It’s the start of a new year. The holidays are over, you’re feeling confident about your New Year’s resolutions, and your motivation is at an all-time high. Although you’re feeling optimistic by a fresh start, sometimes getting back into studying after a break can be challenging. To help inspire you for the year ahead, these are our top tips to kickstart your study goals in 2021. Set your goals Goal setting plays an important role in long-term success and the New Year is an ideal time to set your goals. No matter how big or small they may be, it’s important to set goals to achieve daily, monthly, and even for several years, to stay focused on what you want to accomplish throughout life. No doubt you’ve heard this before, but one of the most valuable methods of goal setting is making sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Using this effective technique when setting your study goals can help to determine whether they’ll work for you. If goal setting is new to you, start small. Seeing small successes will boost your confidence to achieve bigger goals later down the track. Get organised and start planning One of the most useful actions to take while working towards your study goals is to get organised and start planning. Planning is vital to staying on track to achieve your study goals, especially when time is limited. A great way to stay on track is to create a study plan and set realistic deadlines. Plan in advance to understand what you need to prioritise every week or month, and work against these deadlines. If you’re constantly on the go with work and studying, setting reminders on your phone and emails will ensure you’re always a step ahead. Remember, things don’t always go to plan. Be flexible when necessary and don’t feel discouraged if your plan goes slightly off track. Get into a study routine Getting into a study routine is ideal for remaining motivated and organised throughout the year. Once studying becomes part of your routine, you’ll notice the benefits. This doesn’t mean you have to study 365 days a year or every hour you’re out of the office. Even if you dedicate time to study only a few days a week, this will still help you to get ahead with your goals throughout the year. Here are some simple ways you can incorporate study into your routine without it taking over your spare time: Three or four days a week, take time out at the beginning or end of the day to catch up on your studies. Even if it’s only an hour, it will help significantly over the year If you use public transport for your daily commute, use this time to revise instead of scrolling through social media Dedicate half an hour of your lunch break to studying Spend a few hours over your weekend to catch up and reflect on what you’ve learned to stay productive and prepare for the following week Balance is key Studying and achieving your goals is important, but your health and wellbeing is far more significant. Finding a good balance between your work, personal life and study is essential for productivity and motivation. Chances are if you have a good study plan and routine in place, you’ll find balancing study and your personal life much easier. Here are our suggestions on what you can do to find balance: Stay active – exercise is important to keep your mind healthy and focused, which is beneficial while studying. Take time out to go to the gym, go for a brisk walk to get some fresh air, play a sport, or practice yoga. Take a break – taking regular breaks will keep you feeling fresh and productive. Aim to do something that will make you switch off from your studies, such as spending time with family and friends, or catching up on a hobby. Get a good night’s sleep – we all know how satisfying it is to have a good night’s sleep, particularly after a productive study session! Sleep is an important part of recovery and rejuvenation, so ensure you get a healthy amount every night – seven to nine hours is the average for most people. Don’t overdo it – know your deadlines in advance so you can avoid last-minute stress when completing assignments or preparing for exams. If you do find yourself in a stressful situation, still aim to take regular breaks to give your mind time to switch off and recover. Be flexible Not everything will always go to plan, no matter how organised and motivated you are. Let’s face it, sometimes life gets in the way or you may just not be feeling inspired. Therefore, it’s important to be flexible with your study. If your study isn’t going to plan and you feel you’re not achieving your goals, try not to be discouraged. Keep aiming for your goals and if you really need to, revise them to ensure they’re achievable. To help with your motivation, try different study methods and techniques. You can even change your environment, such as studying in a group, at a café, library or outdoors to get away from distractions at home. We hope these tips will help you throughout the year. If you already have your study goals for 2021 sussed, please share them below to help motivate and inspire others!