How to Set Realistic Goals As A Student – 5 Effective Tips

One mistake I regret making while in school was setting unrealistic goals.

I had huge expectations of myself while goal setting. This idea forced me to set goals that I found difficult to complete.

Initially, I didn’t get disheartened, but I started getting disappointed at my under achievements as this continued. This was when I decided to recheck my goal planning strategies, which changed my life for the better.

This post is on my personal experience on how to set realistic goals as a student.

How to set realistic goals as a student?

Setting goals is an important part of being successful as a student. Students risk not achieving their goals if they set goals that are not realistic.

But how do you set smart goals as a student?

Aim for gradual improvements rather than a complete change

A goal is realistic if it can build upon what you’re already doing. For example, say you volunteer for 5 hours a week with one of your professors.

Aiming to volunteer for 20 hours a week is unrealistic since that’s 4 times as much volunteering as you already do.

Committing that much time will also take time away from achieving your other goals.

Aiming towards a more realistic goal, like volunteering 10 hours a week, is much more achievable.

Make sure that you give yourself enough time to achieve your goals

Time is an important factor in goal setting.

Wanting to improve your grades in a class you’re struggling in, for example, is an excellent goal.

Wanting to increase your grade by 20% in a week is not realistic.

You need to put in the time to study and to bring your grades up gradually. This goal can be achieved if you give yourself enough time to do it, like a month or two.

Set goals that you’re willing to put the effort in to achieve

This is a major factor in setting realistic goals as a student. It’s great to dream big and to set lofty goals, but are you willing to put the work into achieving them?

If the answer is no, the goal isn’t achievable.

For example, say you wanted to become a doctor. Are you only willing to put 10 hours a week into studying?

Studying to become a doctor requires much more study time than that. If you’re not willing to put in the time needed to become a doctor, becoming a doctor isn’t a realistic goal.

Make sure that you have the ability to achieve your goals

Realistic goals require you to have the ability to actually achieve them.

Say you struggled in subjects like mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Becoming an engineer is probably not a realistic goal for you.

That being said, you can develop your abilities so that you can achieve your goals.

For example, if you were willing to put in the effort to learn these subjects, you could easily become an engineer. You need to give yourself the tools you need to achieve your goals.

Set small goals that work towards a larger goal

Some goals require many steps to achieve, such as becoming a lawyer. You need to set goals for yourself that will help you to achieve that big goal.

In the case of becoming a lawyer, you should set goals like “get a summer law student job” and “volunteer with a legal clinic for 5 hours a week”.

If you set realistic goals for yourself by following the tips described above, you will have no problem achieving those goals and being successful.

Examples of Smart Goals

Do take a look at the smart goals template pdf I found on another site.


Do you want know why productive get more things done faster? It is because of their goal setting.

They take the time framing smart goals that are achievable, and stick to their plans.

Make a mental note of this article or bookmark this page so that it’ll be realistic the next time you set goals.

If you find this article useful, please do comment below and let me know.

Also Read: How to deal with negative people

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