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How to stick to your study goals in 2020

One of the many traditions that come with a new year is to set yourself goals! While they tend to revolve around unhealthy behaviour, smoking, for instance, you can also use new year goals for your OET study!

These could be as simple as reading through our top 25 preparation articles from 2019 or something more complex, like getting a B in Speaking.

Unfortunately, sticking to these goals can be hard! In fact, 80% of goal setters don’t make it past the second week of February, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

But don’t despair, there are ways to stay committed! Let’s take a closer look at why goals fail as well as five tips to help you develop and stick to your goals in 2020!

Why do we struggle with new year goals?

Most of what we do as humans is habitual, and it can be hard to change. Breaking habits takes strong willpower and commitment!

Cramming, only preparing with practice tests and procrastination are all bad study habits that should be unlearned!

When it comes to studying, one of the major reasons new year goals fail is due to unreasonable expectations. People don’t change overnight, and unrealistic goals can have a negative impact on your overall success!

Below are five tips from education and psychology experts that we believe will help you keep your study goals in 2020!

Tip 1 – Be SMART

Like most goals, you have a much better chance of keeping them if they’re SMART. This stands for:

  • Specific (What do you exactly want to achieve?)
  • Measurable (How do you know you’re on the right track?)
  • Achievable (Can you reach these with the time and resource available?)
  • Relevant (Do these align with your goals in life?)
  • Time-bound (Do you have a deadline when you need to achieve them?)

Crafting SMART goals is a great way to ensure you start off on the right foot.

Tip 2 – Aim small (in the beginning)

While learning a new language is a big goal, you can use smaller goals to get you there! “I want to use a new word every week” or “I want to have a conversation in English every day” are small, achievable and easy to measure!

Dr Carly Moores, associate lecturer at Flinders University, told that it’s important to not make too many changes at once.

“Start with small changes and continue to build on these or try to tackle one change at a time,” Moores said. “Try to set yourself goals, reflect on your progress towards these, acknowledge that changes can be hard, and results won’t happen overnight … or even in the first two weeks of the new year.”

Both the above are examples of short-term goals that will allow you to reach your long-term goal of learning a new language or achieving the results you need to work in the UK as a nurse!

Tip 3 – Link them to what you value

When setting goals, Peter Heslin, associate professor from the UNSW Business School, believes that you should link your goals to your personal values.

A study from the McGill University in Montreal Canada found that people who set and prioritised goals that they believed would have a positive impact on their lives and the lives of people close to them were more likely to achieve them than if they did not.

So, ask yourself:

  • What benefits do I expect to see when I reach my goal?
  • How could achieving my goal enhance my life and/or the lives of those I care about?

Link your goals to what you value!

Tip 4 – Be accountable

To really make your study goals binding, make sure you have taken steps to be accountable!

Write them down and tell people about them. Use you friends and family to hold you to account when you stray from your goals.

By doing this you’ll feel more motivated!

Tip 5 – Take a health check

You won’t know if you’re staying on course unless you check your goals to a timeline.

OET Expert Rebecca says that a monthly health check is a great way to keep on top of where you are in your study journey.

A great way to do this is by taking a sample test and tracking your score! Take another one the following month and compare your results.

Hopefully, these will help you stay on course and stick to your 2020 study goals! For OET preparation resources to help during your study, head over to the OET Preparation Page!