Back to School Basics in 2019 – Setting Goals to Survive Private Career College in Canada
“Goals can be highly motivational, but only when they are S.M.A.R.T”
You did it! You made it a goal to go back to College for a second career…now stick with it and watch the endless opportunities unfold! The New Year is a perfect time to reflect back upon some missed opportunities, decisions and failures over the past – more importantly, it gives us that chance to regain a “fresh start”. Our brains are constantly working, and when you finally get to have some alone time to wind down, you’ll soon again be aware of random thoughts streaming through your mind triggering fragments of memories (both good and bad), snatches of songs you’ve recently heard, reminders of the jobs you haven’t done, the anxiousness about your future, etc.
A “fresh start” is a common goal people expect to control at the beginning of a New Year, but for most they still face difficulties on where or how to begin. To help clear things up with a less stressful start, an easy solution is to think back to the basics of what you want to change and achieve for yourself – better know as goal setting! Goals bring meaning to life, and without them, much of our lives would be aimless. There is great power in setting and determining your own goals. Once you become the source of your own career and destiny, you grow without interference of another’s experience or expectations. As a result, you become more self-confident!
The most important and underlying questions when evaluating ourselves is (1) How good are your goal setting? and (2) Are you meeting your goals or missing out? When you want to achieve something in your life, setting goals can be highly motivational, but only when they are S.M.A.R.T. Let’s be realistic – you are unlikely to achieve success if you goals are vague, too ambitious, or not what you really want. So where do you begin when you want to write goals?
Create a Research Sheet: Goal – Plan – Action
1. Brainstorm – Write down any possible goals and words that come to mind. After you have finished group similar ideas together and write a one-sentence summary about its main idea.
2. Plan – Focus on the goal that you have chosen and write down a plan or series of steps you need to take in order to reach this goal.
3. List your strengths – Write down all of your academic strengths along with personal qualities.
4. Assess your weaknesses – Write down all of your academic weaknesses and personal obstacles that you will need to overcome (this can include family, financial, health problems, etc).
These first four steps are the building blocks towards your potential goals. Can you reflect back to how long ago you first learned these basic skills? Now that you have completed your research ideas (kudos to you!), your next step is to write down your S.M.A.R.T. goals – ones that are more specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound. After all, you want to be as realistic as possible in order to make your dreams come true! Here is a break down of what these goals should consists of:
Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant) – When brainstorming your goal, try and answer the five “W” questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
Measurable (meaningful, motivating) – Assessing your own progress helps you stay focused, meet your deadlines and feel the excitement of getting closer towards your goals. If it’s a long term project, then set some milestones and consider specific tasks to accomplish. Think about:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Achievable (agreed, attainable) – Your goal needs to be realistic to be successful. It should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged. You cannot grow if you are not out of your comfort zone. Ask yourself:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints?
Results-focused (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results!) – Your goals should measure outcomes, not activities! These results should answer “yes” to these questions:
- Does it seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match my other efforts/needs?
- Am I the right person to reach this goal?
Time-bound (time/cost limited, time sensitive) – Providing a target date for deliverables is imperative as deadlines give you a focus on something to work towards.
- When will this goal be completed?
- What can I do today?
- What can I do 3 weeks from now?
- What can I do 3 months from now?
To summarize, in order to achieve a set goal, it is useful to break down the actions listed above (as needed) to complete it. Create a Research Sheet and use it to write your goals, plans and actions. After completing your Research Sheet write down the short-term actions that you need to do to achieve your set goals. Specify the date, month or time in general as to when you will have these actions completed by. List any resources that will help you achieve your goals. Lastly, talk about your goals with friends who can help you achieve your goals.
It is good practice to make copies of your worksheets and to continuously update these documents in order to move on towards your next goal. In the end, make sure you reward yourself for a job well done! A “fresh start” doesn’t have to be complicated, it simply just means getting back to the basics we learned when we were in our early teens and using these skills to our advantage. As a result, this can benefit you with your goals and future plans since it triggers constant reminders on continuing to achieve the goals you set for yourself . Best of luck to all students who are starting a new chapter in their lives this year, and to those who are continuing their current program here at Canadian College. If all else fails, just remember to keep on thing in mind – be S.M.A.R.T. =)
Are you interested in attending college for a second career?
Visit Canadian College for more information or to speak with an advisor today 519-977-1222!