Guest Contributor: Linda Wong, Lane Community College (retired).

Goal-setting strategies help students create plans of action to achieve desired outcomes or goals. The GPS Strategy is a systematic three-step process that works as a roadmap to guide students on direct routes to plan and achieve goals.

G = Goals

Begin by taking the time to identify a clear, realistic goal. The goal may be a short-term or a long-term goal. The goal works best when it includes a well-defined target date and time to complete the goal. Aiming for a date and time of completion increases motivation and decreases the tendency to procrastinate or simply engage in “wishful thinking.”

P = Purpose

Identify the purpose for setting the goal. Why is it important? What is the value of the outcome? What benefits will you experience when you complete the goal? Will the goal bring you intrinsic rewards (sense of relief, pride, self-esteem, or self-efficacy), extrinsic rewards (positive feedback, approval, recognition, or an award), or both? Take a few minutes to visualize yourself working on the goal and basking in the feelings of accomplishment and success. Identifying a purpose boosts motivation and strengthens the commitment to work towards the desired outcome.

S = Steps

Setting a goal and identifying a purpose are starting points that lead to the final step of identifying the steps involved in achieving the desired outcome. Listing the required steps helps you organize the process and avoid stalling due to poor planning. On paper, in chronological order, list the steps that you need to work through to complete the goal. For steps that require multiple blocks of time to work on, break the steps into smaller sub-goals. Use a weekly planner to schedule time to work on each step or sub-goal of your final desired goal. Using effective time-management skills for each step keeps you on track and moving forward to achieve your goal by the completion date and time.

What are the benefits of teaching students to use the GPS System? Students quickly realize that they have the ability and effective skills to organize their plans of action to achieve desired outcomes. They learn how to organize their time and the steps of the process. They identify that motivation, commitment, and clarity turn talking about goals into achieving goals. Setting goals for academic, personal, or career situations empower students to experience success!

Share your response to Linda Wong’s post on “The GPS Strategy for Achieving Goals” in the comments section below.

Linda Wong retired from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon and moved to Las Vegas where she currently resides. Linda is the author of Essential Study Skills, Eighth Edition. To Linda, retirement opens doors to explore new opportunities and experiences. She has taught at a charter school, provided private tutoring to a family with five children, volunteered in a variety of community projects and fundraisers, and has written business training videos. Linda stays connected to education through conferences, consulting, writing, and networking with other educators. She can be reached at [email protected]