The second semester of the school year can be tough. Most students would agree that the amount of effort put into classes tends to die down as summer approaches, so it is important to establish effective habits early on to truly have a successful term. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so if you are not sure you can make it through a whole semester, at least try the first 21 days. Here are some ways you can stay motivated and have a productive beginning to this semester.

1. Set a List of Goals

This may sound fairly obvious, but it really does help in achieving what you hope to accomplish. You don't have to list many, just the specific things you plan to focus on. Then, list ways in which you plan on achieving these goals. Another effective way to get you motivated in actually carrying out on these plans includes writing about how you would feel or what would happen if you DIDN'T accomplish these goals. Put a check box next to each goal. That way, once you do accomplish them you get that wonderful satisfaction of checking that box.

2. Invest in a Planner

Yes, our computers have calendars that also work perfectly fine. But I have found by having a physical, annual planner, I am much more organized about setting plans and listing to-dos. Plus, it is much more fun to look back and marvel at all you have accomplished in an actual planner over an electronic calendar.

3. Pick up 1 (or 2 or all) of the Following Habits 

Over the summer I came across this video, and it really did change my life (despite the title really seeming like clickbait). I managed to find a time every day to exercise, meditate, and read. Once school started, it of course got more difficult to keep up with each one, but whenever I was making time to exercise, meditate, or read, I found that I felt much more organized and on top of my life. All three of these habits also motivate you in wanting to excel in the other areas of your life, as well as provide a healthy break from all the hustle and bustle of school.

4. Try to Make a Friend in Every Class

The first thing I noticed in attending university was that in some classes and lectures, students barely ever spoke to one another. Coming from a small high school where everyone knew each other (as well as being a highly social being), I was quite appalled by this. I get it, some people hate introducing themselves or like to be on their own, but you have been given the amazing opportunity to go to this college, so start taking advantage and be an active member of the community! Plus, having friends gives you more of a reason to attend that class and allows to you to catch up on any notes from a lecture you couldn't make it to.

5. Put the Phone Away 

I struggled a huge amount with this one last semester, and I got to say I know a lot of my peers did too. Yes, it's great to stay updated on everything else going on, on campus. Yes, when the lecture gets boring I would rather be on Twitter. Yes, I have missed the point of entire classes due to being on my phone (sorry if you are reading this, Mom). But if you really want to get the most out of your education, really LISTEN to your professors. Get to know them, if you can. Ask questions in class. If you don't understand something, ask for further help. If you're constantly on your phone in class, though, it is much harder to catch up later. The Snapchats can wait for later.