Reflect on your goals

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It’s useful to identify what your short-term goals and long-term goals are, while at LSE and beyond.

Your first-year goals might include:

  • understanding the requirements of your course and what’s expected of you
  • becoming familiar with professors in your department
  • getting settled into your new environment
  • exploring opportunities, making friends in and outside of your course
  • finding time to have a life outside of study.

Whereas in your final year you might be focusing on:

  • doubling down on your studies
  • undertaking internships and developing skills
  • making decisions about your career and researching opportunities
  • getting help with applications for work/further study
  • building up your professional network
  • making the most of your time left at LSE.

There isn’t a need to categorise your goals but if you find it helpful, separate them as follows: personal, social, academic, and professional.

Where to start? First, you’ll need to firm up what your goals actually are. Following the GROW model is a helpful way to set and achieve goals:

Goal– which goal/s do you most want to achieve? Some goals are easily measurable, whereas others are not. With that in mind, what will success look like? Why is this particular goal important to you?

Reality– think about the situation you’re in now. Are there time constraints or costs involved in achieving your goal? Is it something that is practical to achieve? How much hard work will it take, and are you going to be committed to the goal?

Options (or obstacles) – there will likely be more than one way of reaching your goal. Are there advantages and disadvantages to each option? Making a simple list or discussing the options with someone else can help you decide which course to take. If you have thought about some obstacles in the Reality part of the model, how might these be overcome, or is there a better option available?

Way forward–break down your next steps into achievable actions. Which tasks need to be completed? Is there anything else you need to find out before you begin? Are you going to set yourself a deadline? What will the first step be?

When you have achieved your goal, take time to reflect on your achievement. Make a note of the goals you have been successful in reaching as this may be useful to look back on in the future.

One important thing to remember when reflecting, is that on occasion when you achieve what you set out to, it can be an anti-climax or feel different to how you had anticipated. We overlook the fact that the focus, perseverance, and persistence needed during the process of reaching the goal is something to be proud of and an achievement in itself. It’s likely you will have learned something about yourself and bettered yourself along the way, whatever the outcome.