Keeping your goals on track

Let’s say you’ve rallied the courage to blaze your own educational path. You know what you want to learn, or at least have an idea you’re ready to pursue. You set goals, look for internship opportunities, and find a mentor in the field. After some planning, you take the leap. Educational freedom, at last!! The first few steps into a new adventure are inevitably exciting. The break from routine makes us alert to new possibilities, and frees our imagination to dream up new options for the future.

Like any adventure, however, the initial excitement and clarity of purpose can give way in the barrage of day-to-day decisions: Continue to seek the summit, or break to meander down an intriguing side trail? Keep to the path when it’s harder than anticipated and resources run low, or call it quits and return to familiar territory?

If you feel your focus shifting or your motivation running low, it can help to clarify your original purpose. (Or better yet, prevent the loss of focus by planning regular time to reflect and reorient into your learning process!) Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, offers a short dose of advice about clarifying your ambitions and making progress in this fun video clip.

By Laurah Hagen