In the previous step, you thought about the broader personal and social impact of your goals and the consequences of their attainment. Now you will be asked to think, in detail, about how you will achieve your goals. Goals are related to lesser, smaller sub-goals and behaviors, as well as connected to higher-order, more important abstract goals. These sub-goals are easier to achieve, but are still fundamental to reaching our greater aspirations. Sub-goals can thus be thought of as strategies for greater goal achievement.
Thinking about what specific things need to be done in order to achieve your goals allows you to create practical strategies for realizing your dreams. Please take some time to write about the concrete daily or weekly things you might do to further your goals. Take as much time as you need, and really consider what particular behaviors each goal is built upon. Do you need to spend more time with your kids? Do you need to discuss household chores with your spouse? Should you spend more time planning at work? Specify when you are going to work on your goals. Specify how often.
Specify where. Think hard about how you are going to implement your plans. Make your plans concrete. Step FIVE: Write down those concrete weekly or daily things you might do to further your goals. Please take as much space as you need. Goal 1: In order to graduate from University I will have to do well in my courses. It is not enough to just go to classes and comply with all the requirements in each class. I have to maximize my potentials and the learning that I will acquire from each class. I would only be able to achieve this if I give my whole heart and mind to my classes.
This is easier to say than do, for example, I have to prepare and read materials in advance; I have to anticipate assignments and make sure I give all my best to each paper, essay or project. I also have to attain competitive scores in my exams and to reinforce my learning through practical applications both in my life and in how I deal with people. Specifically, this semester, I intend to set a certain amount of time everyday (at least two hours) that I’ll devote to studying. During the time, I cannot plan to do anything else. Instead, I will focus on my classes and study the lessons I take up each day.
I know it would take will power and commitment on my part to make this goal a reality. I have read somewhere that reading lecture notes each day would go a long way in retaining information and facilitating learning. In a way it helps me think about my lessons constantly, thus, if I have to work on something that requires information from my lessons, I can readily access it. I also plan to join a discussion group that talks about the specific classes I am taking. For example, if I have introduction to psychology, I will join a group that discusses everything about psychology.
I believe that listening to different perspective or opinions would further my learning. At the same time, it also serves as a way of reinforcing what I learn in class. Goal 2: I will start to learn a foreign language if I want to go abroad. It has always been my dream to travel to a foreign land and to experience a different culture and way of life. I am an adventurous person and if I intend to travel to different countries, I would want to do it in my way, which does not include package tours or travel agents.
Thus, the necessity to learn the language of the country I want to visit. How else would I be able to converse or find my way in a remote town or place in Greece if I don’t know how to speak Greek, or even Italian. There are a number of courses available for me so I could start learning a foreign language. However, it would take up much of my time and resources at the present time. I think it would be more effective for me to start small, like buy a book or download an individual learning package which I can readily access when I have the time.
Moreover, I resolve to devote four hours a week of learning a foreign language. Goal 3: I will speak and try to develop a closer relationship with my classmates because that can help make school work more enjoyable, therefore improving my grades. I must admit that I have not been very close with my classmates or that I have made the effort to befriend them. But now that I have realized that I need to build relationships with the people I see everyday, I resolve to make sure that I approach and initiate conversations so I would get to know them better and hopefully become closer to them.
By establishing friendships with my classmates, my classes would become enjoyable, and would be a shared experience as I know that the people I am with everyday are my friends. This would also mean that I would look forward to my classes and being with my friends and classmates and learning together. Goal 4: I will borrow a few books from the library about counseling and read them over regularly. My long term goal is to become a counselor and to be skilled in this field. I know that this career is not easy or that I can be assured of success at the instant I graduate.
Counselor work is inspiring and fulfilling, but it takes a certain kind of personality and life skills to become an effective counselor. I know in my heart that I can be a good counselor, that I have the personality and the determination to become a counselor. However, I also know that I still need to learn many things, to acquire skills and knowledge and be competent in this profession. I also know that my classes and major subjects only prepares me for the tasks that counselor have to face, and that I could prepare myself through learning everything I can about counseling through reading books.
I hope to read counseling books at least one book per month. Step 6: Identifying Potential Obstacles and their Solutions Thinking about achieving a goal is obviously easier than going out and getting it done. Many things related to the natural environment, the social group and the self might stand in your way. It is useful to anticipate these difficulties, so that you can plan to overcome them. Consider your goals, once again. Write down all the potential obstacles you can think up. Write down ways to overcome these obstacles.
