Tag Archives: goals

In February 2021, NASA landed its FIFTH rover on Mars in a mind-boggling and flawless demonstration of precision, planning, and execution. That human beings could, amidst all of the current chaos and madness of life on Earth, keep their eyes on an exceedingly distant prize to accomplish such a remarkable feat should be encouraging–even inspiring–to anyone pursuing tough goals. 1. Grades and scores are not the goals. I’ve worked with enough dedicated students to know the allure of a concrete numerical marker of ability. No sooner does a test taker break 1300 on the SAT than he or she begins targeting 1400. Academic achievement may be expressed quantitatively, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. What matters much more is the knowledge that is behind those grades or scores, as well as how a student was transformed along the way. When I see a high ACT score, I see…

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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, one of the cornerstones of any business library, introduced a concept for stretch goals that has eclipsed the work itself in terms of enduring fame. In the book, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras discussed the BHAG–Big Hairy Audacious Goal–as a a powerful way to stimulate progress: “A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s. The best BHAGs require both building for the long term AND exuding a relentless sense of urgency: What do we need to do today, with monomaniacal focus, and tomorrow, and the next day, to defy the probabilities and ultimately achieve our BHAG?” The authors focused on big, hairy, audacious goals for titans of industry and unicorn entrepreneurs, but not all moon shots need be driven by a profit motive. Anyone can set a…

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Face facts… you simply can’t do everything. You can do many many amazing things, especially of you’ve mastered the secrets of time management. But you can’t do everything. So if you want to fulfill your most meaningful goals, prioritize relentlessly. Once we take a hard look at our priorities, we can sort our goals so we devote enough time and commitment to achieving them. We can and should also enlist help, since success is usually a group effort. But does every type of goal benefit from social support? Consider two types of goals: Give-Up Goals define success through subtraction: e.g. less goofing off, weight loss, bad habit cessation Go-Up Goals define success through addition: e.g. better grades, muscle gain, good habit development Conventional wisdom suggests that we should always share our give-up goals, as others are usually very helpful in encouraging us to drop bad habits. But more aspirational goals…

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Smarts pair as naturally with standardized tests as peanut butter does with jelly (or chocolate or Nutella or marshmallow fluff, am I right) It’s smart to take the SAT or ACT if you want to attend college. It’s smart to prep for the tests. Smarts can carry you far on these reading, writing, problem solving exams. But to earn your best possible score, you must be more than smart; you need S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T.–as you smarties probably realized–is an acronym inspired by Peter Drucker’s business writing that eventually expanded to all manner of applications. SAT and ACT might not be acronyms anymore, but every letter in S.M.A.R.T. stands for something powerful: SPECIFIC – State simply and sensibly what you want to accomplish. MEASURABLE – Establish meaningful smaller mini-goals to measure accomplishment. ACHIEVABLE – Set your sights high but within the limits of ability, time, and resources. RELEVANT – Pursue a…

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Everyone knows that setting priorities is a necessary skill to manage stress, but deciding which priorities to tend to when everything feels important can bring more stress. Instead of succumbing to procrastination or anxiety, try these five steps to determine what really matters in your life in order to get the ball rolling now:   1. Make a list Write down every goal you want to accomplish. Think about long-term goals as well as short-term goals. Include goals from every aspect of life including education, work, family, and social goals. 2. Assess the value of each goal on your list This step requires an understanding of the big picture. Discern what is most valuable by thinking about the end result of each goal. Start with long-term goals first and rate each goal based on the value you associate with completing each goal. 3. Work backwards Start with the number one…

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The best way to get much better at the SAT or ACT is to harness the power of deliberate practice to improve incrementally until you reach your score goals. Commit to preparation and make prep a priority for two to three months before your target test. Make sure you’re using official practice tests and the highest quality instructional material. Take timed practice tests under simulated test conditions. Review your work, focusing on how to answer questions faster, easier, and more accurately. The quickest way to get much better at the SAT or ACT is to work with an expert coach or tutor to help you through the process of leveraging deliberate practice to improve incrementally until you reach your score goals. Everything listed above works better and faster with the right coaching!

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