Your Career
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Go for the Goal


All accomplishments are the results of goals. People don’t win Olympic medals, get elected to public office or win Academy Awards unless they aim for it.

Research suggests that those who set goals are more motivated to succeed and happier with their accomplishments than others. Having personal and professional goals will aid your success in the classroom and your personal life.

Here are four steps to setting goals that will lay the groundwork for your achievement.

Step one: Why?

Before settling on a goal, think about your motivation. Goals based on external motivators, such as wealth, status and power, can be difficult to sustain, and, less satisfying. Intrinsic motivators such as health, friendship and enrichment are more likely to yield success and happiness, according to goal researchers from the University of Missouri.

List three things you want out of your life right now. Focus on motivators such as career fulfillment, friendship and relationships, rather than external motivators such as wealth and power.




Step two: What kind of goals are you setting?

Goal-setters are more likely to succeed if they ask themselves what they want, rather than what they don’t want. Don’t be afraid to set your goal high, but make sure it’s achievable. MU’s researchers suggest setting goals you believe you have a 30 percent chance of achieving.

Looking at your desires from Step One, name three major goals you believe you have at least a 30 percent chance of achieving:




Step three: Process and performance goals:

Process goals define the behaviors that pave the way to success. Performance, or end-point, goals focus on a specific outcome.

Waking up every morning to run 10 miles is a process goal; running an eight-minute mile is a performance goal.

Look at your major goals and decide whether each is a performance goal or a process goal. Depending on the answer, select a performance goal or process goal to pair with each.

Example: One of my major goals is to write three days a week. That’s a process goal. A related performance goal would be to write a novel within three years.

1. Process Goal:

Performance Goal:

2. Process Goal:

Performance Goal:

3. Process Goal:

Performance Goal:

On a separate sheet of paper, you can further develop your process and performance goals into multiple short-term goals leading to long-term outcomes.

Step four: Evaluate

Select goals that you can measure tangibly and evaluate your progress. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet all of your goals — look for more realistic goals, or see whether you can set new process goals that will help you achieve your performance goals.

Once you reach a goal, set a new one!

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