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What happens now?

You've graduated and attained your High School Equivalency! Now what will you do? Well, there are a variety of options, as we discussed above. For those who desire and WANT to move into the area of college and post secondary education, there are a few things to do.

First, you must decide, in general, how to obtain the specialization of your choice.

To properly assess which types of education or school to choose, you must ask yourself these questions: Do I need a college degree? A specialization program? A training/trade school certification? We call this a "Personal Career Goal."

A "Personal Career Goal" is a goal that a person sets for attaining the career they desire. These goals should work together as stepping stones toward a job or career. Personal Career Goals should be specific, realistic and measurable. Here are some examples of the important elements for creating goals and how to incorporate them into your goal-setting.

Specific - A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six "W" questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Where do I go to achieve this goal? College, trade school, etc.
  • When: Establish a time frame.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, "Get in shape." But a specific goal would say, "Join a health club and workout 3 days a week to get in shape."

Specific goals are measurable, which means, they have a way to show mathematically that progress is being made.

Measurable - When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that motivates you to continue making the effort required to reach your overall goal.

To determine whether your goal is measurable, ask questions such as: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

Realistic Goals are attainable, which means they are possible to be reached with the present situation. (For example: Is it attainable for a 45-year-old person with few or no baseball skills to set the goal of becoming a professional baseball player?).

Attainable - When you identify the goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can accomplish them. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities that bring your closer to achieving your goals.

You can attain almost any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may seem far away and out of reach eventually become attainable not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of attaining these goals, and you develop the character traits and personality that allow you to achieve them.

Realistic - To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you will ever accomplish actually may seem easy, simply because they were a labor of love.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine whether you have accomplished anything similar in the past or to ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

Tangible - A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses -- taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible, or when you tie a tangible goal to an intangible goal, you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable, and thus attainable.

Intangible goals are the internal changes required to reach more tangible goals. They are the personality characteristics and the behavior patterns you must develop to pave the way to success in your career or for reaching some other long-term goal. Since intangible goals are vital for improving your effectiveness, give close attention to tangible ways for measuring them.

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