The Goals Template: A Tool for Continual Improvement

Previously, we talked about how to use the Weekly Schedule planner. I emphasized these points about the planner:

  • It’s not a required schedule, but a decision-making tool.
  • No one follows a week plan 100%
  • Making the planner and referring to it several times a day as you go through the week will likely help you be much more productive.

On the back of McGraw’s Weekly Schedule planner sheet is another powerful tool.

It’s called the Goals Template.

Go ahead and click that tempting link! Scroll down; it’s on the 2nd page.

The Goals Template will help you go after what you want, and it learn how to get better at going after what you want.

Used regularly, it is a tool for continual improvement; for learning how to get better.

There are 3 basic parts:

  1. Intend: Set goals for the week.
  2. Reflect: At the end of the week, ask yourself in writing what went well, and what didn’t go well.
  3. Revise: Based on this learning, plan to do something different next week to get better results.

There are many ways you can use this Goals Template. Here’s one way.

INTEND

Let’s say you used it today, Sunday, for the assignment coming up that’s pressuring you the most; an exam or a paper. Let’s take an exam for this example. Take a look at the Goals Template to know what I’m referring to.

Imagine that, where it says, “what are some of your goals for this week?” you wrote just 1 major goal:

“Be well-prepared for the ABC exam.”

Then you wrote sub-goals to get that goal:

  1.  “Text Amrou to study together”
  2. “Do one practice exam a day”
  3. “Get 7 hours of sleep the night before.”

Then you put this on your wall and refer to it as you went through your week.

REFLECT

Let’s say now it is the following week. Again, it is Sunday, and you take down the Goal Template from your wall, look again at the goals you wrote, and write answers to the reflection questions (i.e., “What went well this week? What didn’t go well this week?”).

Perhaps, for “what went well,” you wrote:

“I did get together with Amrou, and I did some of the practice exams. I also got nearly 7 hours of sleep the night before the ABC exam.”

And for “what didn’t go well,” you wrote:

“I waited too long to start on the practice exams.”

REVISE

Now that you have reflected on what worked out and didn’t work out, you can apply that knowledge to the coming week.

If, for example, you started later than benefits you on the practice exams, then think of what you can do differently next week for what’s coming up this week. Maybe this week you have an exam for the XYZ class. Again, you write the major goal:

“Be well-prepared for the XYZ exam.”

This time, your sub-goals might be:

  1. “Text Heather today to do practice exam 1 together tomorrow
  2. “Do one practice exam a day”
  3. “Get 7 hours of sleep the night before.”

What’s different about these sub-goals compared to the last set?

This time, you’ve thought of a way to augment your strengths.

You did get to the practice exams last time, and that is a strength.

But, you want to improve. So, you set yourself up for success by making sure to get a study buddy.

You can try it for yourself now, if you like. Print the Goals Template. Think of one exam or paper, and then write your major goal and sub-goals.

Put it into action through the week.

At the end of the week, reflect, then revise your approach for any final assignments you have, and write another Goals Template.

Enjoy your continual improvement!