Tag Archives: goal setting

Habit Forming by Repetition Illustrated

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Here’s a great picture of exactly how we achieve our goals through repeated actions.  We become what we repeatedly do.

This is a time-lapse of a Japanese group that walked the same path over and over. After several days they had worn a path in the grass. Consider how long it will take for the path to grow over once they stop walking. Weeks? Months? Once the path is sufficiently well-trodden, it will remain for a long, long time. As you are cultivating new habits, frequent repetition is the key to changing an action into a habit.

In the same way weaning yourself from a bad habit is not an overnight proposition. It will take time and effort to keep yourself from travelling the well-worn path long enough for it to grow over and disappear.

The lesson also applies to creating memories, although this illustration would represent brute-force repetition. Easier: use mnemonics to create a stronger path initially. That will cut down on the number of repetitions you’ll need to make that memory rock solid.

Keeping Up With Your Goals

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Keeping up with your goals–as I blogged about in Achieving Your Goals; 5 Power-User Tricks–is not so much a college study skill as it is a life success skill. GoalsOnTrack is a powerful site for mastering your goals, with scads o’ helpful tools.

  • Attach a picture to each goal to light a fire under your keister.
  • See your progress towards your goals at a glance.
  • Integrate it fully with your to-do list.
  • View graphs of your progress and time usage. Ummm. Charty goodness.
  • Journal about your progress or keep track of key goal-related info.

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Achieving Your Goals; 5 Power-User Tricks

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Setting goals is easy. It’s sticking to them that’s the hard part. Day-by-day motivation can be a real challenge. Pick some (or all) of these and use them to beef up your motivational chops.

Track your progress.chart_going_up

From first-graders putting gold stars on their daily-tasks chart to gym junkies listing their latest bench-press bench mark, tracking your goals is a no-brainer. Don’t worry about getting fancy–that’s just a way to procrastinate. Just put a mark on your calendar-of-choice each day as you complete your goal, and reward yourself with a mental attaboy. You’re one step closer to perfection!

Start Small.

When you take the bull by the horns and begin a new goal, it’s usually because Continue reading Achieving Your Goals; 5 Power-User Tricks

Graduating With a Plan of Action

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You spend a lot of energy making graduation plans, but do you have a plan of action for after graduation to jumpstart your career? Many people struggle with career choices before making that important life-changing decision that will define who they are for years to come. It is hard to imagine that a new graduate would still struggle with what they want to do with their new college degree. Even if they know, they might not know the next step to take. This article will give a few pointers on how to get started with a plan of action. Continue reading Graduating With a Plan of Action

Goal Setting (It’s Not What You Think!)

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From the series Better Test Performance the Navy SEALs Way.

U.S. Navy SEALs wannabees are taught goal setting.  Why?  It helps more of them survive the grueling training and actually become SEALs.

If you’re like me, goal setting brings to mind thick-as-your-thigh Covey planners and pretentious self-help gurus.  But if the SEALs are using it, you can bet there’s no namby-pamby lets-all-get-in-touch-with-our-inner-child two-day retreats going on.  Pragmatic techniques that can be used when the world is on fire are what they’re looking for.

Goal setting on-the-fly functions like this; set your sights on an immediate, easily-reachable goal and then take one step after another until you get there.  Then set a new goal.  For a SEAL trainee, their internal dialogue might go something like this…

“Just gotta make it until lunch, then I can rest.” And after lunch, “Just gotta make it over the next hundred yards of beach.” and then, “Just gotta swim this last 200 yards.”

The entire day is broken up into a series of individually manageable steps.

You can do the same during finals to get through the mountains of work that can pile up.  “Just gotta get through this next chapter.”  “Just gotta finish the next page of this rough draft.” Or you can use it when test anxiety rears it’s ugly head.  “Just gotta finish this next problem.”

This technique is deceptively simple, but it’s powerful and proven!  It helps concentrate your efforts not on what you can’t do, but on what you can.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

From the Series “Better Test Performance The Navy SEALs Way”
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Better Test Performance The Navy SEALs Way

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The elite SEALs teams—the U.S. Navy’s Special Ops forces—have discovered how to make their trainees more successful at completing the mythically-tough training and actually become Navy SEALs.  In fact, they now teach trainees stress control techniques that may be responsible for helping to boost the number of successful passing candidates from one fourth of each class to one third of each class.

Amazingly, these techniques are very similar to what I’ve been teaching my students for years.  No magic here.  What I teach comes directly out of good psychological research, and the SEALs have been doing their homework!

According to a recent History Channel documentary on brain science, SEAL trainees are now taught four key stress control techniques that allow them to perform better even during the grinding SEAL Hell Week.

The four keys?  Goal Setting, Mental Rehearsal, Self Talk, and Arousal Control.  I normally teach these techniques in my GRE prep course to help students cope with test anxiety and daunting study schedules.

Check back tomorrow as we look at how the SEALs use goal setting to overcome stress and how you can use it to excel during finals!

From the Series “Better Test Performance The Navy SEALs Way”
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.