Goal Setting

"The most important issue with setting and meeting goals is that students understand how their personal success in the process depends on being clear about the goal and why it matters, and on acting with commitment to achieve it -- that commitment, persistence, and belief in themselves will drive the process to a successful outcome." – MarthaElin Mountain, Ed.D.

Keep the Bull Out of Your Goals

Conceivable – You need to understand, first of all, what a goal is. Then, you need to be able to determine what your first one or two steps towards reaching your goal will be. For example, maybe one of your goals is to get a B in math class this quarter. Your first step might be .... "I will pay attention and take notes in class." Your second step might be .... "I will keep up with homework assignments." Your third step might be..."I will prepare and study for tests."

Believable – You must believe that you can reach your goal. Many people do not attain their goals because they fall into the trap of listening to what other people say. They come to believe that the other people are right and their goals just can not be accomplished.

Achievable – If you've set for yourself the goal of winning a Grammy award for "Best album of the year" but you have limited musical ability, your goal is nothing more than a wish. You have to "work with what you've got." You have to find and develop your strengths. Your goals must be within your reach.

Measurable – Your goals need to be stated in such a way that they can be measured in time and quantity. "I'll read more books" needs to be revised so it says something along the lines of "I'll read 15 pages of a book (quantity) each night before I go to bed (time)."

5 Steps to Setting Effective Goals

Step 1 – Choose a realistic goal – focus only on things you have control over – if one of your goals is to star in the NBA and you don't play hoops your chances are pretty dismal

Step 2 – Quantify your goal – it must be measurable and observable – serious goals leave no room for confusion – i.e. I will dead-lift 478 lbs. one time...

Step 3 – Define your goals in terms of small steps – make them manageable – what you will do to reach success

Step 4 – Set up a time line – you need a date and completion – "someday" is not a day of the week – be specific to a date

Step 5 – Create a system to monitor your progress – without accountability you are apt to con yourself – post your goals on your bathroom mirror, or hang them over your bed, share them with a trusted friend that will encourage your progress

Goal Setting Guidelines

Set the following goals:

Short Term Goals

  1. Set one academic goal for the school year.
  2. Set a goal related to either an extra–curricular activity, a job, or an internship.

Intermediate Term Goals

  1. Set one academic goal related to your post–secondary education, which may include goals for a community college or university, technical or vocational school, or the military.
  2. Set one social, personal, or job–related goal for the years following high school graduation.

Long Term Goals

  1. Set one career–related goal following your completion of post–secondary education (this may be immediately after or go as long as 5 – 10 years into your career).
  2. Set one social, personal, or financial goal for the 5 – 10 years after completion of post–secondary education.

Challenge yourself. Take this seriously. These goals will be posted on the home page of your portfolio, and essentially take care of step 5 above.