By: Matthew Chou
Oftentimes, individuals come up with a list of goals and aspirations, such as being more productive, gaining confidence, or simply getting enough sleep. This is a good first step, but when it comes to actually executing these plans, situations become more complicated. The reason why completing a goal can be so difficult is because it requires discipline, sacrifice, and being placed in uncomfortable circumstances. In order to determine how to achieve these goals, the elements of a goal must be outlined and defined.
The dictionary definition of a goal is, “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” A key aspect of this definition is the “desired result”, because it underlines the main purpose of creating a goal. Ensuring that a clear desired result is formed is important because it provides a source of motivation and something to look forward to. The goal should be specific, rather than broad, to not only avoid getting overwhelmed with so many tasks, but also to have a distinct objective to focus on. Some examples of specific goals include finishing homework before 9:00 pm each day, participating in class discussions at least once a day, and getting at least eight hours of sleep each day. Consider which goals can realistically be accomplished in a timely manner and only focus on a few at a time to make it more manageable. After sketching out specific goals, it is time to develop a plan to carry out these goals.
When forming a plan, it is wise to create a day to day routine that you can follow to help work towards your goal. Consider what is holding you back from reaching your goal and decide what steps can be taken to overcome those obstacles. Start small and work your way up, by adding a new component to your routine each week, or when your routine becomes a habit. A good rule of thumb when trying to be more confident in group discussions for example, is to count to three in your head and then raise your hand immediately after saying “three”, to force yourself into the fearful situation and create a chance to express your thoughts. If the goal was to be more productive, one option may be to put restrictions on your phone and give the password to a friend to prevent you from turning it off. Of course this requires vulnerability and discomfort, but will make a huge impact on reaching the final destination. By maintaining a consistent schedule, you can be one step closer to achieving your goals.
Reaching a goal is by no means an easy task, so it is beneficial to understand that the process of failing and getting back up again is important in getting to the finish line. It can be discouraging to not accomplish all that we want, but the biggest key is to never give up and to keep pushing forward, even when all seems lost. Having others to keep you accountable is another helpful factor in making sure you stay on track and continue to work towards your goal. Overall, staying persistent and understanding what you’re trying to accomplish can take you a long way in reaching your goals.