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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.

As someone who has struggled with achieving my goals for a long time, I have learned a lot from trial and error. Whether it be anything, from reading more to maintaining a healthier lifestyle, chances are, I have tried it (and failed at it). Although I’m no expert at this, here are a few points I have learned from my journey on what works and what doesn’t:

1. Write them down

This is arguably the most important step to achieving your goals. When I write down my goals, that is when they actually become real for me. You don’t even have to physically write them down on a paper; just open a Google Doc, title it “Goals” and think about anything and everything you would like to see yourself do. Don’t limit yourself either; pretend like you have absolutely no limitations and really think about what you want for yourself in life. You can start with general themes, and build your way up to more specific objectives. 

2. Break them down

So, let’s say you want to read more books by the end of the year. Great! Now make specific goals for yourself weekly, monthly and maybe even daily. Having big goals is great, but sometimes it might be too overwhelming to think of them that way. Instead, make them bite-sized and easier on your brain. So, the first week you can make a goal to read two pages a day, the next week three pages a day and so on. Also, achieving those tiny goals will help build motivation to continue on your journey. Moral of the story: Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

3. take that first step

I think A LOT about my plans, probably more than actually doing anything about them. If you are anything like me, it is so important to stop analyzing the plan from every perspective and just start. It is better to learn from your mistakes than curate the “perfect” plan that may not even end up working out. That first action you take will make the next ones that much easier. Roll with the punches. 

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4. doing something is better than nothing

If motivation is low on certain days, which is almost a guarantee, it is important to remember that doing anything is better than absolutely nothing at all. So, if you can’t bring yourself to read a page in a book, try to read a paragraph rather than not reading at all. A black and white mindset is not in your favor when it comes to bettering yourself; any and all effort matters. 

I hope the things I have learned so far from my goal journey you can learn from too. Always remember that you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. It is completely okay to fail over and over again, as long as you keep getting back up and trying again. Happy goal-setting!

Daniyah Hashmi

Illinois '25

Hi, my name is Daniyah (pronounced Dahn-ya) and I'm a Sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign! I'm a dual degree student majoring in Brain & Cognitive Science and Information Sciences. I've always loved journaling as a hobby, so I figured I'd join Her Campus to hone in on my writing skills and become a more confident writer!