In this article, we will cover:
- Why goal setting is important
- How to set long term goals
- How to use medium and short term goals to support long term goals
Why set goals?
Broadly speaking, as humans, we are goal oriented. Whether that goal is to hunt and gather enough food to survive the day or to become a CEO. Once we have set a goal, typically we focus our efforts and work toward achieving that goal.
However, with a clear goal, it is easy for us to get lost. It has been described to me before that:
“Trying to be successful without a clear goal is like expecting a pizza to be delivered without ordering one.”Anon
So if we bring this back to world of GCSEs and A-Levels, then expecting to do well in education without knowing the goal or reason why, is pointless. Once we know why we need to do well in exams, putting the work in becomes a lot easier.
How should I set long term goals?
This can sound easy, but in truth, crafting a powerful, compelling and effective long term goal is tough. Some people will naturally come up with gold: “I want to become a surgeon by the time I am 30 by getting good a-levels, going to a top university for medicine and then grafting on the job to pass the necessary exams.” some young people will have no clue what they want to achieve – and this is absolutely ok!
If you know the career you want, then setting a long term goal is easy. Find a specific job role in that career that you’d like and then set a realistic time scale in which to achieve it.
If you don’t know the career or job you want, then start thinking about what you want to achieve. This could be something honorable like “helping young people fulfil their potential” or “support people with mental health issues” or it could be “have a big house” or “raise a family”. All of these goals are completely valid! I think young people get too hung up sometimes on the worthiness or loftiness of their goals.
The key is that a long term goal needs to achievable and desirable to you. If you can put a timescale on it, great!
Using medium and short term goals
Once you know your long term goal, it is wise to set some medium term goals. These are typically goals you want or need to achieve in the next 2-5 years that will support you on the way to meeting your long term goal.
Some example could include: “get into a Russel Group university”, “secure a graduate job at an investment bank”, “start saving £200 a month”, “enrol on a course to gain a qualification in midwifery”.
Whatever the medium term goals are, they should all be with the aim to move you a step close to meeting your long term goal.
Short term goals are those that are focused more on the immediate future. These should be achievable in the next 2 to 18 months.
Some examples could include: “set up a study schedule to help prepare for me exams”, “attend after school revision sessions for Biology”, “sit practice papers for Maths to make sure I secure at least a grade 4”, “apply for Sixth Form college”.
Short term goals should be easily achievable and will give a feeling of accomplishment when they are completed. If you want to turbo charge the effectiveness of your new found goals, then writing them down and putting them in a prominent place in your home can really increase the accountability and give the opportunity for everyone to celebrate your achievements when you meet your goals!
In summary, set goals, achieve them, repeat. Success will come.
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