated.
In order to achieve your college prep goals, it is important to set yourself up for success by creating an optimal environment. Reflect on your resolution and any potential stressors or interruptions that may interfere with your goal. For example, if text messages and social media distract you from studying, consider putting your phone on airplane mode during all of your review sessions. Identifying hurdles and learning to work around them will help you stay committed to your resolution for the long haul.
Avoid Negative Self Talk
Everyone slips up from time to time—don’t let a small mistake derail your year-long efforts. Acknowledge in advance that you will face setbacks occasionally and create a plan of action to bounce back whenever these occur. If your New Year’s resolution is to boost your grades, brainstorm how you will handle a sub-par test score or disappointing essay feedback. Creating solutions before problems occur will help you feel prepared and give you the confidence needed to achieve your goals.
Recognize and Reward Progress
Check in every week and reflect on how your New Year’s resolution is going. Use this time to review the progress you have made towards achieving your goals. Consider rewarding significant improvements and milestones with thoughtful celebrations that will not derail all of your hard work. A spa treatment, weekend movie date, or new school supplies can all work as extra motivators for students who want to choose incentives that will support their New Year’s goals.
With careful planning and lots of self-reflection, students can stay accountable throughout the year and work towards achieving their resolutions. If you have academic goals and are looking for additional guidance, our team of college counselors and tutors can help you create your own plan of action and make sure you are set up for success.
Students can also stay on track by downloading our free College Planning Checklist!