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Commentary

Goal setting important way to measure personal growth

Published: 12:33PM April 17th, 2014

SOUTHWEST ASIA — Have you set goals for your future? Goals can be short or long-term, personal, professional, spiritual or physical, and are usually specific to a person or group. According to Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, you are 42 percent more likely to reach a goal by writing it down. In short, a goal that is not written down is just a thought.

On my first and second deployments I had no strategy for setting goals. For my third deployment, I bought a journal and wrote down my goals and plans to make them a reality. As a result, I completed three online college courses and earned two Community College of the Air Force degrees. I also completed several hours of professional development, became debt free and most importantly, effectively managed my time. I achieved more on my third deployment than my first two combined.

You must make sure goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, or S.M.A.R.T. A specific goal has a greater chance of being accomplished and allows for strategic planning. A measurable goal establishes concrete criteria for measuring progress. You should set milestones to track progress.

To ensure goals are attainable, you must figure out the best route to take to achieve your goals.

Setting goals is an important aspect of life that has been proven time and time again. My current goal is to earn my bachelor’s degree in accounting by 2016. One of the milestones I set was the completion of four classes during this deployment. I am well on the way to accomplishing that milestone. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses has made accomplishing this easier.

So again I ask, “How many of you have goals?” We all have to start somewhere; I will see you at the finish line.