It’s hard not to remain conscious of your grade point average; it is a tangible measure of success. But no matter if you’re a student enrolled in college courses or you’re matriculated in the school of life, it’s important to think beyond simple numbers and develop a more holistic, and longer lasting, measure of achievement.

That’s why Walter Pauk and Ross J. Q. Owens recommend striving for success by following a different kind of “GPA”: your goal, your plan, and the action you take.

  • Your Goal: Have a clear idea for where you’re headed. These can include minor goals, such as completing a project before Friday evening, as well as major goals, such as defining the objective for your next stage in life. Be sure to write your goals down — this simple act helps you remember your resolutions, and serves as both accountability and inspiration.
  • Your Plan: Devise a strategy for reaching that goal that is built on practical and attainable steps. Then evaluate that plan to ensure that you’re being as effective as possible. As you proceed through your plan, you may discover more efficient means of reaching your ends, or you may find that certain steps don’t work so well for you. That’s part of the discovery process, so don’t be afraid to revisit or recalibrate those plans based on what works better for you personally.
  • Take Action: Obviously, it’s necessary to take action in order to make progress. But sometimes, we get stuck on this point! If you catch yourself making excuses for procrastination, challenge yourself to re-frame those “reasons why not” into “reasons why.” Diligence and patience will help you face your fears, overcome obstacles, and keep moving forward to success. (Pauk and Owens, 9-14)

Reference: Content adapted from Pauk and Owens. How to Study in College, 10E © 2011 Wadsworth, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission.