A young man about twenty came into my office for some counseling. He felt depressed. He worked a delivery job for a shipping company and hated it. It was boring. He wanted more meaningful work, but didn't know if he was even capable of doing something else.
He had come from an alcoholic family and didn't want to turn out like his parents. But he couldn't figure out how to change his life. As he talked, he told me that right out of high school he drank himself into oblivion at parties. He ran his credit cards up without any thought of how to pay them back.
One by one his friends began to get on with their lives. One went off to college. Another joined the Air Force. Someone else joined an international development group.
He sat alone one night and decided to change his life. He quit drinking (except for an occasional social drink), cut up his credit cards, and found the delivery job he now held.
He still felt his life was going nowhere. What could he do to change that?
I was excited to point out the significant changes he'd made already. Could he see that he had walked beyond the addictions of drinking and spending that many people struggle a life time to overcome? He had internal strength that he hadn't looked at before. He had never noticed these successes before, and he began to feel better about himself.
As he started to set goals, he decided he wanted to get a college degree. With my encouragement, he talked with a counselor at the local university and got himself enrolled in school. He came back to see me for a final session, saying he was 'scared to death.' How could he compete with smart kids just out of high school when he'd been away from school for so long?
I gave him this Will Rogers quote and told him he hadn't sat still long enough to get run over yet, and he probably wouldn't now.
He laughed and said he was still scared. Could we outline a program to help him keep going along the right track. Here is what he came up with:
1. Set a long term goal. (Go to college)
2. Make sure my short term goals matched my long term plans. (Register for classes)
3. Prioritize my day so I accomplish my short term goals. (Study first thing each day.)
4. Evaluate my short term goals every month to make sure I'm on task, and readjust my
short term goals if necessary. (Stay on task. If I get side-tracked, get myself refocused.)
5. Look for daily successes and pat myself on the back for my accomplishments. (Compliment myself for my small successes each day.)
This young man was successful because he set long term and short term goals and evaluated his progress monthly. I wish you happy goal-setting, and best wishes for your success.