Sheila Hudson of Rio Linda competed at the 1996 Olympic Games and once held the world record in the triple jump. Here are excerpts of a story she once wrote for us when we edited the Student Sports national magazine. The advice still rings true today.
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“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
We’ve all been asked that question at one time or another. It’s perhaps our first introduction to goal-setting. It’s a question that sends us browsing through our vast and wonderful warehouse of dreams. Goals can then often begin from these dreams.Why is it so important to set goals anyway? First, it gives you something to reach for, helping you to stretch your potential. Setting goals also gives you a clear sense of direction. Finally, it’s through goal-setting that we learn and begin to apply many of the values that will serve to shape us.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin to set goals and work toward them:
1. Gear your effort toward something you enjoy. If you’re doing something you love to do, you’re likely to put more thought, time and energy into it.
2. Organize a strategy. Set your goals high. Then set little ones leading to that ultimate goal. By taking things one step at a time, any goal is attainable, and at the outset will seem far less intimidating.
3. Allow yourself time. For many, one of the hardest things to learn is patience. Unfortunately, goals aren’t always achievable overnight. Most people work at them for years. Many may work on them for a lifetime and never realize them fully. Still, the true value of goal-setting cane be the journey towards a goal, not necessarily its attainment.
4. Learn to lift barriers. There are two kinds of barriers – those that others impose on us and those that we impose upon ourselves. Learning to challenge these barriers is key. You’ll be just fine if you can remember and believe just one thing: There is no limit to what you can accomplish. If something has never been done before, maybe you were meant to be the first.
5. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. As you work toward your goals, you may experience some setbacks. Having people around you who will continue to encourage and believe in you will help keep you on track. Associating with other goal-oriented people also is helpful. You may be able to give each other a boost when needed.
Finally, just remember, all anyone can expect of you and all you can demand of yourself is that you do the very best you can. Oh and by the way, never stop asking yourself what you want to be when you grow up.
Dr. Sheila Hudson is now the Associate Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator and Compliance Coordinator at Cal State L.A.