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How positive psychology impact students goal setting after COVID-19?

Kirjoittanut: Sandra Hyttinen - tiimistä Samoa.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 5 minuuttia.


Literature review

How positive psychology impact student goal setting after COVID-19?



The mission of higher education institutions is not only to convey information, but also to develop the student as a person by offering personal growth and success. The corona period has weakened this possibility for many students who have to switch to distance learning, but also for those who had to start their studies remotely without meeting their fellow students live. Students as well as teachers experienced a big change during the corona period. The corona period affected learning and teaching in many ways, and the effects of the distance learning periods and the exceptional arrangements for face-to-face teaching related to the coronavirus pandemic can be long-lasting. Especially those students who have previously had difficulties with their studies have suffered from the corona situation.

After a more than two years, the students have been allowed to return to contact teaching, but many institutes have included hybrid study as part of their studies. The purpose of this literature review is to look more specific how the situation has changed after corona and could positive psychology affect students’ motivation and goal setting.

What is positive psychology?

Positive psychology aims to study well-being scientifically. It is quite a new field of study and was founded by the American psychologist Martin Seligman in late 1990s.

An important aspect of positive psychology is the promotion of human strengths, resources, and well-being. The purpose is to study the dimensions of a normal person without illness and to study what a person’s strengths and virtues are. Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning. Health, well-being, achievement, and quality of life are the focus, not negative emotions or trauma. (Positiivinen Psykologia. 2022). One of the central goals of positive psychology is to identify and develop different means and methods to increase and strengthen well-being. (Mitä on positiivinen psykologia? 2022) This can be achieved through individual exercises or well-being programs combining several elements designed to develop positive emotions, cognitions, and behaviors.

Especially in modern times, positive psychology plays an increasingly significant role. The world today is constantly changing at a fast pace, and students are required to quickly adapt to changes, to be able to withstand changes and to learn quickly. In addition to that, there are external factors that challenge students and student communities. Recent events such as the Corona pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war are examples of such changes.

The corona years have also left their mark on study cultures around the world. During Corona, many schools closed, and many learned to organize their lessons online through online platforms. Since then, more and more educational institutions have adopted the hybrid model as their way of working. Studies can be done partly at home and partly at school. It is important to consider how to build a sense of community again if it has weakened when returning to close-teach or hybrid work in schools. Because many of the students who have returned to school may have started studying remotely and have not met each other. School spirit, commitment to studies, and a sense of meaning are all good things that positive psychology can support. The tools for building a positive work environment and the ability to identify and utilize strengths should be included in the toolkit for teachers and guidance professionals. (Dove Press, 2021)

Student responsibility and self-direction are also considered important elements of the school environment. Internal motivation is one of the strongest motivational factors. Internal motivation means realizing one’s own values and will and working persistently towards goals that are meaningful and worthwhile. To support that, teachers need to understand the conditions under which genuine motivation is possible. Practices based on external incentives, let alone orders, work less well nowadays. Many students need a motivating, inspiring environment, and real interactions with real people. (Tuominen H. 2022)

Goal setting

Goal can be defined in many ways and there are a lot of theories behalf of it. Here the goal is defined as a type of guideline that helps you set goals and reach your desired results in a specific time. A good goal is challenging so that you must put in some effort to achieve it. Even the most talented performers will underperform if the goal is not challenging enough. This is because it will be perceived as being too easy. This theory is developed by American psychologist Edwin Locke. The goal setting theory states that the most effective performance is achieved when the goals are set in a specific and challenging manner. Although setting goals is not universal, everyone has their own unique goals and responsibilities when it comes to completing assignments and tests. For this reason, each student should set intermediate goals in order to achieve the ultimate goal. A person’s abilities and self-efficacy can affect the motivational effect of goals. Only goals that are related to results are insufficient, i.e., passing or performance alone are not sufficient. It is imperative for teachers or counselors to consider the individual’s needs and how they have changed with the pandemic. Motivational factors should be considered, because in this way more meaningful and personal goals can be set that drive students to better results. The key to successful goal setting is to build and strengthen students’ self-efficacy, a goal that awakens internal motivation.

How to use positive psychology to strength students’ motivation and achieving goals?

Positive psychology and motivation often work hand in hand. They influence each other. With positive psychology, the acceptability and relevance of the goal can be strengthened. When a specific goal seems achievable, it affects a person’s behavior positively. It increases the feeling of capability and increases self-confidence. Motivation is also a necessary condition for endurance and high performance. Motivated people enjoy studying more, and they consider it more worthwhile and spend more time on it. In contrast, increased investment improves work efficiency and productivity. External factors such as the environment and school friends also increase motivation and goal setting.

Knowing the basic principles of how the mind works is relevant for anyone who works with people. Threat images are easily emphasized in human thinking and that creative visions are not successful when stressed is important. Therefore, maintaining a positive attitude and a constructive way of speaking is a noble skill these days. In order to reach their goals and succeed, students should be supported and encouraged. Students’ sense of ability must be strengthened after Corona, when many experienced despair and depression from studying alone without peer support.

Interactions with other students, teachers and the whole community are critical in terms of the student’s motivation, as well as the regulation of one’s own activities and abilities.


In conclusion, universities are an extremely valuable development environment for students to develop and unlock their potential and experience a sense of belonging. The temporary closure of universities due to COVID-19 therefore poses an unprecedented challenge to students’ quality of life and success. It is possible to observe a connection between the well-being of students and the teacher’s influence from the perspective of positive psychology. Students’ sense of competence can be supported by positive means, and not only by means of pressure or reminders. Through courage and positivity, positive psychology shows that it has an impact on the whole student’s well-being, not just the end result. After covid overall well-being is highly valued. Nevertheless, after the goal is set,  for student it is important to find the right motivational factors and get support along the journey, that way they can accomplish and go beyond the goals.




Positiivinen psykologia, historia ja sovellukset. Thpanorama. https://fi.thpanorama.com/articles/felicidad/psicologa-positiva-concepto-historia-y-aplicaciones.html

Joylla — Mitä on positiivinen psykologia? (2022, October 27). Joylla. https://www.joylla.com/positiivinen-psykologia