How might you interfere with your own plans? How can you ensure this won’t happen? Sometimes change is threatening to people we know and love. Will the people you know help you, or stand in your way? How can you communicate with them, so that they will support you? Think of realistic and worst-case scenarios. What are your options? What are your alternative plans? Step SIX: Potential Obstacles to Goals, and Ways to Overcome Them: take as much space as you need. Goal 1: For graduating University, I could run into some obstacles.
Hindrances or obstacles towards attaining my goals will always be a challenge for me, since I would really want to be able to finish university in the best and fastest way I can. My resolution to spend time studying everyday might not leave me with time for myself and my friends. Spending too much time might alienate me from my friends. It would also sadden me and affect my focus and attention if my friends feel that I cannot be with them because I am trying too hard to be a good student.
I know that being a good student nowadays is the exception, not the norm and my friends might think I am not good company because I always study. I like being with my friends and I enjoy their company, but I know that I also have to prioritize my studies. Thus, I resolve to explain to my friends why at times I could not join them and to ask them to be more accommodating of my situation. I could also get too lazy and slack off too often. There is also the fear that I might not be able resist my friends’ influence and sacrifice my study time for bonding time.
I know I am only human and no matter how good my plan is, I would still have to decide and evaluate my actions as to its consequences. If I become too lazy and focus more on my friends, then I would be a failure and I don’t have anyone to blame but myself. In order to prevent these things, I will try to organize myself in such a way that my friendships won’t suffer and my work is enjoyable and stress-free enough that I won’t find myself slacking. At the same time, my family might also feel that I don’t give enough attention or my time with them because of my studies.
I know that I have to make them realize that what I am doing is for my own good and for my family’s future. If I graduate with great grades, it would open doors for me and I would be able to further my training and acquire more skills. I hope and pray that they would understand me and that they would support my goals. Goal 2: Counseling: I will try to reach people that are already working in the field of counseling. Maybe they can give me advice. The obstacle could be that I postpone such meetings or that I don’t give enough attention to what they are sharing with me.
IN joining discussion groups, I might find it boring and ineffective and completely turn my back to the group. On the other hand, I could also become so engrossed and enjoyed in the discussion groups that I would give more time and focus to the group than to my classes. I know that the key to everything is balance, and I could maximize my learning both in and out of the classroom by attaining balance. Thus, I would give myself a strict schedule as to the time spent in discussion groups, and if I chance upon a boring or a nonfunctioning group, then I have to find another group to join.
Goal 3: Providing for my family: I will try to finish my studies as quickly as possible, without rushing, of course. And I will try to save my money as much as I can upon graduating. I could run into unforeseen obstacles – like losing a job, especially during this recession. The best I can do is to do my job as well as possible and hope for the best, though. Aside from wanting to attain personal growth and achievement, I would also want to have a good job and profession in order to provide for my family.
Since I would have to be gainfully employed to be able to provide for my family, I have to make sure that after graduation, I have to look for work. In reality, there is not much available jobs for counselors, but we can always open our own practice. But that would mean applying for accreditation and licensing which is another obstacle that I have to face. But since I really want to be a counselor, there is nothing I could do but comply with the needed requirements. Moreover, one cannot be an effective counselor without continuous education and learning. I might become too committed to my studies that my work suffers.
If that is the case, then, I might not be able to provide for my family’s needs. In order to combat this obstacle, I would make it a point to compartmentalize, that is, to think about my studies when I am in school or when I am at home, and to think about my job when I am in my workplace. Goal 4: Given that I have the resources to travel abroad, the obstacles I might have in this area are not having the time for vacation, leaving work and getting sick during my travels or traveling and not being adequately prepared for it both emotionally and physically.
For example, if I travel abroad, I have to leave my work for a period of time and I have to be able to arrange that my clients would not need me at that time, also, I have to make sure that I don’t have any prior commitments. Consequently, I might be too caught up with my job and my responsibilities that I would not be able to travel. Since, I want to travel unconventionally, and then it would make sense that I would maybe take a month or more abroad, an obstacle I foresee is do I have the resources to be without an income for a month. Another worst-case scenario is when I would be suddenly taken-ill during my travel.
