There’s a surplus of goal-setting research, information, and resources out there, readily available to you. But, something we’ve noticed, is that so many times, these resources only talk about specific age groups, particularly adults.
Goal-setting matters at every age though – from high school students to young professionals, parents, those far along in their careers, and those getting ready to retire. We all need goals. We all need purpose. We all need something to strive after.
Why Should I Set Goals?
Goals organize your time and resources.
None of us have unlimited time or resources. While you may want to get into a great college, climb Everest, and start a new business all in the same year — it will be impossible to do big and great things without organization and allocation behind it. That’s why goal-setting, both big and small, is so crucial.
Goals make you more efficient.
When you have a plan, you are automatically more efficient than without it. If you’re wandering through with no direction, you will waste valuable time and resources you could have put into a plan to get you there much more efficiently.
Goals create clarity and direction.
Not only does a plan make you more efficient, but it gives you something to run towards. In other words, it gives you purpose and helps you align all of your small steps into a direction to get you to your ultimate, desired destination.
Goals are building blocks toward growth.
Strategic Coach describes “the building blocks of growth” as the four C’s — commitment
courage, capability, confidence. The commitment that you have towards goals builds your courage to be more capable and ultimately gives you the confidence to move forward and chase your dreams. Goals lead to greater growth in your personal, professional or academic life.
How to Effectively Approach Goal-Setting
Write down your goals.
Actually getting your thoughts on paper (or a document on your computer or phone) is extremely powerful in helping you actually follow through with goal-setting. In fact, one study showed that people were 33% more likely to follow through with their goals when they wrote them down.
Utilize SMART goal-setting.
Let’s break down what each of these means. For this explanation, we’ll use eating healthier as our example:
S – Specific: Clearly defined or identified. The goal should never be ambiguous or too broad. Have a clear and defined objective.
Ex: I’ll increase the number of fruits & vegetables I eat by one serving daily and continue that amount for 4 weeks.
M – Measurable: Able to be measured. Make sure the goal is one that you can track to see how you’re progressing along the way.
Ex: I will use a dry erase board to track my fruit & veggie intake.
A – Action-Oriented: Willing or likely to take practical action to deal with a task. There should be an actual activity or process that you begin to move towards your goal.
Ex: I’ll bring a piece of fruit and a snack container of veggies to school each day.
R – Relevant: Closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered. The goal and the actions around it should be closely connected to what your ultimate target is.
Ex: I want to be healthier and will start by eating more fruits & veggies.
T – Time-Oriented: Working on something for a set time; having a deadline. When you get started, give yourself an end time or deadline. At that point, you can measure, see what your progress is like and reevaluate from there.
Ex: I will start eating more fruits and vegetables next Monday, and will measure my progress after 2 weeks.
Have an accountability partner.
There is power in accountability and having someone who knows your goals and will help push you towards them. If you’re trying to eat healthier, let a friend know, so when you’re tempted to eat something you shouldn’t, they can be there to help hold you accountable to your goals.
Goal-Setting is Always Relevant
Whether you’re saving for a new car, preparing to get into the college of your dreams, working towards retirement, or starting a new job, goal-setting always matters and is beneficial at every age.
We love providing resources like these for all ages, but we especially love helping high school students prepare for their next stage in life. If you have questions about goal-setting and how to utilize it to get into the college of your dreams, shoot us a message anytime and we’ll be glad to help!