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How goal-setting for students can give them purpose & belief

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Goal setting for students has been proven to improve both motivation and performance. In normal life when we are not under the stress of a pandemic, goal setting for students is commonly used to improve results such as academic achievement. In this article we will instead be looking at why goal setting for students should now be offered to all students to help give them belief in the future and purpose during the pandemic.

To demonstrate this we will be again looking at Victor Frankl’s story from the Holocaust. One of the observations Frankl learnt through his time in concentration camps was that the prisoners who had a belief in the future and those who felt they had a purpose to living, generally survived longer and coped better, compared to those who lost faith.

“The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and become subject to mental and physical decay.” Viktor Frankl

The concentration camps starkly showed that having a vision or belief in the future is crucial to human life. Although the circumstances presented to us through the pandemic are by no means as horrific as that of a concentration camp, they do have similarities and show us that at this time of hardship its extremely important to have a positive belief in the future. For schools and teachers its now vital we encourage a positive belief in the future into our students and children.

Goal setting for Students – a method to instill belief and purpose

Goal setting for students is an easy skill to learn and one which can encourage a positive outlook in the future. When we set a goal for the future, it allows your mind to start planning a path on how to get there. For Viktor at the time of his incarceration his goal would have simply been to be free. For us and our students their goals could be quite similar – to be free to do what they want to do…

A beam of light streams from the sky into a cave. Above the man is a quote from Holocaust Survivor and Psychologist Viktor Frankl, which reads 'What a man needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.'

Although we don’t control everything in our lives, we do have control of many factors and these are the factors we need to focus our goals on. Viktor knew he could not break out of the camp, but he knew he had control of his attitude, his values and ultimately his belief he would one day be free.

As mentioned in a previous article when goal-setting for students we need to make our goals SMART. They need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and most importantly time framed. Although there is still uncertainty on when we will be free to do what we want to do, we still have control of many things within our life’s and these are the things our goals for the time being should be focused upon.

Goal setting for Students needs to be challenging even though we can’t be free. As Viktor quotes we should not be striving for a tensionless state as that would mean our goals have no value or meaning.

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. Viktor Frankl

youHQ's values-based student goal-setting and wellbeing platform is the perfect way to allow your pupils and students to set goals and look after their wellbeing. For more information about the platform, please book a free demo here.

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