New Year, SMART-er You | Part Three

monarch butterfly in newly formed chrysalis

We have covered how to set specific goals and how to measure the success of our goals. Let’s continue using our example goal and see how we can make it Attainable – the next letter in our S.M.A.R.T. acronym.

To refresh your memory, our example goal is:

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can help families through difficult situations with grace. I will enlist the help of student services and get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate with honors.”

Attainability is about more than the goal being possible, it’s also about vetting the goal with your values.

Some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What could stand in my way of reaching my goal?
  • How strongly do I believe in this goal?

What could stand in my way of reaching my goal?

Be it outside forces beyond your control or your own self that gets in the way, when you plan for those contingencies, if and when they happen you will be prepared to overcome them. The example of getting a degree online might have the following challenges to deal with:

  • Don’t know how to pay for schooling
  • Work demands may make you too tired to focus on class
  • Getting behind on your homework could make you feel defeated
  • Too many distractions at home – kids, spouse, pets, television, projects, etc.
  • Haven’t studied in a long time, not sure of how to study

All these roadblocks are common to anyone thinking about getting their education. For our example, let’s focus on the first one – not knowing how to pay for school.

Speaking to a college recruiter can help, as can a little research on the internet. Common ways to pay for higher education may include student loans, grants, scholarships, savings, and continuing to work while attending class.

Take the time to figure out what roadblocks you may encounter. Talk about your roadblocks with a trusted friend or family member, brainstorm solutions together, make a plan.

How strongly do I believe in this goal?

This question helps you to look inside yourself. Is what you want a daydream that would be nice to accomplish? Or is it more? You already looked at “Why do I want to accomplish this goal?” it’s part of being specific. In the example our reason is to “help families through difficult situations with grace.”

But now it’s time to really start to vet your goal. The goal may be noble, it may be nice to dream about, but is it really in your heart? Without your goal being in your heart, chances are high that you will not complete it. Have you truly thought about a life focused around helping families and how that will impact your life, health, emotions, spirituality, relationships, etc. If you haven’t, now is the time to do so – before you commit.

You’ve determined the goal is absolutely something you want. You have committed yourself to the mission of helping families through difficulties one hundred percent. You also know that you need financial aid to realize your mission. Again, let’s modify the goal to reflect the new information:

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can complete my mission of helping families through difficult situations with grace. I will get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate. I need student loans, grants, and scholarships in addition to continuing to work while receiving my education.”

Next week we are going to get down to earth with our goal. Part four will examine how grounded in reality a goal is. Until then, you can discuss your roadblocks with our Student Advisor.

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