Written by Kate Armstrong
As university students, we are currently faced with the reality of a whole new session looming in front of us! It’s important that we recognise these transition times as they are great opportunities to reset and restart. Studies show that the first day of each month and even each week can inspire us to do better, so no doubt it’s the same for a new session! Known as ‘temporal landmarks’ these days encourage us to step back and evaluate our current situation- and when we do this, we gain the motivation to move forward and be better, more drive and more productivity.
No doubt after last session’s exam period everyone has things that they realise they need to work on and improve, it’s only a matter of putting this into action. We look back in hindsight and realise if we didn’t leave starting the assignment till the night its due, we may have got a better mark! More often than not, a little early preparation does not go astray!
Personally, I thrive off fresh starts and any opportunity to have another go with a boost of energy and enthusiasm. You might have a time management or goal setting plan that works for you, but if you don’t I’ve done some research on two of the most successful types!
We need to make SMART goals – goals that are Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Results Focused and Timely. These provide us with a specific set of criteria to help ensure that objectives are clearly defined and attainable within a certain timeframe.
The smart goals have three simple steps:
- Spend time ensuring goals are SMART
- Use examples to understand proper goal-setting
- Use a table to define your goals
We also need to make habits – the book Atomic Habits by James Clear is very insightful when it comes to this! He says, “Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results”.
I highly recommend that you put this book on your to-read list! But, in case you don’t have time to read the whole book – I’ll give you a brief overview of the theory of Atomic Habits.
Firstly, the atomic habits system is built on Four Laws of Behaviour Change:
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
Secondly, there are seven simple tactics that James Clear teaches through exercises.
- Start small to make your habit easy
- Build a habit stack to make it obvious
- Make your habit attractive and satisfying
- Make habit success easy
- Make habit failure harder
- Track your habit
- Find your habit people
Now, all that’s left for YOU to do, is apply these habits to something concrete. Whatever your goals might be for this university semester, here is an example for you to follow from very easy goals to an end goal.
- Be home by 10pm every night
- Turn of all devices by 10pm every night
- Be lying in bed by 10pm every night (with lights on)
- Have lights off by 10pm every night
- Wake up at 6am consistently
As easy as that (hopefully)! 😉 With this new session I hope that you can apply some of these to both your personal and university life to have a more successful and less stressful session!