Ugh!  A Goal Setting Assignment – Why oh why, oh why?

emoji rolling eyesGetting ready to head into a class to talk about ‘setting goals’ and ‘creating action plans’ makes me itch.  I know how important developing this skill can be to students who have something specific they really, really, want from their education when they graduate – usually an amazing job, at an amazing organization, making amazing money!

But I also think I know what I would have done if presented with the same assignment back in…well, back ‘in the day’ when I was in college.  I probably would have delivered my very best eye-ball roll (something I was highly skilled at thanks to my older sisters’ coaching), let out an involuntary heavy sigh (which my father had inadvertently taught me while having ‘discussions’ with my mother), and wondered why my professor felt the need to torture us with this goal setting nonsense.

And yet here I am, unashamedly ready to deliver the goal setting assignment to my 3rd year law clerk students and expectations are high. 

  • I’m doing it because as an adult with 20/20 hindsight, I wish someone had at least planted the idea of goal setting and career planning when I was in college (maybe they did and I just wasn’t listening or ready to learn – there’s a pretty good chance that this was the case);
  • I’m doing it because I genuinely hope that it moves those students who want to move, at least one step closer to achieving what they hope to achieve; and
  • I’m doing it because selfishly, when I read about my students’ goals and see them achieve them, it energizes me and helps remind me why I love to teach when I have days where I question the wisdom of my career choice :-).

At the end of the day, the take away with respect to goal setting will be simple:

  • Do something. Just stop sitting around and take action.  Every minute you’re sitting around checking Facebook, you’re not taking action getting you closer to you dreams.
  • Plan what you’re taking action about. Don’t just take action willy-nilly.  Actually have a plan. Think things through.  Do one thing in the right order before you need to do the next thing in order to get where you want to go.1

1 Eric Jackson. “The Only Thing You Need To Remember About the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Forbes 24 July 2012


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Kathleen Stewart

Parent, cart-wheeler, teacher, marathoner.

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