Goal setting is something we must do even beyond the woes of school life – it’s something that we must do in everyday life.
Personally, the term “goal setting” used to scare the crap out of me – I used to think it would mean penciling down on a timetable all the stuff I’d have to do (rather than the stuff I’d want to do) and trying to achieve these things which I REALLY didn’t care about. And I constantly felt like some higher being (i.e. school authority) was force-feeding me all this crap about “this is what you SHOULD be wanting to achieve and we will MAKE you achieve it! Even if you don’t want to! RAAARRGGHH!!!” BUT. When I hit senior school and actually started doing subjects I had passion and care for, I realised two things. First, I realised that I already had been practicing goal-setting pretty much my whole life – It just wasn’t school-related. I’d been finding ways of getting what I wanted ever since I could remember – and that was the second thing I realised: that goals are actually just wants. And when I hit senior school I suddenly had this WANT, this desire, to achieve a certain standard in my studies that wasn’t there before. And that’s the thing – goals aren’t these great big unrealistic aims that society (or even school) sets out for you: they’re the things YOU WANT. “Goal-setting” is simply a term to describe the strategies behind getting what you want. Remember: anything you want to achieve is achievable. You just need to know what you have to put in to get out what you want. And this is how you do that:
Identify what it is you want. Is it a particular grade? To gain the admiration of your teachers (this was one of mine)? Once you know this, you have a massive motivational factor to drive you.
Identify what you need to do to get this thing that you want.
Once you know what you need to do, break these things down into manageable tasks, which you can work at and complete over time. For example, when I decided I wanted a High Distinction on an assignment at uni, I identified that I would have to put in supplementary research and lots of editing (not to mention, a wee bit of extra time). Clearly I couldn’t do all this the night before the due date, so I started the assignment two weeks before it was due, broke down the research into little sessions over three days, then wrote one paragraph a day until the assignment was finished. I still had about 1 week before the due date and all I had to do was edit – which didn’t take very long at all! See? Manageable, achievable, not draining, AND I got what I wanted.
Start work on achieving your goals THE SECOND you’ve identified them and broken down the “how to’s.” Don’t waste time! Go for gold! It’s not at the end of a rainbow which’ll disappear by the time you get there – it’s within grasp and all you have to do is reach out and grab it!
Goal setting is something I’ve really come to use beyond high school – because there’s so much I want out of life. For whatever goal you achieve, there’s another want ready to take its place, so this is a really useful life-skill. It’s just plain helpful for sorting through the woes of everyday life and getting what you want out of it.
So get on it boys and girls and make it work for ya!