High school is the perfect time for you to start setting some goals. But how can you make sure your goals are realistic, achievable, and will help you in life instead of just stressing you out? Here’s some advice.

Name them clearly

Step one is to sit down and clearly write down your goals. Don’t worry about organising or understanding these goals just yet- instead, write them down as they come to you. You can write them however you like, but a mind-map or brainstorm can work well and get you feeling creative. Have fun with this step, and don’t overthink it or feel obligated to add in goals that aren’t actually your own.

Short vs Long-Term

The next step is to identify which of your goals are short-term, and which are long-term. An easy way to do this is to sort out your goals in a two-column table.

Short-term goals are goals you want to and can achieve in the near future. This could be a week or a few months from now. The longest period of time a short-term goal should take is 1 year (12 months). Examples of a short-term goal would be auditioning for the school talent show, attending extra lessons for Maths or getting a term average of 75% or higher.

Long-term goals, on the other hand, are goals that will take you longer than 1 year to achieve. These goals can include saving up to go overseas, or getting your Master’s degree. Although these goals are further into the future, it’s still a good idea to make them as specific as you can.

Be honest

It’s important to be honest about your capacity and capability to achieve your goals. Your capabilities are the things you can and can’t do, while your capacity to do something is whether or not you can do something with regards to time, resources, funds etc. It’s good to be honest with yourself so you can set achievable goals.

Remember that not all of these limitations are set in stone. For example if you practice a skill or talent, you can develop it further. If you find a funding option, you can afford to attend university and so on. Being realistic doesn’t mean you accept the fact that something will never happen- it just means that you’re honest about your current situation, as well as what you need in order to achieve your goals.

Break it down

Once you’ve identified your long-term and short-term goals and have honestly evaluated each one, it’s time to break each goal down further. When doing this, you should list the steps you need to take to get there, or identify something small that can be done every day (for example, practicing an instrument) which will eventually help you achieve your larger goal.

Breaking your goals down in this way will make them more achievable, and help you get a clearer understanding of what you need to do along the way. This is also a good way to avoid feeling overwhelmed with larger goals.

Setting achievable and realistic goals in high school is possible, with a bit of honesty and planning. Remember that the goals you set for yourself today will help keep you motivated throughout your school career and beyond.

To develop your goal-setting skills and learn even more about discovering your path, take the first course in our Take a Girl Child To Work Day Online Programme - it’s completely free and will give you the tools and insights you need to succeed!

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