Reaching Your Goals (Even When You Don’t Feel Like It)

By: Meg

We all have goals, both short term and long term. Zach wrote a post about Long-term goals a few months ago. Now, making those goals is important. So is reaching them. When you’re thinking about what you want to do in your career, you also need to think about HOW you’re going to get there.

Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to work on something you won’t “need” for a year or more. The trick is to break it up into smaller goals and be accountable. Set dates you need to get something done (say, an application for grad school), and break it into smaller chunks.

So that “big” application ends up being:

  1. Ask for references
  2. Introduction to essay
  3. Conclusion to essay
  4. Body for essay
  5. Revise
  6. Fill out application
  7. Send it in

Tell someone when you need to have these done. Your parents, your co-workers, peers, a career counselor, or the people writing your references are all good choices, but essentially have it be whoever will keep you on track.

When you get around to doing those big projects, sit down and get it done. We’ve all procrastinated, and it generally turns out just fine. But that doesn’t mean you can let yourself get away with it. If you say you’re going to finish a project, sit down and don’t let yourself get up until you finish it. Give yourself a reward every time you reach a mini goal (like that picture that was going around Facebook a while back: you get a gummy bear every time you read a certain amount), but don’t let yourself not finish.

If you must procrastinate, do it productively. Say you sit down to write your essay, but you just can’t do it. Instead, update your resume, your cover letter, or write a paragraph on what you did at each job you had and what you want to do in the future. That way you get something done, and it may lead you to some inspiration. Or you can browse our blog.

Set aside some time for just planning. Sit down for a few minutes each week and just go over what you have done and what you need to get done, then reevaluate your goals.  Make sure what you’re currently doing is on track with what you want to be doing in the future. Every day you’re working on your career, so make sure it is what you want it to be. If you want, sit down with someone else and go over it, looking for patterns that are good and not so good. Talk it over with your advisor or a career counselor.

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Read Meg’s other posts

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