How to Reach Your Goals

Reaching your goals can be hard work. Even if you set realistic goals that are important to you, the amount of work and determination it takes to meet your goal can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to stick to your goal and very easy to give up. As you work towards your goal, you need help staying on track.

Write Out a Plan

If you write out a plan for reaching your goal, chances are you are more likely to reach it. Think of this plan as a checklist for reaching your goal. If your goal is to get a B in English class, your checklist may look like this:

Daily Checklist to Reach My Goal:

  • Turn in my homework
  • Take notes in class
  • Compare my notes with a friend
  • Do my homework
  • Complete the assigned reading

Each day you would make sure you check off each item on your daily checklist.

You can also set a checklist of tasks or mini goals you need to complete to reach your goal. For example, if your goal is to get a job as a bagger at a specific grocery store, your checklist may look like this:

Checklist to Get a Job at the Grocery Store:

  • Pick up an application from the grocery store
  • Fill out application carefully
  • Turn in application
  • Ask friend who works at grocery store to put in a good word
  • Call store to check on the status of application
  • If do not get the job, inquire about why and take advice when applying again

Pretend your goal is to lose 10 pounds during the next month. Write out a daily checklist that will help you reach that goal:





Reward Yourself

Having a checklist is often not enough to help your reach your goal. You also need to reward yourself as you work towards your goal. Use your checklist as a guide for rewarding yourself. For example, you may say that if you cross off all of the items on your daily checklist for an entire week, you will reward yourself by going to see a movie. If you have a task-based checklist, you may reward yourself with something small, such as an ice cream cone or other special treat every time you check off an item on your list.

Be Accountable

When a goal takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to reach, rewarding yourself may not all the motivation you need. Instead of relying solely on yourself for motivation, find someone to hold you accountable for reaching your goal. Share your goal with a parent, teacher or friend and ask him/her to regularly check up on your progress, praise you when you are making progress and push you to keep going when you get off track or want to give up.

When you know what you need to do to reach your goal and put in place reward and accountability systems to motivate you, you are more likely to be successful and reach your goal.

Suggested Exercises
  1. Fill out the attached “Reaching my Goals” worksheet.
  2. Create note cards with phrases to motivate you to reach your goals and place them around your room, in your notebooks or in random pockets of your backpack to remind you not to give up.

Discussion Questions
  1. What motivates you?
  2. Who is someone who will encourage you to reach your goal(s)?
  3. Have you ever given up on a goal when it got hard? What could you have done differently to help you stick with it?