Tips And Tricks To Set Personal Goals

23 April 2020

The combination of studying, living in a new city, assignments and exams period can sometimes all be stressful, making it difficult sometimes to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Many of us here at StudyPerth have been students ourselves or moved overseas to start new careers and lives, and we definitely know what being stressed with day to day demands of life can be like.

So, we have created this article to share some of the best ways to keep yourself on track and ensure your personal wellbeing is to set personal goals. Here are our few tips and tricks to help you set your goals – both for studying, and for other personal pursuits!


Be positive

It is always more enjoyable to work towards a positive outcome, and sometimes it is simply a matter of flipping your focus. For example, instead of saying “I don’t want anything less than 85 per cent in my English exam”, you should say “I aim to get over 85 per cent in my English exam”.

It is amazing the effect that turning negative language (‘avoidance-oriented goals’) into positive (‘approach-oriented goals’) can have on a person’s wellbeing, study efforts and focus.


Be flexible

Being flexible is very important when goal setting. If you have no ‘give’ in your goals and something happens that means you cannot achieve your goal – for example, a medical emergency, a family issue that needs addressing, or conflicting deadlines - it could cause you to become stressed or overwhelmed, or even feel a sense of failure. You should always have a degree of flexibility in mind when setting your goals.

Another reason why flexibility is important is because a goal may not be achievable, however it could lead to the pursuit of a new, meaningful goal. While you may feel stress about not achieving the original goal, you can reset your focus on the new goal!


Be specific

Specific goals are more likely to be achieved as they are well-defined, provide more mental cues to keep you on track towards your goal, and help you monitor personal progress. For example, instead of “study more” to help you achieve over 85 per cent in your exam, try “set aside three hours per day for study in the library towards my English exam”.



Have you heard of the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goal-setting? There are a few variations of this theory, but here is an easy one for you to remember when re-assessing your goals.

  • S – Is it specific?
  • M – Is it measurable?
  • A – Is it achievable?
  • R – Is it realistic?
  • T – Is it timebound?

Check out this easy-to-use S.M.A.R.T. template from the Black Dog Institute.


These are just a few simple tips and tricks to help all students of all ages – international students included – along their education journey. Learn more about setting better goals by reading this article on The Conversation, written by Joanne Dickson, Associate Professor of Psychology at Edith Cowan University.

Do you have your own methods for handling stress and achieving personal goals? Show us what you do so we can share it with fellow students and help them be stress free! Share your tips and tricks by tagging @studyperth on your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and/or Twitter channels.

Studyperth Profilepicture

About Author

In collaboration with governments, educational institutions and stakeholders, StudyPerth provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in WA and overseas.