Goal-setting is a Young Person Thing, too

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It’s never too young to start thinking about your future

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If you look back at your grade school yearbook, you’d probably laugh at the goals you had written for yourself. Some goals are too ambitious (be the first Filipina in space), too unrealistic (become a fairy princess), or too vague (become rich and live in a big house) for 10 year olds to achieve. Admittedly, even a decade later, some goals are still far-off.

Still, it’s not a bad idea to start setting goals when you’re young. ”It is a fallacy that youth is a time when one can gamble on investments,” financial planner Charles Obsusin was quoted saying in The New York Times article “The Art of Successful Goal Setting.” It’s true that a lot of people, especially in this country, think that your teenage years and early twenties are a time to have fun and not think about what you really want to do in life. It’s this blasé, bahala na attitude that can unfortunately bite you in the back later on.

As a young person, you might feel a sense of embarrassment about setting up goals—Is this goal really for me? Maybe this isn’t a good fit. If I say it out loud, people might make fun of me—and that’s where one of the best benefits of goal-setting comes in. Mapping out your plans doesn’t only help you buckle up, it also helps you “fake it till you make it.”

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While you’re young, be ambitious and don’t be afraid to know what you want. When you’re older, you might regret not taking what could’ve been a career-defining opportunity.

Wonder, passion, and rigor are the three core things you need in life. Wonder and passion are obvious: If you don’t have both wonder and passion for what you do, then why do it? But rigor is the more nebulous one. There will be hard times when your wonder and passion will escape you. Your sheer rigor is what’s going to keep you going. Rigor is the ability to clock in your work even under great duress, to do all your tasks at hand. It’s the less glamorous side of achieving your dreams, sure, but it’s also the one that helps hone your talent and skills. Goal-setting is inherently part of this. It may not sound as fun, but it helps keep you in line and prepared for what you have to do.

Forbes characterizes the people on their perennial “30 Under 30” list as motivated by their “ambition and impatience.” When you’re making goals, you’re already asking yourself what you want to set out to do, and how you’re going to do it.

And by asking yourself that, you’re already giving yourself a sense of purpose. You’re not just trudging on with a fuzzy dream of a future; you have a concrete reality that you know how to reach. The latter is especially important because youth is best defined by a sense of being at a loss: Clock how many films with young leads in this decade alone have been about disillusionment and not knowing where to go.

Of course, it’s important to make sure your plans are flexible. You might figure out that the goals you made when you were 18 don’t apply anymore when you’re 28. And that’s totally fine. If you come to that point, then it’s time to set new goals.


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