As a high school counselor, you’ve likely witnessed students struggling to meet the demands of their curriculum, keep up with college applications, or stay motivated throughout the school year. When the overwhelm hits, they turn to you for support and guidance. One excellent way you can help is by showing them how to visually track their goals.
By helping students create a system they can rely on as they work towards reaching their goals, they can find a new source of momentum and confidence in their abilities and journey. Visual goal tracking creates accountability and structure when students feel stuck or unmotivated. When they have a visual reference of where they stand, what they’ve achieved so far and what they have left to go, they have something tangible to refer to to keep them moving forward.
When creating a visual goal tracking system with students, it’s important to choose small, attainable goals. If they’re overwhelmed with college applications, instead of a goal like “apply to 10 colleges a week”, shift it to something more workable and achievable: “spend 1 hour on college essays per day.” When your students’ goals are something they know they can achieve, they find more confidence and momentum as they work towards them. This helps to avoid feelings of burnout or defeat when they inevitably stumble in the effort to attain larger than life goals that simply aren’t feasible.
To help students stay on track, it can be helpful to encourage them to create a daily check-in routine to assess their progress. This forms the habit of ensuring your daily actions are in line with your goals, and prevents goals and habits from falling to the wayside. Equally as important as checking in on daily progress is reminding your students to go easy on themselves if they’re struggling. Feelings of failure won’t get them anywhere, and teaching them to speak positively to themselves and to avoid self-criticism or comparison will ultimately set them up for success.
To help you get started introducing visual goal tracking to your students, these printable habit trackers were created to help students track their progress and create consistency in whatever goals matter most to them. Make sure to remind your students that achieving their goals and dreams doesn’t have to be intimidating, and that what matters most is that they continue to show up for themselves each day—and that you’re there to help them whenever they need support.