Resources › For Students and Parents Setting Goals to Succeed at School Share Flipboard Email Print Jacques LOIC/Getty Images For Students and Parents Homework Help Learning Styles & Skills Homework Tips Study Methods Time Management Private School Test Prep College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More By Grace Fleming Education Expert M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia B.A., History, Armstrong State University Grace Fleming, M.Ed., is a senior academic advisor at Georgia Southern University, where she helps students improve their academic performance and develop good study skills. our editorial process Grace Fleming Updated November 01, 2019 In all walks of life, goals are set to keep us focused. From sports to sales and marketing, goal setting is common. By setting goals, an individual can be more aware of what will be needed to move forward. For example, by setting a goal to have our homework finished by Sunday evening, a student will have thought through the process and in so doing made allowances for other things he or she would typically do on a Sunday. But the bottom line on this is: goal setting helps us to focus on the end result. We sometimes refer to goal setting as plotting a map for success. After all, you are likely to wander a bit off track if you don't keep your eye on a clear goal. Goals are like promises we make to our future selves. It is never a bad time to get started when it comes to setting goals, so you should never let a few setbacks get you down if you feel like you've been off track. So how can you be most successful? Setting Goals Like a P-R-O There are three keywords to keep in mind when you set your goals: PositiveRealisticObjectives Be Positive There are many books written about the power of positive thinking. Many people believe positive thinking is an essential factor when it comes to success, but it doesn't have anything to do with mystical powers or magic. Positive thoughts merely keep you on track and prevent you from holding yourself back in a negative funk. When you set goals, concentrate on positive thoughts. Don't use words like "I won't fail algebra." That will only keep the notion of failure in your thoughts. Instead, use positive language: I will pass algebra with a "B" average.I will be accepted into three superior colleges.I will increase my SAT total scores by 100 points. Be Realistic Don't set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that you can't realistically achieve. Failure can have a snowball effect. If you set a goal that's not attainable and miss the mark, you are likely to lose confidence in other areas. For instance, if you fail a midterm in algebra and you resolve to improve your performance, don't set a goal of a final "A" grade overall if it isn't mathematically possible. Set Objectives Objectives are the tools you will use to reach your goals; they are sort of like the little sisters to your goals. Objectives are the steps you take to ensure you stay on track. For example: Goal: Passing algebra with a "B" averageObjective 1: I will review the pre-algebra lessons I learned last year.Objective 2: I will see a tutor every Wednesday night.Objective 3: I will mark every future test in my planner. Your objectives must be measurable and clear, so they should never be wishy-washy. When you set goals and objectives, be sure to include a time limit. Goals should not be vague and unbounded.