One thing that highly successful people do is to decide ahead of time what they want to accomplish, by writing down their goals. It is important to realize that you can do better than you have done in the past, and goals help to keep you on track. You are in control of your results, based on the effort you put in. Expect more from yourself this year so that you never settle on achieving the same result as last year. When you start a new class, make sure to write down your goals and work toward them each day to make sure you achieve them.
A lot of people feel like they are not in control of their results, so that they leave their results up to other people such as their parents and teachers. These other people are there to guide you toward the path to success, but it is up to you to walk down the path! Your teacher can make their best effort to guide your thinking, but they can’t do your thinking for you. Never leave your thinking up to other people, since you rob yourself of the struggle that leads to growth in your ability to think carefully and solve problems.
If you set a big goal that you plan to accomplish, far into the future, it can feel impossible to reach your goal. Remember that nobody ever completed a marathon run, which is about 42.2 kilometres, without taking the first step! Break your goal up into smaller chunks, and remember that big goals are accomplished by taking many small steps toward them over time. Each of the small steps are simple, but reaching the big goal takes discipline to keep working toward it, and the strength to pick yourself up whenever you fall down.
Not setting goals means you have not chosen a destination where you want to end up. This is a bit like not picking a direction to travel, but just getting in the car and driving. You may not like the place you end up in! Successful people choose their destination carefully, writing it down on paper, along with the specific directions that will take them there. They don’t leave anything up to chance or luck.
In another post, I mentioned that working for marks can be dangerous since you should really be focused on the learning and let your marks take care of themselves. So, when setting goals for your classes, keep this in mind, so that achieving your goal will be meaningful. For example, a student could set a goal of improving their mark from last year, and achieve their goal without actually improving their understanding. Be sure that your goal encourages you to take action to improve the quality of your learning and not just your results. When you make the switch to working for understanding, your marks actually may go down at first, so do not be discouraged, stick to your plan.
What goals have you set for yourself for this year? In what ways are you expecting more effort from yourself than you did last year?