From June 11 to July 6, 2010, 642 U.S. students (ages 10-18) participated in the Gallup Student Poll. “The students were asked 20 questions meant to gauge their hope, engagement, and wellbeing—and then were classified as “ready for the future” if they scored high in all three dimensions. Gallup’s research suggests that students who do well on all three metrics tend to achieve higher grades, complete more credits, and report fewer health problems than their peers. The research is meant to help leaders and educators improve student performance and in turn the high school graduation rate nationwide.” – Lymari Morales
The Gallup study’s final conclusion: 34% of respondents in grades 5-12 are hopeful, engaged, and thriving—others fall short in at least one of these dimensions.
Part of what facilitates a hopeful, engaged, and thriving attitude is the ability for a student to see a bright future and feel confident it is attainable. Another important statistic from the Gallup poll is that 42% of the students polled said they were energetically pursuing goals. Life is a journey and it is the most important journey we as individuals will ever take. The sooner young people are exposed to the value of goals in all aspects of their life and are taught how to use a proven goal accomplishment model the sooner they will be “ready for the future.”
Seventeen years ago our company developed a youth leadership process entitled Rising Stars. It focuses on helping young people prepare for a bright future and be contributing members of their community, while exposing them to and teaching them how to use a proven goal accomplishment model. In addition to sharing the S.M.A.R.T.Y. criteria, which many people know is important to consider when building goals, we also focus on the six core components of goal setting.
- Listing your dreams. Every purposeful journey aims for a destination. Where do you want to go with your life? What do you want to accomplish? What are your overall objectives? What are your dreams? Listing your dreams allows you to develop a master list of things you want to do and become—as well as things you want to achieve and attain.
- Conducting personal self-evaluations. You can go wherever you choose on your life’s journey, but you can only start from one place. You can only start from where you are today.
- Developing goal categories. Once a springboard is created to clarify your dreams and you’ve identified your current starting point, the next step requires developing the categories of your life that you’d like to change and improve in order to realize your dreams. Goal categories provide an important step between your dreams and your goals, and they help you translate your general ideas and thoughts into action.
- Creating goal statements. Goal categories are then translated into specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time trackable goal statements that are solely yours (S.M.A.R.T.Y.). In our experience the more focused and specific the better.
- Developing specific action steps. The next step is to identify the actions you need to take in order to achieve your goals. Creating specific action steps will provide the daily, weekly, and monthly activity necessary to make your goals a reality.
- Prioritizing of your goals and action steps. Making a conscious decision through a prioritization process which goals or action steps are the most important. It is also a necessary step. The prioritization process will never stop, as you will need to continually evaluate what is important to your success now.
No matter your age, goal accomplishment is a life long process. It is rewarding to see young people embrace the concepts and apply them early for success in all areas of their life: school, home, career, health, and community. Goal accomplishment is the backbone of creating hopeful, engaged, and thriving lives.
Article written by Tammy A.S. Kohl, President of Resource Associates Corporation.