You can write the most specific and realistic and timely goal you can think of—but it will be useless (a fantasy) without ACTION. You have to put the “do” behind the “want to do.”
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When I moved to Florida as an eighteen year-old college student I dreamed of one day living at the beach. It took me about 26 years to realize that dream. As a first-year college student I can tell you with certainty that I had no plan of how I would come to live at the beach. I did not have any specific steps mapped out. I didn’t even have a specific date. For me it was pretty nebulous: “Someday I will live at the beach.” But over the years, the dream became more focused in my mind; I developed a plan; I took action; and now I am living the dream I dreamed as that young college student.
So why do I tell you this? Because even though all of us have dreams, haven’t you noticed that some of us reach those dreams and some of us never do? For me, it all comes down to four simple steps. Think of the acronym S.O.A.R.
- Specific. You need to be specific about your direction. “I want to lose weight” is a noble start—but what does it mean? It lacks specificity. How much weight will you lose? How will you do it? By when will you lose the excess baggage? Perhaps you have heard someone say “I want better grades” or “I will study harder.” Again, nice start—but what does it mean. Be focused and flexible (you never know when detours, obstacles or bumps in the road will appear) but be specific about your direction.
- Organize. Identify the resources you will need. Will you need time, money, education, mentorship, or practice? Find them.
- Action. You can write the most specific and realistic and timely goal you can think of—but it will be useless (a fantasy) without ACTION. You have to put the “do” behind the “want to do.” The last verse of my song Dreams goes like this:
So will you dare to dream
Or chose to cry?
Live for your life
Or just sit by?
You gotta take action
And do what you love
It may be no further
Than a couple of your dreams
There is no substitute for taking action now—and doing it often. If need be, find a mentor, find a coach, find someone who will push you forward. Just keep moving forward.
- Reason. Know why you are doing what you are doing. Why is the goal important? If you ever think of giving up, remember the reason you established your goal. Is it strong enough to keep you moving forward? Why do you want to lose weight? “I want to be healthy.” Again, a great start—but vague. “I want to drop two inches from my waist…I want to get into the old pair of jeans…I want to be able to run three miles again.” Your answer to “Why?” reflects your motivation. What is driving you to the goal? Again, be specific.
Best wishes as you turn your dreams into reality!
For more on motivation and goal setting, see my book Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? 3rd edition (Pearson Education). Please visit my website (www.stevepiscitelli.com), contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Pearson Education, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!
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