Goal Orientation

The Goal: Goal setting is one of the most powerful but underutilized tools at our disposal. Did you know that people with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than people without goals? The problem is that only 3% of adults actually write their goals on paper. This lesson is all about teaching you to spend more time thinking and writing down your goals so that you can set goals throughout your life – and achieve them.


Step 1: Begin by developing 2-3 big-picture goals for yourself as an individual, which you can work toward throughout one full semester or another extended period of time. These goals may involve personal development (e.g. “I want to be more confident” or “I want to speak up for myself”), career development (e.g. “I want to become a lawyer” or “I want to start a company”), or skill development (e.g. “I want to become a stronger reader” or “I want to improve my presentation skills”). The goals may relate to school, or they may not. Either way, establish something that you want to achieve. After brainstorm 2-3 big picture goals, write down 1-2 sentences outlining each goal.

Step 2: Come up with 3-5 specific goals for the next 2-4 weeks and write them down. These short-term goals should promote, in some tangible way, your big-picture goals. Write down goals that are actually achievable within the given timeframe. It is better to achieve small wins over time than shoot for a big win and get discouraged.

Step 3: Every week, go back over your short-term goals from the board and check off the goals that were actually accomplished.

Goal Setting Models

SMART goals and HARD goals are guidelines to writing effective, accomplishable goals. To follow one of the goal-setting models, write down each category (ie Specific, Measurable, etc.) and then write down the part of your goal that fulfills it.


SMART goals are goals that fulfill the following guidelines:

  • Specific: Clear, focused idea of what you want to change.
  • Measurable: Defined, quantifiable way to track the change or growth.
  • Actionable: Straightforward, simple things you can do to progress this goal starting today.
  • Realistic: Levelheaded, honest assessment of the goal’s feasibility.
  • Timely: Precise, easy to follow calendar for when you should hit certain milestones.

HARD Goals

HARD goals are goals that are Heartfelt, Animated, Required, and Difficult. When you are creating a goal, it’s best to work in the order A, H, D, R.

  • A is for Animated – as in animating goals in your mind by envisioning them happening. When you’ve got a good idea of what you want, write it down. This will make your vision more real and increase your odds of achieving it.
  • H stands for Heartfelt – Make sure you can answer the questions, Why does your goal matter? and, Why do you care about it? When you are clear about the value of your goal, it’s easier to stay committed.
  • D is for Difficult – Make goals that push your limits. What skills do you need work on to make your impossibles, possible? Great achievements don’t come easily- but that’s what makes them so rewarding.
  • R stands for Required. You’ve got to be convinced that your goals are necessary and not just a wish, if you want to make them happen. Do something every day that is on track with your vision. What can you focus on this week? What do you need to achieve in the next month? In the next year?
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