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Setting my goals

What do you think?

Before you get started, think about how you would answer the following questions.

  1. What are goals and why are they important?
  2. What was one goal (large or small) that you accomplished?
  3. How did you feel when you accomplished your goal?
  4. What is one goal you may have for your college experience?
  5. What is one goal you are trying to accomplish right now?

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Victory is sweet

Think about the final minutes in a close hockey or football game. How exciting is it when a player scores the final goal? Meeting a goal represents victory and hard work and brings personal satisfaction.

Goals can be anything you want to accomplish — personal, academic, social, you name it. Goals are important because they help you get what you want, improve your performance, keep you focused, stay on track and can even get you motivated. Many people who are successful in school and at work set goals to get what they want.

Types of goals

There are two types of goals out there — long-term goals and short-term goals.

You got it, long-term goals are your big wants and may take longer to accomplish. You need to break those long-term goals into smaller, more manageable goals so you can stay on track and not get overwhelmed. These smaller goals are called short-term goals and they take you a shorter time to accomplish. Short-term goals help you reach your long-term goals.

Imagine if you were to climb a steep, rugged mountain — pretty overwhelming. But break it down into steps such as determine a target date, establish a training schedule and purchase hiking boots and apparel. With each step completed, you get closer to that mountain peak.

Or imagine if you were writing a 10-page paper — that’s really overwhelming and it may cause you to procrastinate until the night before. But there are many small steps you can take that will lead you to completing that paper. You can start by doing some research, then brainstorming some ideas, talking to your teacher for some help, creating an outline, writing a draft or two, proofreading it and then submitting it. See how many small parts lead to the final paper?

Let’s look at an example of long- and short-term goals:

Long-term goal Short-term goal
Get driver’s license.
  • Research what is required to get a driver’s license.
  • Get a learner’s permit.
  • Take driver education class.
  • Practice driving two times a week.
  • Get driving insurance.
  • Pass the driving test.

Steps to setting goals

If you are having difficulty coming up with your goals or a plan, talk with your teacher, guidance counselor or parents.

Here’s one way of getting what you want. Follow the steps below:

  1. What is your goal? I want to …
  2. When do you want to accomplish this goal?
    • Make a tentative deadline for completing your goal. Remember to be flexible as sometimes unexpected things come up.
  3. What is your plan for reaching your goal?
    • Break it on down. Take that large goal and break it into smaller short-term goals.
  4. What needs to be done first?
    • Organize your goals by prioritizing your plan/short-term goals. Which ones are most important? What do you need to accomplish first?
  5. What are the resources, assistance or people you will need to help you reach your goal?
  6. What are the things that may interfere with reaching your goal?
  7. Is your plan working for you? 
    • Evaluate your plan to see if you need to adjust it to make it work for you.
  8. How can you adjust your goal or plan to make it work?
    • If your plan isn’t working, adjust it. You may even have to look at your original goal to see if it needs to be adjusted as well. If you are having difficulty making adjustments, take a look at those resources you listed in No. 5 to get some help.
  9. Once you’ve reached your goal, take time to celebrate and start working toward a new goal!