Fall clothes sales, backpack and notebook displays and class schedules in the mail are all reminders that back to school time is near. Starting a new school year is a great time to reflect on the previous year and set new goals. Whether you're working to complete college applications, trying out for a sports team or just trying to do better in math, you can set realistic back to school goals by making a realistic action plan and rewarding yourself along the way.


Before you set goals for the future, reflecting on the past school year is helpful for brainstorming ideas. You can consider things you'd like to have done differently, as well as successes you would like to continue. For example, you might have been elected president of a club and want to develop your leadership skills. However, you might not have studied as hard as you could have in math class and want to apply yourself more this time. Thinking about what you did previously and what you can do this year will help you formulate specific goals.

Realistic Goals

Setting complicated or unrealistic goals can frustrate rather than encourage you. School counselor Danielle R. Schultz states in "Free Spirit Publishing" that your goals should be attainable, not overwhelming. For example, studying three hours a night for math isn't realistic because it would take study time away from other subjects and add stress to your life. However, working toward better math grades by studying a half-hour a night is a reasonable goal because a half-hour is a small, yet effective time unit to spend on one subject.

Action Plan

Developing a plan of what you're going to do to meet your goals and following through on your plan is key to achieve your objectives. Academic motivational speaker Kantis Simmons states that associating specific actions with your goal will help you more effectively meet it. For example, if your goal is to get better math grades to improve your GPA and SAT scores, you might decide to practice math each night for a half-hour, attend tutoring sessions twice a week after school and study a little each night for tests rather than cramming the night before.


Letting people know about your goals can give you extra motivation to follow through on your action plan. For example, on the first day of school, you might ask your math teacher for advice on how to meet your goal. Writing your goal down and putting it on the refrigerator can also get your family involved by serving as a reminder to check in with you and ask about how it's going. Finally, posting your goal on Facebook or another social networking site can also inform your friends of what you're trying to accomplish and enlist their support.

Related Articles