Happy New Year 2014

The new year is upon us. We hope you had a relaxing, fun and safe holiday and that you’re ready to face 2014 head-on!

What plans or goals have you made for 2014?

When I was at school, we learned to make our goal SMART:

Simple – Break up a big goal into “bite-sized-pieces”. For example “I want to study medicine” should be broken into steps that you can take to get there, for example, get over 85% for Maths, Science and Biology in Grade 10,11 and 12; visit the Universities and ask their requirements; Go to visit  a hospital for a day and see what real life medicine is about – perhaps you would rather be a radiologist or nurse than an emergency room doctor…?

Measurable – Ensure you can measure the difference to keep track of how well you are moving forward. For example, “I want to do better in Maths” should be “I am getting 50% for maths now. By second term I want to get 60% and by fourth term, 70%” and then see how you can get there – perhaps you need tutoring from friends or extra lessons from teachers?

Achievable – If you want to get an “A” for English in order to study journalism, and now you’re getting a “D”, you cannot expect yourself to get an “A” within one term. You need to make your goals smaller and see your progress. So for example, you could aim for a “C” by the end of the first term and then perhaps a “B” by the end of the second term, but you will have to put in a lot of work and ask for help in order to get there – you cannot just expect it to happen by itself.

Realistic – If you are not getting good grades, and do not want to work harder, then do not aim for a goal that is not realistic – you cannot say “I want to be a surgeon” if you are not even close to getting a university exemption. Rather see where your strengths are and work on that, such as perhaps you are a good sports person – you could become a sports coach by doing a course in it and getting mentored by your coach. You can make money teaching children and youth to play your sport.

Timed – If you do not put a deadline to your goal you may never achieve it. Saying, “I want to buy a car one day” will mean you could buy the car in 5 years, 10 years, 50 years or never. You need to set a realistic timeframe to your goal and smaller timeframes for the goals in between. For example “Get my learners licence in 2014, get my drivers licence in 2015, save up all my money for a deposit on a second hand car by doing part time work while at school/studying and aim to buy the car in 2020”

Please send in your stories of how you used this method to achieve school or personal goals.

Good luck for 2014!

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