3 Tips for Setting Goals and Sticking With Them

By Amanda Jungkuntz - April 15th, 2019

The truth is, we all struggle. We all have a hard time once in awhile. That is why setting goals and working toward them is better than giving up or feeling sorry for yourself because you didn’t make a plan or didn’t try.

Personally, I’ve been pursuing my bachelor’s degree at a few colleges — both  online and in-person — for about eight years now. Yes, you read that correctly: I’ve devoted the last eight years of my life to learning. When I exited the military, my goal was to attain a bachelor’s degree. I felt that I needed one to make me more competitive in the working world, since my only professional experience was in the military as a Military Police, where I can no longer work due to physical challenges and young children. My academic journey has taught me that I need more than the answer to, “Why am I doing this?” I’ve had to reach down deeply and find that strong motivation and willpower inside of myself, that driving force that gets me excited to march on, despite tough times.  

My problem has always been that, even after I set a goal, I become so overwhelmed with life that I seem to taper off and get discouraged — and then my goal seems so far away and unattainable. Sometimes, my “why am I doing this” seems weak and unimportant. One of the best ways I have found to keep my “why” alive is positive self talk — reminding myself that this bad day (sometimes week and even month, at times) is not going to last forever.  

I also have to say, I’ve found it extremely refreshing to take a break for a class or two, so that I could regroup and recharge. But I’ve never done so without the commitment to get back up and march on. Even while I was on break, I kept my goals at the top of my mind and never let myself forget the bigger picture.  

Have you ever gotten a paper cut and no matter what you do you keep hitting it and bumping it and re-opening the wound?  Sometimes life’s bumps can be like that, and no matter what you do, you just cannot seem to stop agitating the cut. But even so, you can’t let life’s paper cuts keep you from what’s beautiful about the world . Our lives are so much more than a rough class or a bad grade or young children at home.  Life can really seem messy but with each new day comes a new opportunity and fresh outlook.

Anyway, no matter how many times you may fall down, the very most important thing you can ever do, is get back up. You may have skinned knees (such as when you fail a class), you may have a few bruises (maybe when you receive a bad grade) — you may even have a broken bone or two (maybe your family life is on the rocks, maybe your children have strenuous schedules, maybe you are even suffering from a physical issue)… whatever has you down is likely not going to last forever..  Sometimes, when I have been in a rough spot, I imagine that, if nothing else, I can always serve as an example to someone else of a strong person who doesn’t give up when life gets tough, and it’s that line of thinking that keeps me going.

Tip #1:  Be nice to yourself, and remember what you’re working so hard to achieve.

Tip #2: Learn time management skills (this eliminates so many problems).Tip #3:  Don’t hesitate to talk to someone about your struggle with classes, schedules, or life (in general)… Communicating your problems can really put so much into perspective.

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