By Dan Shedd, Quantum Learning SuperCamp Facilitator
It’s time to take a journey. A mind journey. So take a deep breath, close your eyes (but keep reading!), and imagine with me.
Think of something you’d like to accomplish. It could be earning straight A’s, making a ton of money, getting into a specific college, or maybe reaching a personal best in a sport or developing your leadership or study skills.
If you don’t know exactly what you’d like to accomplish, the world is your oyster! You can literally pick ANYTHING that sounds awesome. Maybe you’d like to play the ukelele? Or to travel to Africa? It can be anything!
Picture that accomplishment with as many details as you can. Who is with you? What would it mean for you to achieve this goal? Have you changed physically, mentally, or emotionally through attaining your goal? How will you know when you’ve accomplished it? Imagine that moment when you’ve accomplished that amazing goal … think how great that would feel!
When we set goals, we have something real to strive for. When I was in high school – and even in college – I floundered. I didn’t know what (or even who) I wanted to be. I had no drive to stay in shape or improve my grades; I just coasted along, doing just enough to get by. I didn’t have good study or leadership skills, entrepreneurial potential or business knowledge.
Finally, in my sophomore year of college, I changed. I set a goal to bench press 120 pounds – I’m not exactly a linebacker – while maintaining a 6-minute mile. I aimed for all A’s in every semester of college. And I decided to become a teacher. These goals gave me targets to aim for and specific steps to take to accomplish them.
I’m still working on a couple of goals from that year, as well as several new ones. Since I started setting goals, I’ve felt happier and more accomplished in life. And I’m not the only one. Goal-setting has been scientifically proven to increase motivation and general feelings of happiness in people. So, if you’re feeling adrift or just bored like I was, maybe a few little goals are in order to get you excited and on track in life.
A word of caution on setting goals: A recent study found that setting too many goals or goals in only one area of life can end up hurting us. If we set too many goals, we devalue them all (“Today, I am setting the goal to go to class and only look at the clock four times.”). Or, if we set them all in one area of life, we can become unbalanced and focus only on that area, neglecting the rest of our lives. (“Must raise grades, must raise grades, must raise grades!!!” meanwhile, our families are pretty sure we’ve gone into full hermit-mode and are never leaving our desk).
To counter these possible negative effects, we can take two steps. First, we should set only meaningful goals, the ones that we really feel attached to or will create the most meaningful outcomes. Second, we should set goals in all areas of our lives, in order to stay in balance (it’s one of the 8 Keys of Excellence for a reason!)
Goal-setting is a powerful, life-changing tool that really works. However, no matter what our goals are, we know there will be a path we must follow to accomplish each goal. Sadly, many of us may not feel as if we’re really marching down the right road, or even know what the right path is, to completing those goals. Fortunately, SuperCamp has some great tips for taking the first steps:
Step 1: Create realistic goals.
I may want to become the greatest WNBA player of all time, but as I am a male and I have the coordination of a table with two legs, this is unlikely. I could, however, set the goal of improving my coordination and basketball skills.
Step 2: Our goals should be specific.
Rather than simply saying, “I want better grades,” I will state exactly what grades I want to achieve. “My goal is to earn an A in Algebra,” is a specific goal.
Step 3: A good goal is measurable.
I may want to get in better shape and, technically, if I take the stairs one day instead of the elevator, I’m fitter than I was the day before, but I haven’t really accomplished my goal of being in better shape. Instead, I might make a goal that “I want to run 500 miles in a year.” With this goal, I can measure my progress toward accomplishing the goal, and I have a timespan in which to complete the goal. This gives me a deadline and a concrete task to work toward. Good goals are realistic, specific, and measurable. A specific timeframe and measurable results are essential.
Step 4: Once we have our goals, write them down.
Seriously, write them down. Go get a pen and some paper and write them down. Got them down? Okay, great! Now, take those written goals and put them somewhere you’ll see them often. A great place is in the bathroom next to the mirror. It assures we’ll see them at least once during the day, reminding us of our long-term plans. You can also put them in your phone as a reminder each morning, as your computer desktop background, on your car dashboard, and so forth. The key is to constantly remind yourself of this important goal so that you will naturally work toward it throughout each and every day.
Step 5: Determine the Action Steps to your goals and start down the path.
Finally, simply knowing our goals and seeing them every day won’t get them accomplished. To really move toward that shining moment we imagined earlier, we must take steps. Consider the action steps you must take to complete your goal. Every day, when you see your goals written down, ask ourselves, “What steps can I take today toward completing this goal?”
If you don’t know what steps are necessary then the next step is, “Find out what the next step is!” Once we know the steps we can take that day, we must then take those steps that day. Goals won’t accomplish themselves!
Remember, completing goals can be challenging and might take some time, but taking action steps each day pulls them that much closer. Maintain commitment and continue taking action steps and the mind journey you took earlier will become your reality.
I did and I am now proud to work as a Quantum Learning SuperCamp Facilitator. These SuperCamp programs focus on teaching students of all ages how to get better grades, more confidence and motivation by mastering powerful study habits and time management skills.
I strongly encourage you to learn more about the benefits of SuperCamp, including developing study skills, goal-setting, leadership and college prep at Quantum Learning Network’s educational summer camps.
Visit www.SuperCamp.com or call 1-800-228-5327 NOW to speak with an Enrollment Counselor and learn how to increase grades, confidence and motivation.
About the Author:
Daniel Shedd loved being a SuperCamp camper and Team Leader and has served as a Facilitator for many years.
SuperCamp offers academic and personal enrichment program summer camps for teens, including specifically designed summer programs for high school students, middle school students, and college students respectively. These educational summer camps provide ideal college prep skills and help instill positive values for life based on The 8 Keys of Excellence by Bobbi DePorter. SuperCamp’s academic summer programs for teens help students increase their grades, confidence and motivation.