8 ways to make goals stick

Goal Setting: How to create an action plan and achieve your goals

Happy New Year! Setting New Year’s goals is a tradition supported by academic research on independent learning (see Harvey & Chickie-Wolfe, 2007, Ch.1). Setting goals and maintaining goal-directed behaviour can improve study effectiveness (Harvey & Chickie-Wolfe, 2007).

If you are thinking of setting goals for 2014, Here are 8 ways to make goals stick (modified from Wilson and Dobson, 2008, Ch.1):

  1. Write down your goals.
  2. Make goals achievable.
  3. Describe your goals in specific, measurable terms.
  4. Visualise both the pathway to your goals and the goals themselves.
  5. Look for potential problems that might keep you from achieving your goals.
  6. Take action to remove or minimise potential problems.
  7. Regularly review progress towards achieving your goals.
  8. Know the personal rewards of achieving your goals.

For more advice, QUT Library has a great range of videos and books on how to set effective goals.


Harvey, V. S. & Chickie-Wolfe, L.A. (2007). Fostering Independent Learning : Practical Strategies to Promote Student Success. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com.

Wilson, S. B. & Dobson, M. S. (2008). Goal setting: How to create an action plan and achieve your goals. New York: American Management Association.  Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com.

Academic Skills Adviser @ QUT Library

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