Last quarter I studied abroad for a semester. I spent four and a half months in Managua, Nicaragua, living with a host family, attending a local university, and traveling all around the country and to neighboring countries as well. It was definitely an amazing opportunity and I am so glad that I had the courage to go because it really made my college experience full. Not only was I able to work on my Spanish, learn about Latin culture and cross-cultural communication, but I was also able to reflect on my life and my future goals. You see, while I was there it almost didn’t feel like real life. Often it felt like I was a movie on pause waiting for my real self to get back on the couch with the bowl of popcorn.
With my free time and head full of dreams, I actually put some of those ideas down on paper through a goal writing process. I found this exercise on a blog (which I honestly cannot find right now but promise to link back if I find it) and so I need to state clearly, that this is not an original idea. I took it from someone. But it is awesome and it really helped me understand where I want to go in life and what steps to take to get there.
This is a goal-setting exercise. I have written my goals before, but I hadn’t found a great way to organize them until now. Below is an example/template of how to write it. It is just an example – the one I use is in a composition notebook and a few pages long.
It’s pretty simple. You have three columns. First column denotes the time frame, 5 years, 10 years and 15 years. In the next column you write your personal goals and in the last column you write your professional goals.
What I liked about this exercise was it helped me get a better idea of how my life choices would build on each other and lead to some of the dreams that I have now. It also gave me power to start making the baby steps towards some of these dreams. It helped me figure out what I want to study in graduate school. And it helped me determine how much money I want to make at any given point in my life. Of course I don’t have all the answers, and since everything is in the future, there is no guarantee that I won’t change my mind and rewrite the list entirely. But I really appreciate feeling empowered to create my own destiny, and to be able to recognize that the dreams I have are definitely achievable.