Goal Setting Starts One Step at a Time

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I remember one of the first goals I set. I couldn’t wait to reach seventh grade so I could play on the school’s softball team. That was the time before equity in sports, and there were very few competitive girls’ teams.

I practiced a lot, learning all I could about softball so when seventh grade finally came, I would make the team.

My practice paid off; I made the team and made the district’s all-star team the following year. What would have happened had I not set the goal? Chances are I might still have played softball, but I don’t think I would have practiced as much or worked as hard as I did.

Now, think in terms of your education goals. One technique is to use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

S is for specific. Be specific when setting your goals.

M is for measurable. Measuring progress helps you to stay on track.

A is for attainable. Identify goals and then work toward attaining them. Once-far-away goals will draw closer once you’ve made steps to reach them.

R is for realistic. Don’t set goals that are obviously impossible to reach in one lifetime.

T is for timely. Stating your goals with a specific timeline keeps you focused as you move toward your desired results.

As you are writing down your goals, check them against the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. You may have to restate or eevaluate the goal.

Once you have put your goals on paper or computer file, then set about achieving your results. Beware, though, of any dream stealers. These are people who come disguised as those who truly love you and want only what is best for you. These people, however, are afraid to see you try and possibly fail. Dream stealers also are those people who say negative things about your goals and plans.

Other dream stealers come in the way of distractions and poor time management. Staying tuned to your goals will help move you forward.

As you start your goals list, take time to think about what you want. It may take some time, but keep hammering away at the goals until you look at it and say, “Yes, that’s what I want!”

Happy goal setting!

-Sheila

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