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Setting SMART Goals

Achieving goals is like climbing a ladder with a big prize at the top of the ladder. Each rung, or step, on the ladder is a progressive step towards the prize.

Long-term goals are goals that will take longer than one year to accomplish (getting to the top of the ladder). Short-term goals are those that can be reached within one year's time (each rung on the ladder).

To set a goal, first identify what you want to accomplish long-term. Write down everything you can think of - personal, career, and/or educational dreams. Review your list, choosing the items that are most important to you, and ask yourself where you want to be in 5 or 10 years. These items will make up your long-term goals. Your goals should be realistic and attainable, yet challenging enough to work towards them.

Short-term goals are commonly used to achieve long-term goals. Think of all the things that will be necessary to achieve in order to reach your long-term goals. For example, a level of education or getting properly certified to become employed in a certain field. These things will become your stepping stones, or rungs, on the way to achieving your long-term goals. Again, these goals should be realistic and attainable.

An easy and popular goal-setting tool is the SMART method. SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Take control of your goals by obtaining infomation neccessary to accomplish them. Know what resources and contraints are involved, including how you will use resarces and/or get around any contraints. Most importantly, be felxible and realistic with your goals and the time it takes to achieve them.

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