Academic Support

Effective Goal Setting

While Some factors are out of your control, (e.g. sickness, weather, the economy), our ability to set realistic goals, balance our wants with our needs and learn to prioritize can be significant contributors to our success.

Remember that perfection is not a reasonable goal for adults, as a child you could practice something all day long, but now you have other, multiple responsibilities.

Goals: What makes sense for you?

What are you...

  • capable of?
  • willing to do?

Don't set your sights too low or too high. Make sure goals are for you. Your needs, wishes, dreams - not to please or impress.

Know yourself

  1. do you work well under pressure, deadlines or are you more apt to achieve if you set up and regulate your own schedule?
  2. strict discipline, attention to detail vs. creativity, empathy, flexibility?
  3. do you like supportive guidelines vs. being left alone.
  4. what about physical space requirements?
  5. lifestyle considerations, school vs. extracurricular activities.

Goal Setting: Practical Guidelines

  1. Make a list, organize into time frames, immediate, weekly, monthly, annual, etc. then organize into personal, academic, financial, etc.
  2. How, what, who, where - the components
  3. Prioritize. It might be easiest to work backward from the longest-term. The reality is that some long term goals are just incompatible, also helpful to integrate short term with longer term.
  4. Differentiate needs from wants - food, shelter, clothing, safety, companionship, health vs. enhancements, e.g., owning a big house on the lake
  5. Create balance in your life, e.g., don't neglect personal time, beyond your basic survival, there are no goals that have to be achieved; your goals are as unique as you are. Balance hard work with recreation; necessities with luxuries.
  6. A goal is not a plan - long term goals are primarily thinking and dreaming but short term requires you to make a plan and then actually get to work.