Achieving Your Goals

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify strategies for achieving your goals

Make an Action Plan

Like anything else, making a step-by-step action plan of how you will attain your goals is the best way to make certain you achieve them. It doesn’t matter if it is a smaller goal with immediate results (e.g., finish all your homework due by Friday) or something bigger that takes several years to accomplish (graduate with my degree in the proper amount of time).

The planning techniques you use for time management and achieving goals can be similar. In fact, accurate goal setting is very much a part of time management if you treat the completion of each task as a goal.

Here is an example of a simple action plan that lists the steps for writing a short paper. You can use something like this plan or modify it in a way that would better suit your own preferences.

Action Plan
Task Objective When
Choose topic. Select something interesting. Needs to be done by Monday!
Write outline, look for references. Create structure of paper and outline each part. Monday, 6:00 p.m.
Research references to support outline, look for good quotes. Strengthen paper and resources. Tuesday, 6:00 p.m.
Write paper introduction and first page draft. Get main ideas and thesis statement down. Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.
Write second page and closing draft. Finish main content and tie it all together. Thursday, 6:00 p.m.
Rewrite and polish final draft. Clean up for grammar, writing style, and effective communication. Friday, 5:00 p.m.

Social Aspect of Achieving Your Goals

Setting goals can be a challenge, but working toward them, once you’ve set them, can be an even greater challenge. Committing to a goal often means you will be making changes in your life, and changing established patterns and habits is challenging. You might be creating new directions of thought or establishing new patterns of behavior, discarding old habits or starting new ones. Remember, change will always be the lifeblood of achieving your goals. group of young women, many in business suits

You may find that as you navigate this path of change, one of your best resources is your social network. Your family, friends, roommates, coworkers, and others can help you maintain a steady focus on your goals. They can encourage and cheer you on, offer guidance when needed, share knowledge and wisdom they’ve gained, and possibly partner with you in working toward shared goals and ambitions. Your social network is a gold mine of support.

Here are some easy ways you can tap into a goal-supporting, social network:

  • Make new friends: you will never know what someone might teach you without meeting new people and making new friends.
  • Study with friends: studying with friends can keep you all focused and contribute to your overall learning, especially if you bring different perspectives and background knowledge to a topic.
  • Actively engage with the college community.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • Join student organizations.
  • Get an internship.
  • Work for a company related to your curriculum.
  • Stay connected via social media.

What are some other ways that you build a network of support with the people in your life?

Try It

A Note about Social Media

More than 98 percent of college-age students use social media, says Experian Simmons[1]. Twenty-seven percent of those students spent more than six hours a week on social media (UCLA, 2014). The University of Missouri, though, indicates in a 2015 study that this level of use may be problematic. It can lead to symptoms of envy, anxiety, and depression. Still, disconnecting from social media may have a negative impact too and further affect a student’s anxiety level.

Is there a healthy balance? If you feel overly attached to social media, you may find immediate and tangible benefit in cutting back. By tapering your use, you can devote more time to achieving your goals. You can also gain a sense of freedom and more excitement about working toward your goals.

Achieving Your Goals: Stick with It!

As with anything else, the key to reaching your goals is to keep at it, keep yourself motivated, and overcome any obstacles along the way. The following are seven methods that highly successful people use to accomplish their goals.

  • Increase personal responsibility: Adopt the mindset that you are the only person responsible for your goals. Hindrances and roadblocks may appear along the way, but you are responsible for navigating around them and overcoming them. Take control of the journey! Your issues are not other people’s problems. They are for you to solve.
  • Reward yourself for completing the task: We are all motivated by rewards. Use rewards to your advantage and give yourself rewards for a job well done.
  • Make certain they are your goals: Again, your motivation level is not as high if the end result is not something you want to achieve.
  • Visualize the results: Keeping in mind the benefits and visualizing the end results of each goal is extremely effective in keeping motivated.
  • Break the goal down into manageable tasks: As with any task, accomplishing the whole is easier when each part is tackled individually.
  • Tap into other people’s energy: Surround yourself with other people that are motivated. As humans, we are social creatives, which means our moods and emotions can be influenced by others. If you are around other positive people that all work toward achieving their own goals, their energy can become infectious.
  • Remind yourself why you set the goal: This last item is of the utmost importance, especially for long-term goals. Sometimes it is too easy to become mired in the drudgery of a difficult task and forget why you are doing something in the first place. Reminding yourself ofthe end goal helps reinforce everything you do that works toward your goal.


action plan: a set of sequential steps you have identified to help guide you through the process of achieving your goal, often within a certain timeframe and with the help of others

  1. "98% of online US adults aged 18-24 use social media." The Next Web,