Without a guide or a traveling companion it would be very unfortunate if I get sick at that time. Thus, I have to make sure that I am well prepared both financially and physically before I schedule and plan for my travel. I should also acquaint myself with the culture, geography and customs of the places I am going to visit so I would know what to do when I am confronted with an emergency. Step 7: Monitoring Progress towards Desired Goals We need to know, concretely, whether or not we are progressing towards valued goals. Of course, this is not an easy process.
When we want to complete very specific tasks, feedback on our performance is relatively easy to monitor. However, if our goals are less short-term, this becomes a little more difficult. On the next few pages you will be asked to identify personal benchmarks that will allow you to evaluate your own performance. • What sorts of things will you accept as evidence that you are progressing towards your stated goal? • How often are you going to monitor your own behavior? • How will things in your life have to change, measurably, for you to feel satisfied in your progress?
• How can you ensure that you are neither pushing yourself too hard, and ensuring failure, or being too easy on yourself, and risking boredom and cynicism? Your benchmarks should be personal indicators of success. It doesn’t matter what others may think defines progress towards your goal. Write down those accomplishments would truly indicate positive movement on your part. Goal 1: My first goal is to do very well in all my courses this semester. That is a necessary condition for me to eventually go on and graduate.
The evidences that would indicate that I am achieving this goal is that I would get above average final grades in majority of my courses. I know that I am quite adept at some courses, and in some, I have difficulty with. Thus, I would expect to be able to get excellent grades in the courses I am confident with and to get more than average grades for the difficult courses. Since grades are given for each prelim, midterm and finals in each course, I would monitor my grades after each exam and to track my scores and grades in the different projects and coursework.
It would be alright for me to wait for my final grade in all my courses and as long as I give my best, I would be assured that I would have better grades. The most important thing is to enjoy what I am doing, I would know that I am pushing myself too hard if I can’t concentrate in my tasks, and I would know that I ma not doing enough if I make mediocre work. So I resolve to enjoy every assignment and project I have this term and I would make it fun and interesting for my own benefit. Goal 2: My second goal, in order to accomplish the first, is to study more often and organize my time better.
Evidences that I am accomplishing this goal are when I would have time to study and do my coursework before the deadline, when I don’t feel rushed and when I don’t have to cram for quizzes. Effective time management would imply that I have time to do everything. I plan to have a “to do” list on a daily basis and try to schedule my activities for the whole day, as I accomplish each task, I indicate it on the list and in that way I can monitor whether I have reached my target goals for the day or not. Since I would have time to do everything, then consequently I would have time for family, friends and school work.
Thus it would be a better improvement in my life than a sacrifice for me. I know the difference between too much and too little, so as I make my to do list, I will make sure that it is balanced in the sense that I have time to do the things I enjoy and that the list is flexible, what I may not finish today I can work on tomorrow and I don’t need to feel that I failed by not doing it today. Goal 3: My third goal is to meet with my TAs and professors more often in order to get a better grasp of the study material. This will help me accomplish the first two goals.
In this respect, I think that the best evidence I have for reaching this goal is when I don’t fear or feel uncomfortable interacting with my instructors and Ta’s. I mostly see them regularly, and I guess if I make it a point to initiate conversations or to ask help in some lessons then I would in the long run become more familiar with them. I am not that outgoing or bubbly as a person, so I think it would be a big change in my part to accomplish this goal because it would mean going out of my comfort zone and befriending them.
As I have noticed, people tend to be put off when someone is very brash or boisterous, so if I have that effect on people then I am trying too hard. If I am not trying hard enough, then I won’t experience any result and there would be no change in my behavior. Goal 4: In learning a foreign language, I would probably have to be able to understand the foreign language or to be able to speak phrases and words in the foreign language as evidences that I am really learning a new language.
If I don’t have much time to learn the language, then I would probably monitor my improvement in a year since I would not be traveling to another country in the near future. Even if I can’t go abroad, I would still have the benefit of learning a new language and that is already an achievement in itself. Being able to speak another language would probably widen my perspective and how I view myself. Goal 5: One benchmark will be the completion of my current year of University studies.
In this way I would know that I am achieving my goal once I graduate from the university and be awarded my degree. Since I still have a number of terms to complete before I graduate and a number of courses to complete, it would take me time to reach this goal. In a way, the number of terms I finish would be the means of monitoring my goals. If I graduate, then it would probably change my life forever for the better I hope. I really want to graduate, and no matter what obstacles I come across, I am willing to give my all to beat the odds.
Courtney from Study Moose
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