This is mine.
For example, my goals for this week are:
1) Finish (start) Chemistry lab report
2) Remember to show up for your two tests on Thursday (studying optional)
3) Rehearse (write) your speech due on Friday
4) Do the assigned reading due on Friday.
With my ultimate goal being, of course, a degree. So let's take a look at my goals. What do they have in common? What can the goal-less masses learn from them? How do you set "good" goals?
Step 1 - Determine what needs to be done
So, my laptop has an application that lets me put digital post-it notes on my desktop. I have 5 of them, one for every day of the week, and on each one I write what is due that day. That way, when I put everything off until the last minute, I'm at least organized. Of course, it's equally important to have personal goals. Some of mine are spending time with Beka and updating the blog. Within each goal, I have subgoals, such as not using crude humor to get a laugh here, but rather using intelligent humor. Also, I'm avoiding putting any of my personal beliefs in any posts critiquing philosophy - if I can't undermine them with pure logic, I shouldn't be undermining them at all.
Step 2 - Ensure the realism of you goals
Notice, I have parentheses in a few of my items. That's because I know I am absolutely not going to space my workload over the entire week - I'm going to wait until the absolute last possible moment. So, by saying Finish the lab report that is due Thursday., I actually just mean Do the lab report, make sure it's done by Thursday at 2:30pm. Also, I don't study. I don't need to, I've never needed to, and unless something drastic happens to my brain, I'm not ever going to need to. So studying optional really means make sure you were paying attention in lecture. If not, you might want to read the book so you aren't completely clueless because you were daydreaming about dragons and wizards.
Step 3 - Set up a reward system
I need motivation to do work. I do. When I was working in
Step 4 - ????????????
No, but really. Once you have all that done, you have to force yourself to actually do something. Having goals is great, but guess what. Nobody enforces your reward system. If you said you got ice cream after you finished your homework, and you went to get ice cream now instead, guess what? Nobody would stop you. You need to motivate yourself, nobody else can.
Step 5 - Profit
First, physical profit. Your brain rewards you for completing something. It has funky chemicals that make you feel good. Second, now, you don't ever have to do it again! Third, if it was for your morning class, you get to sleep in tomorrow. And that's really what all college students want: to sleep in.
The Importance of Setting Goals
I can imagine the overachievers reading my blog: But Kevin! I'm not like that! I put my work first! My response is - it doesn't matter. What you are currently doing, you are motivated to do by something. Mankind does not do things completely arbitrarily2. Even if their only motivation is pleasure, they are still motivated.
So, then, the natural question you have to ask yourself is why am I doing this? Am I in college because I want the degree, or because I enjoy being in debt? Once you determine your motivation, then, and only then, are you able to determine the easiest way to get there. For example, if you want a degree, then yes, College is your best bet. However, if you enjoy being in debt, get a credit card and start buying things, then only make the minimum payments. That way, you can be in debt forever and have cool things.
Like wrist-mounted flamethrowers
My point being, everyone has goals. Identifying yours will help you make better decisions in life - potentially decision where you can own an island3.
1. I'm not claiming to be an expert in any sort of field involving motivation, goal-setting, ambition, or generally good work-centric behaviors. Far from it.
2. They can be arbitrary insomuch as logic and reason aren't governing their actions. But everyone has motivation.
3. But probably not.