By Prof. Jack Mandel
“You have the brains in your head.”
“You have the feet in your shoes.”
“You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
After writing so many columns designed to motivate college students like yourself, I think it is time the above three lines became an action plan for yourself.
Everything in life takes planning and some thought. If you have a homework assignment given on a Monday and due for a Wednesday class, obviously you only have two days to do it. Waiting until the morning of only makes for a frazzled you.
If you have a group project due in eight weeks, are you happy to wait until the week before to begin your part of the “team” effort? That’s putting a serious burden on the other members of the group.
You see, the biggest obstacle to achieve personal, college or business goals is located between your ears. What you think and, more importantly, what you BELIEVE about yourself have a huge impact on your ability to get it done!
There is no secret to long-term success. All you need to have is inner motivation. Don’t do it because you want to make mom “proud,” or you have to “prove something” to your dad, or to “show off” to your peers, or “impress” your girlfriend. DO IT FOR YOU!
Convince yourself that what you are doing is the BEST way, the most LOGICAL way, and the most CREATIVE way to accomplish goals that you and only YOU set for yourself.
Here are a few ideas to help:
FIRST, PUT YOUR IDEAS IN WRITING: You should be able to see and visualize them. You can view the big picture and not just your day-to-day activities that sometimes bog you down.
SECOND, SET MINI GOALS FOR YOURSELF: Setting a series of smaller, easier to reach goals can motivate you as opposed to being overwhelmed by one harder to reach goal. For example, if you are a “C” student, why make an unrealistic expectation of saying you will achieve a perfect “A” this term? Wouldn’t it be better to aim for two “A” grades, two “B” grades and zero “C” grades? Don’t run before you learn to walk.
THIRD, TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF YOUR INTENTIONS: Setting goals with others around you kind of forces you to keep your word. It often gives you additional support to get over the other hurdles such as studying for an exam rather than going out to a party the night before.
FOURTH, SET A TIME LIMIT: I find I reach my goals and responsibilities easier when I impose a time limit on myself. When an individual says he/she had “no time” to accomplish something, you’re not fooling anyone. It’s a lame excuse for inaction. For example, if I know that this column is due by the third week of the month, I have to have it to the editor or it won’t run. Simple.
Let me leave you with this final motivating statement…
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great!”
Good luck to all as the semester winds down!
Professor Jack Mandel has taught marketing and public relations since 1978 at Nassau Community College. He has won the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award, conferred by the NYS Association of Two-Year Colleges. His is also a Best of Long Island winner for 2010 in the Teaching category from the Long Island Press.