The Importance of Goal Setting for Students
goal setting for students

By Heidi Zwart

If you’re a student, the importance of goal setting is likely underestimated. With the daily grind of school work alongside revelry in the college scene, you may not be deliberately setting goals. But, while you may not be consciously thinking about them, you’re working toward your goals every day whether you know it or not. 

Each day with each decision you’re building a different future, one that includes things like graduating, starting a job, finding a place to live, and maybe raising a family. Your daily choices are either taking you closer to or further away from what you want in life. Doesn’t it make sense to make sure your choices are taking you where you want to go? 

Behavior goals are the stepping stones that help you achieve your outcome goals. These are the daily actions you take to help you reach the future success, or outcome goal, you have in mind. BetterYou helps you do exactly this. 

Here are 3 ways goal setting is directly related to student success:

  1. Behavior goals are in your control. You are responsible for your choices. While this can feel overwhelming sometimes, it’s also empowering. Outcome goals are often win/lose or pass/fail. For example, you either pass or fail a test. If you wanted to pass the test (outcome) but you didn’t study (behavior) you didn’t control the things you could control – your behaviors. While the right behaviors won’t always lead to your desired outcome, you will have created better habits that are more likely to lead to future success.
  2. Behavior goals shape your identity. Your identity is shaped by the choices you make. The choices you make either reinforce this identity or conflict with it. James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, says each choice you make casts a vote for the kind of person you want to become. The more you act in ways that are consistent with that identity, the more you reinforce who you are becoming. If you’re discontent with who you are today, make choices that align with the person you’d rather be. Or, if you’re happy with your identity, keep casting those strong votes! 
  3. Behavior goals are small. Goal setting doesn’t have to be BIG. Ever wonder why 98% of dieters fail? A goal like “losing weight” has multiple steps – joining a gym, eating more vegetables, prepping food, cleaning out the kitchen, buying workout clothes, and so much more. It’s overwhelming and dieters quit. Small behavior goals, on the other hand, are easier and lead to better outcomes. For a student, a small behavior goal around “losing weight” might be eating one vegetable at lunch in the cafeteria or walking across campus instead of driving your car. In the end, you might not hit your specific weight loss goal, but in the meantime you will be healthier!

Every day you’re building your life and creating your identity. Behavior goals are the catalyst for helping you get where you want to go and become the kind of person you want to become. They shape the way you move you through school and beyond. Put them to work for you today!

The BetterYou app uses behavior science to improve digital health and make it stick.

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