He Shoots! He Scores!: Goal Setting in the Game of LifeHe Shoots!  He Scores!: Goal Setting in the Game of Life

He Shoots! He Scores!: Goal Setting in the Game of Life

B-E-A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E! BE AGGRESSIVE! BE MORE AGGRESSIVE!

Ever hear that familiar cheer from the sidelines of a big football or basketball game? Corey Brown, 16 and a junior at Toms River High School North in Toms River, not only heard it, he followed through. Corey says his many hours of shooting practice hoops paid off when he was asked to join his high school's varsity basketball team in January of his sophomore year. He starts dribbling down court with the varsity team this November.

Corey, with a little sweat and a lot of positive thinking, reached one of his most important personal goals. According to Beverly Bachel, author of the book What do you really want? How to set a goal and go for it: A Guide for Teens, getting what you want requires hard work, but also a strategy. She recommends that teens visualize and even write down the things they want, whether it is something as small as buying a new pair of sneakers or as big as getting into an Ivy League college. Less tangible goals can also be important, from working to get along better with a sibling to feeling more relaxed before a big exam. Try not to set goals that are totally unrealistic, like reading 300 books over summer break.

Corey says he gives some serious thought to the things he wants to accomplish. "I even have dreams about what I am going to do for the following day, like a test I want to do well on," he says. "If I am really focused on it, I start to dream about it." His latest dream: getting into college.

After you figure out what you want, Bachel recommends teens outline what it will take to achieve their goals. Write out the specific ways to go about getting what you desire. Discuss your goals with those that can offer support, since talking about your dreams helps to make them a reality.

If you're still wondering why you need to have a specific goal in mind, Bachel notes, "Without having a sense of where you are heading, you just may end up in a place where you don't want to be-either a place that someone else chooses for you, or caught up in peer pressure." She adds that goal-setting can also help teens better manage time, as they figure out the things that are important to them.

Jefferd Marable Jr., 16 and a junior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Scotch Plains, is prioritizing getting a job in the business world. Jefferd is already getting a taste of the college business classes he hopes to take after high school. During his sophomore year, while other teens were selecting a fun elective, Jefferd opted for a class in economics. He plans to take additional courses in the business field at his high school, possibly an elective class in statistics or marketing.

Author Bachel praises Jefferd's goal-setting skills. "So much of achieving the goal is just showing up and doing the hard work," she says. Life's greatest accomplishments seldom come easy.