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How the power of Goal Setting got me three distinctions

I have just received the final results for my Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Media Studies. Out of the five subjects I did in the honours degree, I have scored a total of three distinctions. I am extremely proud of these results. Anyone who has ever done a degree at honours level knows how much of a challenge it is to pass, let alone score a distinction in not only one subject but three. I have been asked, a few times, what my secret has been. The answer is very simple; goal setting.

When I started doing my honours degree at the University of South Africa in January 2015 I already knew the importance of defining my goals clearly. I had already learned that if I wanted to get an honours degree, I had to visualise exactly the position that I wanted to reach. My goal then was to score a distinction in every subject that I was doing. It was also a goal for me to do the degree in two years ending in February 2016. I knew that five distinctions would be record breaking. I still knew that it was possible; if I break down my goals into small units that I could manage on a day to day basis.

I also understood the importance of writing my goals down on a goal planning sheet. On this sheet, I clearly defined the obstacles that I could possibly meet. One of the biggest obstacles I identified was the shortage of funds. Because I had set this goal three years before I registered at the university, I was able to counter this obstacle by having a specific saving plan for the required funds. When the time to register arrived, all the money required for the degree was at hand.

I knew that if I was going to attain my goal of completing my honours degree in two years with five distinctions, my time management had to be impeccable. Part of my Leadership Management International (LMI) training had taught me that I should make a habit of asking myself if an activity that I am involved in is worth my time. During my studies there were a number of demands on my time. After doing an audit of what my time was used for, I was able to stop doing certain things such as watching soap operas on television, updating and following statuses on social networking sites. Up to today, I do not use Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp. My day was broken into my work, my exercises and my studying. I did make sure however that I still made time for the other aspects of my life such as the social and cultural. Everything was deliberate. No time was wasted. If I was travelling in public transport, I did some work. If I had to wait for a meeting, I was reading something.

By identifying what is essential, I was able to ask myself these essential questions; Can this procedure be rearranged and still achieve the same result? Or can the procedure be altered and improve the result? Using this model, I was able to delegate certain aspects of my work to others. I am now in the process of starting preparations for my Master’s degree which I will register for next year. This is already a goal. A goal planning sheet has been filled.

I am now already saving the money I will need to pay for the degree. I am also doing the preliminary work for me to be able to present a plan on how my thesis will proceed. I am also in the process of identifying the university where I will enrol. I have also started to work on my thesis topic and I have identified the area that I will study. The end result is already clear to me. I know my goal is to complete my PhD by my 46th birthday, which is March of 2022.