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Setting Goals

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The Best Time for Setting Goals

It doesn't matter when you begin to set goals. Some students will start at the beginning of the school year, others set goals after the New Year, but it doesn't really matter when you start a new beginning. You may be prompted to set new goals for yourself for many reasons and at many times.

Setting Goals Like a P-R-O

There are three major considerations when you set your goals that make up your P-R-O attitude:
  • Be Positive
  • Be Realistic
  • Use Objectives

Positive: There are many books written about the power of positive thinking. Many people believe positive thinking is an essential factor when it comes to success, but it doesn't have anything to do with mystical powers or magic. Positive thoughts merely keep you on track and prevent you from holding yourself back in a negative funk.

When you set goals, concentrate on positive thoughts. Don't use words like "I won't fail algebra." That will only keep the notion of failure in your thoughts. Instead, use positive language:

  • I will pass algebra with a "B" average.
  • I will be accepted into three superior colleges.
  • I will increase my SAT total scores by 100 points.

Realistic: Don't set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that you can't realistically achieve. Failure can have a snowball effect. If you set a goal that's not attainable and miss the mark, you are likely to lose confidence in other areas.

For instance, if you fail a midterm in algebra and you resolve to improve your performance, don't set a goal of a final "A" grade overall if it isn't mathematically possible.

Objectives: Objectives are the tools you will use to reach your goals; they are sort of like the little sisters to your goals. Objectives are steps you take to ensure you stay on track.

For example:
  • Goal: Passing algebra with a "B" average
  • Objective 1: I will review the pre-algebra lessons I learned last year.
  • Objective 2: I will see a tutor every Wednesday night.
  • Objective 3: I will mark every future test in my planner.

Your objectives must be measurable and clear, so they should never be wishy-washy. When you set goals and objectives, be sure to include a time limit. Goals should not be vague and unbounded.

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