Articles, COVID-19,, Goals, Staying Healthy, Thinking Positive

The Science of Setting Attainable Goals

The Science of Setting Attainable Goals

The preparation and planning of setting specific, attainable goals are imperative to future success. Imagine that you start driving without a destination in mind. It’s likely that the trip won’t be meaningful, or at least productive because the goals were not laid out. However, if time is spent mapping out the route and the agenda beforehand, you are more likely to accomplish what you intended. 

Setting goals looks different for everyone, based on the timeline of the goal, which area of your life it involves, and the level of challenge. As a rising senior in high school, I consider anything I plan to accomplish before my 2021 graduation to be a short term goal. Obviously, my daily to-do list is on a smaller scale than my college acceptance letters, but both are in my short-term future. Contrarily, my long-term goals are concerning challenges I will meet after I graduate from high school. I try not to focus too much time setting long-term goals for friendships and relationships and let things happen naturally to ensure each person’s health and happiness. I set long-term goals for things I have more control over, like my education, career, and personal growth. However, it is also important to acknowledge that short-term goals will, in some way, influence the long term goals. For example, if I didn’t get excellent grades in high school, then I likely wouldn’t be able to attend my dream school or follow my intended career path.

Types of Goals

Both short-term and long-term goals should include guaranteed, challenging, and “just-right” goals. If easily attainable goals are all you set, you might become accustomed to not challenging yourself and succeeding anyway. On the other hand, if extremely challenging goals are all you’ve set, you might fail and become discouraged. It’s important to balance the difficulty of your goals so you feel challenged and successful, the “just-right” goal. Guaranteed goals refer to things you do not need to put much effort into, but will still definitely achieve. For example, let’s say you are excellent at math, and you are confident with the material from class. If you set a goal to make an A and you already know you will, this would be a guaranteed goal. An example of a challenging goal would be reaching to make an A on a test in your worst subject. The challenging goals are still attainable, however, but more work will be required.

Specific Goals

Regardless of the timeline and difficulty of set goals, the end result needs to be specific. The specificity of each goal that is set, allows for more preparation. For example, aspiring to be a teacher is a broad goal. What kind of teacher? Where will you go to school? Where will you work? Aspiring to be a chemistry teacher at Airport High School, after graduating from Clemson University is a specific goal. The increased detail in the goal provides a guide to achieving it. Like if you want to attend a specific university, you will have specific statistics and criteria to gain. Broad goals, like simply wanting to attend college, do not provide as much assistance as specific goals.

Keeping myself motivated with a schedule of short-term and long-term goals is essential in any success I have. Setting attainable goals allows me to focus on one task and not get overwhelmed with anything else I am involved with. Focused, achievable goals, and planning in general, is helpful.

Aubrey Best

Hello! My name is Aubrey Best and I am an 18 year old from South Carolina. I am fortunate to have a method of sharing lessons and experiences through Girlspring, while connecting with others. I am happy to have any role, no matter how small, in empowering others to learn and love!

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