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How do you set a good learning goal?

Your brain loves to focus. Working toward something is stimulating and creates commitment. It's as if you make a deal with yourself. Writing down your learning goals helps you to stick to them. At 'ready to go?', in every learning journey, we give you the opportunity to write down your learning goal. You store your goals in your memory and sub-consciously begin to take steps toward achieving them. But how do you formulate a good learning goal?

Focus on positive behavior

We know that learning a new behavior is easier than un-learning old behavior. Close your eyes and DO NOT think about that difficult co-worker, or that problem your ran into yesterday. If you tell yourself not to do something, you'll only be focussed on it even more. That's opposite of what you want, so it's much better to focus on the behavior you DO want instead. And in addition, something from positive psychology; focussing on something positive causes us to be more prone to learning.

Not: "I don't want to be distracted by Social Media anymore."

But: "I want to be productive and concentrate fully on my work."


Describe the new situation in as much detail as possible

The more detailed you make your goals for yourself, the bigger the chance you'll begin to realize them. Let's say you want to be more assertive at work. You can make that goal more specific by saying: "I want to be more assertive during work meetings." Or even better: "During next Tuesday's work meeting, I want to be assertive when answering questions from my colleagues."

The more specific you make your learning goal, the easier it is to start working on achieving it. Once you have expressed to yourself exactly when you are going to start with the new behavior, you almost don't have an excuse to not do it. In other words: the vaguer you remain when formulating your learning goal, the harder it will be to find the right situation to practice your new behavior. Most likely you will not find the right situation to be assertive in your reactions. Because, what is the right situation? You get it... you just keep putting it off.

So, the more specific you are, the bigger the chance you will achieve your learning goal. You can check these goals and cross them out as well.

Keep it realistic and achievable

For your brain it's difficult to be dealing with different learning goals all at once. Learning a new behavior is hard enough. Let alone when you want achieve five of them all at once. So, don't demand too much of yourself. Often that's not very realistic or achievable.

Set a goal you fully believe in.

Because, you will only change if you want to change. So, make sure it really is your goal.

And finally

Ever heard of setting SMART goals? It's a memory aid for setting (learning) goals. It stands for:

  • Specific: make a goals as specific as possible
  • Measurable: make your goals measurable. When will it have been achieved?
  • Attainable: make sure it is something you can stand for
  • Relevant: bear in mind all the other goals you want to achieve
  • Time bound: specify a timeframe in which you will want to work on achieving your goal

This helps with setting a good learning goal. Good luck!



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