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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 5, No. 5 - September/October 2013

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Focus on What You Want, Not on What You Don't Want

By Michelle Lee

The end of school year is nearly here. With it comes increased pressure for students to focus and concentrate on their study, assignments and exams.

Some students are naturally great at focusing whereas others appear scattered and easily distracted.

Before students can focus and be motivated to study, it's important that they refine what they want and what they don't want.

Here is a step-by-step way of building that clarity:

  1. Form a Vision

    First of all it is important to "Keep the End in Mind". Without a clear picture of one's destination, students may wander aimlessly along an uncharted path. Like planning for holidays, having a destination makes it necessary to focus on the journey and to prepare for it.

    This is an example of a short term vision complete with associated emotions: "It is summer break. I am feeling happy and confident, as I have given my best during the year and exams. My results are even better than I expected. I enjoy the rest of my holidays feeling free and great about myself."

    Encourage teenagers to talk about their vision in terms of how they would feel about it.

  2. Identify Values

    What are the teens' highest values, the things they treasure most? Whether these are kindness, compassion, friendship or intelligence, these qualities and attributes form the basis of their daily goals. These are the values they cherish most and are the basis of who they are. Values help students to make the best decisions for themselves.

  3. Prioritise Roles

    Help students to clarify their roles in life as a child, sibling, cousin, student, mentor, sportsperson or employee - and to prioritise these roles.

    Students prioritise their roles differently at different times of their lives.

    During high school, students are encouraged to be aware that during exam times their most important role is that of a student. This will help them to understand that they do not need to be everything to everybody.

    Keeping their student role in mind can go a long way to clarifying their study goals.

  4. Write Goals Down

    The difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal is written word. Goals are best written in the SMART format - Specific-Measurable-Action-Oriented-Realistic-Timed. Other tips are to write goals in the present tense, positively, and with lots of emotion.

  5. Meditate

    Meditation offers a break from the students' hectic study pace. Numerous studies indicate that regular meditation and mindfulness practice improves concentration and sharpness of focus. It allows the brain to develop mental clarity.

These five tools help students to gain insight into what is important to them and what isn't, what they want and don't want, and allows them to crystallise and prioritise their goals.

About Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee is a Transformational Life Coach at UpnAway Career & Life Coaching, based in Newcastle NSW. She successfully guides adults and teens to transform their lives and to pursue their passion and purpose. Michelle has developed programs to assist her clients to become clear on what they want and to build their purpose and confidence.

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