Find college success through goals

Find college success through goals

By Rick Barnes

Okay, you’re at college and life is great! Loads of fun things to do, people to meet, organizations to join, football season…“the time of your life!” And I know, many of you are thinking, “Can I just enjoy this a little and then think about my life?!” But I have found that the most successful students planned their success. Personally, I have found that if I can just make a plan…and then work the plan…success is much easier to attain. 

So let me share a few quick-and-easy steps to developing your success plan for this year.

Step 1 - Probably the most difficult step is defining success in the first place. Narrow the possibilities down to your time in college…now down to this year…now down to the months between today and May 2015. If it were May 1, what success would you hope to have completed this year? Think about four or five areas in your life - academics, leadership opportunities, relationships, and health and wellness. As you think about those areas, determine what you consider to be success in each. Is it the dean’s list? An officer role in your organization? To meet and get to know 20 new people you don’t know now? Work out three days a week? Those success thoughts become your goals.

Step 2 - Brainstorm the steps needed to reach success. Talk to your professors about academic success. Talk to your organization advisors about leadership success. Talk to those close to you about extending your relationships. Visit the rec center and talk to their staff about health and wellness opportunities. Gather ideas that will work for you and put those into action.

Step 3 - Establish Deadlines. A goal is just a dream unless you can establish a start and end time. Academic success may be fully recognized by the end of the term. However, you should think about the various steps between now and then - deadlines for papers due, scheduled times for visits with professors, etc. Establish these interim deadlines for each of your success goals.

Step 4 - Report Your Progress. Have someone you can talk to and share your success - a parent, close friend, counselor, roommate. Someone with whom you can share your success goals, but also someone with whom you can share your progress. Encourage them to hold you accountable along the way.

Step 5 - Never, ever, give up. Think of those you would consider successful out there. Your coaches, teachers, parents, entrepreneurs, doctors, musicians, whatever. If they had given up on their dreams they would have never found success. You have that opportunity - the opportunity to be someone else’s role-model for success. Dream big and then fulfill your dreams.

Finally - Step 6 - Celebrate. At the end of the year be ready to look back at your success and celebrate. My grandmother always said, “It ain’t bragging if you done it.” Be ready to share your success…and then build on that next year.

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