Perseverance and goals

The task of goal planning is not always easy. Students and faculty discuss strategies to succeed at New Year’s goals.

A picture taken from inside a classroom at UVU.

Around the new year, many students choose to set academic goals for themselves. Photo by Nathan Natividad.

The new year has come, and many people have set goals for themselves. This task, however, isn’t always easy. Many goals take a lot of effort and can quickly change from motivational resolutions into overwhelming tasks. 

To help prevent this from happening, practical tips from UVU students and mentors can help to break down the stresses of goal setting. When applied, these suggestions can transform the task of goal setting and help make the experience better for students.

When asked about how they dealt with the stress of goal setting, many UVU students agreed that the principle of proper time management was key to success. In regards to time management when striving for his goal of drawing every day, Ryan Young, an aviation science major, shared, “That’s really all I can do.”

The stress of some goals is, as Ryan stated, only manageable when a conscious effort is made daily to set aside time to work on the goal. However, time management may also become a goal in and of itself. Jaylee Montague, a biology major, has a goal of getting to bed at a decent time and providing time for herself before bed. These goals are perfect examples of time management being a goal itself. 

To reduce stress when striving to achieve his goals, Conner Jensen, a UVU student, mentioned that his goal-setting mentality was centered on improving himself. Jensen shared, “[Goal setting] is competitive for me. It’s how I can be better … and it’s also about what people like my parents have done for me, and I want to respect what they’ve done for my success by being successful.” 

While setting aside time and having a healthy outlook on goal setting may be helpful in reducing stress, Kerri Scott, the new director of the Wellness Programs on campus, had additional advice to offer students. 

Scott recommended that students break down their goals into smaller ones in order to reduce stress and improve achievability. “Sometimes we just set these broad goals, and we think (instead of getting specific about it), [something] like, ‘I’m going to go to the gym every day.’ Let’s get more specific. What time are you going to go to the gym? What workouts are you going to do while you’re there? How long? What can you do to set yourself up for success?” Scott questioned.

Furthermore, when asked about how students can prevent themselves from being overzealous with goal setting, Scott shared, “I think that’s where SMART goals come in.” SMART goals— or specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals — according to the University of California, have been proven to be effective goal-setting parameters for many people. “Getting in tune with how much you can handle is important, as well,” Scott continued. “Figure out what is your limit … it’s different for everybody … [and] consider your school schedule.”

With the semester opening at the dawn of the new year, idealism can easily be twisted into a knot of stress. With all the ambitions that come with a new semester, however, it is important for students to keep health in mind when planning resolutions. If students will take the time to set these proper goals, success is likely just around the corner.

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