Forté Foundation
Career Lab Virtual Campus

Goal Setting 101

By Jordan Perras

December 7, 2015

I’ve found that one of the most helpful routines I’ve developed in college has been regular goal setting. I sit down with some blank pieces of paper, a bunch of colored markers (and some coffee) to look at what I want to accomplish.

I do this at the beginning of each semester and then again right after midterms. It makes it easier to analyze my progress and identify habits that I should continue to develop, and those that I should try to avoid.

Sitting down to a blank sheet of paper is relatively intimidating, but it is important to understand what you’re working towards.

When writing your goals, use a different color for each category. Include pictures of things are (somewhat) easily drawable. Hang this sheet up somewhere you’ll see it every day. If you’ve got roommates or don’t want other people to see it, hang it in your closet. (Weird trick, but how often does anyone else look in there?)

Identify Your Categories

I’m willing to bet that you have goals that aren’t exclusively academic. As high-achieving college women, you probably have goals in a bunch of different areas. Look at each of them separately and set goals in those categories. Here are a few to consider.

  • Academics – GPA, attending office hours, relationships with professors
  • Extra-curricular activities – leadership in a club, outside lectures on campus
  • Career – Excel trainings, attending networking events
  • Personal/Health – books to read, exercising, healthy eating, enough sleep
  • Relationships – coffee with friends, calling your parents

Think Big

What is the end result you want? These can be as big as your overall life dreams! This is where you really want to stretch your brain and figure out what you want.

  • Get an MBA
  • Become proficient in Excel
  • Graduate magna cum laude
  • Run a marathon

Think Small

What I mean by that is this: How are you going to get there? Those big, life-changing goals do not happen overnight. They take small, measurable, and consistent steps to get from where you are to where you want to be.

  • Sign up to take an Excel class
  • Check a book out from the library

Goal setting can be scary because your big dreams can seem so far out of reach or unattainable. But really, that’s what makes them exciting. Don’t be afraid to dream up crazy goals for yourself and then prove to yourself how awesome you are by daily (or weekly or monthly, you get the idea!) taking baby steps towards those goals.

Jordan Perras is a third-year student at Northeastern University majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.  She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.

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