Friday, 20 February 2015

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culled from:

The saying goes that goals not written down are just wishes – and are likely to stay that way. Recent studies have backed up this theory with students who wrote down their goals more likely to achieve success.
Read on if you're ready to write it down and break it into manageable pieces. Most of us have an idea of what we would like to experience and achieve, and seeing things through gives us great satisfaction. But to turn a dream into a reality you have to pin it down as a measurable goal. 
It might be hard to break down big dreams into specific goals at first, but once you’ve worked out the steps things will seem a lot more achievable.
‘Since I was about 12 I’ve dreamed about being a photographer and travelling the world taking photos. But it just seemed too difficult. I didn’t know where to start. One day I sat down and wrote out a two-year plan to achieve my dream. I’m halfway through those two years – and at TAFE studying photography. It feels great to be making progress.’
Taylor, 26, studying photography
You don’t usually achieve your dreams in one giant leap – it's done in small steps over time. And without a plan to help you it's easy to lose your way. You‘ll feel in control if you can check in week by week, month by month, and feel the reassurance of collecting small wins along the way.
How to write a goal 
You may have heard of SMART goals. These are strong goals and can be created from any dream you have at all, be it about fitness, relationships, finances, work or study.
S = specificM = measurableA = achievableR = realisticT = time bound
Here’s an example of a SMART goal:
By December this year I will have completed a course at TAFE in hospitality and have applied for at least five jobs to work on a cruise ship.
And here’s one that’s not so SMART:

Get a job on a cruise ship.
SMART goals are more likely to be achieved because in writing them down , you have already thought about what you have to do to reach them, how you can make progress and when you’re likely to get there.

Practise writing SMART goals

  1. Start noting down all the things you want to achieve, without worrying about being SMART for the moment.
  2. Go back to each idea and rewrite your notes while asking yourself these questions: 
    • What exactly do I want to achieve? Am I being clear and specific?
    • Do I need to break my dream into smaller steps or goals to make them more achievable?
    • By what date do I want to achieve my goal? Is that realistic?
    • What do I need to do in that time?
    • How am I going to achieve that? What do I need to do first, second, third and so on?
  3. From your notes, start to draft sentences that are SMART and let each of them take you step by step towards your overall dream goal. You might need to write three or four smaller goals in order to achieve that bigger goal.
  4. Each goal will need to have a set of actions to go with it on a month-by-month and week-by-week basis, so that can make sure you’re on track.

Goals should excite, not overwhelm

If you feel overwhelmed when looking at your goal, that probably means you need to break it down into smaller goals. For example, the goal – In two years’ time I will be working in New York at Vogue magazine – might feel unlikely, and all too hard.
But don’t throw it away. Some smaller goal steps might be:
  • Complete my course in journalism with marks in the top 10 per cent by the end of this year.
  • By the end of summer gain some fashion journalism experience by completing an internship at a magazine.
  • Keep up a blog, updated fortnightly with either new posts or other articles I've published.
  • Save at least $200 per month over the next year for travel to New York.
  • Write at least one letter every week to magazines in New York looking for internship opportunities.
If you are able to keep to each of the goals, by the time the year is over you would have excellent grades, some work experience, a portfolio, some money for travel and people to make contact with once you get to New York.

Writing an action plan

Your action plans, as well as your goals, should be SMART. Here’s your overall goal:

By December this year I will have completed a course at TAFE in hospitality and have applied for at least five jobs to work on a cruise ship. 

By the end of January I will have enrolled in a hospitality course at TAFE.
  • Action 1: Research which TAFEs have courses in hospitality by 6 August
  • Action 2: Call each TAFE for more information by 11 August
  • Action 3: Find out the costs of the course and what help I can get with fees by 13 August
  • Action 4: Decide which course I will enrol in by 24 August
  • Action 5: Enrol in the course of my choice by 28 August
  • Action 6: Apply for financial help by 2 September

Sticking to your plan

Write down your goals and actions in a notebook, on your phone or computer and set reminders on your calendar to follow up on each of the actions.
It’s also a good idea to make an appointment with yourself each week to review your progress. This could be on the train or bus to work or school on Monday, when you get home on a Friday afternoon or when the house is quiet on a Sunday morning. Make it regular and stick to the schedule.
It also helps if you can talk to family and friends about your goals and actions and ask them to follow up with you to see if you have made progress.
If you have not made as much progress as you planned to, don’t beat yourself up – just reschedule the things you missed for the next week. Working step by step is the key. It may take time and perseverance, you may need to sacrifice some social, TV or internet time, but you will feel great when you see the progress you are making. 
Remember, if something does not change, nothing will change.

Setting goals for further study

If you have decided you would like to explore further education, you will need to set goals to make it happen. Here are some of the things you need to set goals and make action plans for:
  • Researching your study interests and options
  • Exploring what different careers are like and what appeals to you
  • Finding out what kind of occupations are flourishing and will need skilled people in the future
  • Finding out what jobs different courses of study might lead to
  • Comparing what institutions offer and what might suit you
  • Deciding on the course and institution
  • Finding out about how to get in to the course you want
  • Finding out about costs and sorting out your finances
  • Getting your paperwork in order
  • Sending paperwork in on time
  • Organising your life so you can fit in study
Seem like a lot of things to do?
This website will take you through all of them, from the very first question ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ through to making some decisions on your course, or even getting your applications in. Start at the section that reflects where you’re currently at and each page will prompt you to keep moving.
There are also lots of other websites we recommend along the way. This might be for inspiration, to look at careers, to find courses or to make contact with institutions directly. We've listed the best resources under 'inspiration and motivation' and 'careers' in the list below, so work out where you're sitting and have a browse.


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