Hi! What’s on your mind?
I have been thinking about my friend Matthew: we had a long talk yesterday about his dreams. He dreams of being a barrister some day when he grows up.
I told Matthew that becoming a barrister is a goal he’ll have to work hard to accomplish. Like Dan Foster who studied well before he became a presenter.
Did you remind him that a goal is something a person works to achieve and that it can take a long time and a lot of work? People who achieve their goals generally are those who take some time to clearly define what they want and pursue it realistically.
Well said! There are two types of goals: long term goals and short term goals.
Short term goals are goals an individual sets to accomplish within a short period of time, like in days, in weeks, or a month. For example the best overall student in the Senior School Certificate Examination read extensively in order to get good grades.
Long term goals are goals someone sets to accomplish over a long period of time, like six months, several years, decades, or even a lifetime. For example Kanu Nwankwo had always dreamt of becoming a footballer and he worked very hard towards it and now he is a renowned international footballer.
Long term: • Finding someone to marry or make a commitment to • Choosing a career and being successful • Finishing university
Short Term: • Doing well in a test or being promoted to another class • Winning a football match • Saving money for a new radio
Matthew’s goal falls into the long term category because becoming a barrister will take some years and there will be a lot of smaller goals to accomplish on the way to attaining his long term goal.
Becoming a barrister will take some years
Matthew needs to do well in school, so that he can pass his secondary school exams and qualify for law at university.
Then, he’ll have to attend law school and learn all about the Nigerian legal system. On the way, there will be all sorts of tests and other obstacles that he’ll have to overcome.
The beauty is that you can determine your own success by setting “SMART” goals.
• Specific – know exactly what you want to achieve. • Measurable – a goal should have an end, so you can see when you’re finished. • Achievable – some goals are out of reach, no matter how hard you try. • Realistic – Ask yourself if what you want is really possible. • Time bound – give yourself a timeframe to finish
Even if one’s goals are ‘SMART,’ there are still some things that can hinder you.
- Low self-esteem - Lack of resources - Peer pressure - Procrastination - Lack of information - Changes in one’s life circumstances - Lack of ambition - Fear of failure
Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of things between us and our goals.
I told Matthew about some steps he can use as guidelines in achieving his goals:
• Identify your goals • Develop a plan of action • Set time limits • Take one step at a time • Evaluate your progress • Continue with your plan • Get a buddy to coach you in your progress
Can you help me? I want to save up enough money to buy my older sister a present for her birthday in three months.
Sure, no problem. First, let’s identify the goal “buy a present”. We also need to talk about alternatives. What do you want to get her?
Well, I was thinking I could get her some make-up, or a nice pair of shoes, or maybe a textbook to help her study for her exams, or even a radio!
Well, you can’t really afford a new textbook, so that’s not achievable. And you definitely can’t afford a radio, so that’s not realistic. So that leaves either make-up or a new pair of shoes.
Well, I know her old shoes are getting worn out, so I guess I’ve made my decision. I’ll buy her some shoes.
Now let’s develop a plan of action. How are you going to save the money?
I can save some of my pocket money each month by buying fewer soft drinks and biscuits.
That’s a good plan of action, Tunde. Now you need to set a time limit. You have an easy one, though, which is her birthday itself. You probably want to buy the shoes the week before, just to be on the safe side.
Great! Let’s go to the market and pick out the shoes now!
Slow down! You need to take it one step at a time: first save up the money, then buy the shoes.
You’re right; I’m getting ahead of myself. I should also make sure to keep the money I’m saving somewhere safe, and keep track of how much I’ve saved. That’s part of evaluating my progress.
Sounds like you’re set, Tunde. You know, it feels good when you achieve your goals.
I know! Achieving your goals increases your self-esteem and confidence and makes you feel fulfilled. I can’t wait to see my sister’s face when I give her such a lovely present.
I’m glad we talked about goals today. Thanks for listening to us!
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