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Tuesday, 31 July 2018 06:49

Goal setting for the older learner

Goal setting for the older learner

Additional Information: for first-time goal setters it is important for an adult to assist the child in creating appropriate goals.

Introduction:  Holistic goal setting is the most beneficial form of goal setting as it looks at the primary factors in your life. Holistic goal setting creates and maintains a form of balance for the individual. It also helps develop time management skills.

The four areas of Goal Setting:

The primary factors of holistic goal setting are:

  • Social (friends, family, personal social goals and societal duties/goodwill)
  • Mental (school, academic, intellectual, logic, mathematical, language and conceptual)
  • Physical (health, sports, activities and well-being)
  • Emotional (emotional, psychological, religious, relationships and holistic well-being)

Creating your Goals:

First Step:  Decide on your Goal

Prior to deciding on your goal please refer to Learning how to set realistic goals then select a goal for each area; you may select up to three for each area. It is important to be specific when creating your goals.

  • Topic: choosing something relevant can be tricky. Think about your current mental state. What needs improvement and what will help you to find a more holistic balance?

◦          Example: Maybe you find that Maths is preventing you from achieving a higher aggregate and as a result you are spending all your free time on it. It is starting to cause you stress and anxiety. – This can be identified as a mental goal, but as it impacts on the social, emotional as well as physical aspects of your life (perhaps by also taking time away from extra-mural activities), it is a holistic problem and needs to be addressed from a holistic point of view..

  • Obtainable: Remember the elastic band? Is your goal achievable and realistic?

◦          Example: If you are achieving 60% for Maths – Do you think 80% is realistic? What about starting with a 5% increase?

  • Measurable: provide a goal that can be measured, as vague goals are lacking in focus and direction.

◦          Example: Saying, ‘I want to achieve a higher mark in Maths’ does not provide a measurable aim. However, saying, ‘I want to increase my score in Maths by 5%’ is measurable. You now have a goal to work towards.

  • Time frames: there are three different time frames.  Each goal can be based on one time frame or can  be broken down into all three when aiming to achieve a bigger goal. They are short-term (weekly, monthly), medium- term (a school term, 3 months) and long-term (a year or more).

◦          Example: your goal (in this case getting 5% more for Maths) is dependent on your own strengths and abilities. A period of two school terms is a good average time frame to base your decision on as this includes one assignment/assessment term and one exam term. This would be considered a medium/long-term goal and can be broken into shorter-term goals to work towards.

Second Step: create three to five practical steps to achieving your goal:

Steps are essential to achieving your goal. Steps are systematic mini-goals that you are going to follow to help you achieve your ultimate goal.

Example: three steps to achieving 5% higher for Maths:

  • Practise 10 extra maths sums each day
  • Ask a friend to help me revise the work that I do not understand
  • Complete all my school homework

The above are three practical steps that you can follow to achieve your goal. The steps you select should be achievable; do not choose steps that you know you cannot do.

Third Step: have a support system  and a mentor.

A support system is having someone who can motivate or inspire you. I recommend having two people who you see regularly (support system), someone to guide you (mentor) and one who is perhaps your favourite famous person who has achieved something related to your goal (role-model).

Example: For your Maths goal:

  • Support: Your friend who excels at Maths and is willing to help you.
  • Support: Your mother who reminds you to do your homework.
  • Mentor: teacher, tutor or parent
  • Role-model: Alicia Boole-Scott, a female mathematician who played a major role in four-dimensional geometry.

Fourth Step: reflect on your goal.

When the time frame you set to achieve your goal is completed it is time to reflect on your goal. If you have achieved it this means that your choice of goal, time frame, steps and support system had a positive influence on your life and assisted you in achieving your goal. However, if you missed your goal you need to review your steps.  Do not be discouraged by not achieving your goal the first time around, but use it as an opportunity to master your goal setting skills.

Example: Did you do all your maths homework? Did you perhaps need more time to achieve this goal? Did you receive enough support? The aim is to find out what needs to be changed to help you achieve your goal next time.

Conclusion: It is a wonderful idea to have a visual tool for your goals. This must be easily accessible and remind you about your goals on a daily basis.


  • create a vision board
  • keep a file with the information on your goals
  • a reminder on your phone
  • record the steps on a calendar