Learning to change
Learning to change

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Learning to change

4.4.3 Setting specific goals

We mentioned earlier how big visions can be quite daunting, so now we encourage you to break down your vision into shorter-term goals – and then to write them really clearly.

Activity 44 Choosing some goals

Allow about 30 minutes for this activity

Go back to your mind map and the key ingredients of your vision. Give each main area of your mind map a priority rating based on how interesting/useful/desirable you find it. If you are going to make changes to your life, it helps to start with things that are really important to you; goals that make you feel excited about getting started and provide you with the motivation to keep going.

Now write down three key goals that you are keen to start working on:

  • one that you think is achievable right now
  • one that might stretch you a little bit and take perhaps a few months
  • one that may take you a year or two.

Ideally, the short-term goal will be something that contributes to the longer-term goals.


This part of the course asks you to do a demanding sequence of activities. We hope that you will find all the activities in this course helpful, but these are particularly important as they take you through the process of putting together your personal plan for change. This plan is an important outcome of your study on this course. We also hope that you will find that your plan is something that you can go on using after you have finished Learning to change. The more thought that you put into your plan at this point, the more useful it will be in future.

Case illustrations

Jodi has no experience or qualification in the restaurant business, so shorter-term goals include finding out what is involved – identifying what qualifications are required and how he could acquire them – preferably in his home town so that he has the support of friends and family while he does it – and working out the finances. Even shorter-term goals include getting some work experience to help decide whether it would be as fulfilling as he hopes.

Shauna decides she would like to set herself a medium-term challenge – to confront her shyness by preparing and delivering a presentation to the local history society. Before she had the children she had been researching her family tree so this might be something she could talk about. Shorter term, she decides she is going to challenge her shyness by speaking to people she meets in the school playground, while waiting for the children, rather than waiting for others to make the first move.

Having thought about the goals that you are interested in, it is time to be more specific. A popular mnemonic (a pattern of letters or words intended to help you remember something) for writing goals is SMART – with the letters standing for: Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-limited. We now look at each of these in turn.


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