Saint Louis University

Setting Goals

Why set goals?

Personal goals help us balance our obligations with our personal desires. By setting and accomplishing goals, we hope to increase our personal satisfaction.

What kind of goal do you want to set?

Categories of personal goals include:

  • Academic/Educational
  • Career
  • Financial
  • Health and Fitness
  • Extra-/Co-curricular Involvement
  • Community Involvement
  • Self-understanding
  • Spiritual Growth

Steps to Creating Goals:

1. Create a "Goal Statement":

  • Write down your goal in a sentence, and make sure that the goal is stated as specifically as possible.
  • Ask, is my goal S.M.A.R.T?
    • S-Specific
    • M-Measurable
    • A-Attainable
    • R-Realistic
    • T-Tangible

2. Establishing an Affirmation:

  • Create a short saying to act as if your goal was already true. For example, if your goal is to have an A in Biology 304 by the end of the semester, then your affirmation may be, "I have an A in Biology 304."
  • Write this affirmation on a post-it and display it on your mirror or computer.
  • When no one is around, say this affirmation aloud so that you can stay motivated.

3. Developing an "Action Plan":

  • An "action plan" lists the steps (or even mini goals) that will specifically direct how you can go about achieving your larger goal.
  • Brainstorm multiple ideas (including actions you might never take).
  • Select at least one action to help reach your goal. If the action does not work out then use one of your other brainstormed ideas.

What does it take to accomplish your goals?

  • Commitment and Discipline
  • Motivation
  • Flexibility
  • Knowledge of your values
  • And most importantly, SUPPORT!

Make sure that you can identify your support network! Share your goals with friends, family, professors, advisors, a tutor, etc. Your support network will help you when accomplishing your goal may feel too difficult.

For help in thinking through your goal, visit the Time-Management workshop and fill out this goal and action plan worksheet.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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