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4 Reasons why goal setting is important

By Simon Hennessy on 24 September 2019NSWblogUKblogMotivation

We’re always being told that having goals is super important, that we need to set ourselves targets to work towards. But it’s worth taking the time to stop and ask yourself – why? In terms of school, there are actually some great reasons why approaching your study from a goal point of view is a good idea.

Here, we’re going to look at four of them:

1. Something to work towards long term

You often hear famous, successful people talking about how they visualised themselves in this position when they were kids. And, yes, it is a bit cringy to hear that sometimes. But at the end of the day, they did get there, and they all seem to think that planning for it years ago helped.

Now, we’re not suggesting you need to start picturing yourself as the next LeBron James or Katy Perry. But the point is, if you give yourself a long term target to aim for in terms of school, you’ll improve your chances of reaching it right out of the gate. Why? Because having specific goals to aim for long term focuses the mind and keeps you motivated.

You don’t have to think about it every day or get a tattoo of your dream ATAR or anything (unless you really want to, but we’d advise against it). Just having that long-term goal to come back to when you’re struggling for motivation will be enough to help get you focused and working again.

2. Breaks tasks up

Long term goals are not the only useful ones. In fact, short term goals might even be more useful when you add them all up. Why? Because they break your workload up and make it infinitely more manageable.

Think about it. If you sit down at your desk to study and say “I’m going to start revising Maths and see how far I get”, you’ll probably either get overwhelmed and quit, or else get a tiny bit done, get bored, and still quit. Instead, if you say “I’m going to study binomial equations and then do ten practice questions”, you’ll probably – yes, you guessed it – study binomial equations and then do ten practice questions. 💪

Short term goal setting turns your syllabus from a stress-inducing giant into digestible chunks to be taken one at a time. In the end, you do the same amount of work, but the key difference is, short term goal-setting gets you through it.

3. Great way to track progress

Let’s say you set yourself all these short-term goals but, at the end of each day, you just aren’t reaching them. Maybe you’re being unrealistically demanding of yourself, or maybe you need to assess whether or not you’re putting in enough work.

The point is, you now know you need to ask these questions. Goal-setting doesn’t just offer motivation to work hard and get through your targets; it gives you an insight into how hard you are working, and whether or not you need to raise your game or even scale it back a bit.

You’ve probably heard that old saying about how studying for exams is a marathon, so let me extend the metaphor. The best marathon runners are always tracking their pace and adjusting if they know they’re going too slow or too fast at certain points; goal-setting gives you a great chance of doing the same with your study.

4. Source of pride

Come on, admit it – it feels good to hit a goal. Even if it’s something super small, like finishing the last few pages of a chapter in English, but if you can tick it off a list it’s going to feel that little bit better. Goal-setting leads to goal achievement, and goal achievement leads to a nice steady stream of pride that will keep you confident and motivated in whatever the subject is.


It’s easy to dismiss goal setting as a bit of a cheesy cliché, but the truth is, having short and long term goals to work towards is pretty likely to give your confidence, motivation, and ultimately marks a boost. Really, it’s a bit of a no-brainer, but no need to take my word for it – go set some goals and see for yourself!

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