Make your goals come true

by dr. Martina Horvat

Make your goals come true

“When you walk, follow your way to the end.”

Tone Pavček, Slovene poet


As we walk through our lives, there are many different situations – more and less positive. In every stage of life, we have some desires to change, to grow. We set goals. Sometimes these goals are small in everyday life (e. g. cook lunch) and sometimes goals are more extensive (e. g. find or change a job). Any discrepancy between the real / current and the ideal / desired state has a motivating potential.

Follow the steps, how to make your goals come true:

  1. Get to know yourself! Research what you actually want and need. Find out what areas you are competent in. Many times it is enough to think about yourself and your potentials, and also you can find different tools to get to know yourself even better. However, it makes sense to ask yourself: (1) Who am I (my personality)? An individual’s characteristic pattern of cognition, emotion, and behavior that is relatively constant over time, along with the psychological mechanisms on which that pattern is based (e. g. different levels: appreciation for a variety of experiences, planning ahead rather than being spontaneous, being sociable, energetic and talkative, etc.). (2) What means a lot to me (my values)?  Notions or beliefs about things that are life guidelines, principles of our conduct (e.g., work, family, health). (3) What drives me forward (my motives)?  Factors that encourage and guide our behavior. They can come from ourselves (internal motives, e.g. satisfaction for a job well done) or from the environment (external motives, e.g. payment for work done). (4) What interests me (my interests)?  The work should contain as many tasks as possible that make you happy. Doing what you love means that you do your work with enthusiasm and that you invest all your love, energy and creativity in it. (5) What I know and I can do (my competences)? The ability to do something and actually do it in a given situation (e.g. English language competence may mean that you know how to have an appointment with an English-speaking person in a work environment).
  2. Explore the opportunities in the area! What resources from the environment can help you to be more successful in studying, working, looking for a job? You may study together with a colleague from the year, find an interesting challenge at work and make contact with the employer with whom you have always wanted to work.
  3. Set your goals correctly! The goal should be SMART: Specific - define specifically, what you want to achieve; Measurable - prepare criteria for progress and goal achievement, Attainable - work towards a goal that is challenging, but possible, Relevant - be honest with yourself (e. g. you know what you and your team are capable of), Time Bound - give yourself a deadline.
  4. Cope with stress effectively! Use more problem-oriented strategies (e. g. looking for solutions) and fewer ones that serve only emotional relaxation (e.g., seeking emotional support from friends). The latter should serve us only as a bridge to the initial crisis, and then they must necessarily follow the activities that lead us to the goal.
  5. Define the steps to the goal! Consider what you have already done to achieve your goal and identify what else you will do. If you feel that you have already done everything in your power to achieve the goal, you can consult with the career counselor to consider meaningful activities to achieve the goal.
  6. Adjust the plan according to the situation! Check over and over again, how close you are to reach the goal and depending on the progress, adjust the activities that still need to be done in order to really achieve the goal.
  7. And you are at the finish line! When you reach the goal, be proud of yourself and reward yourself. This way, you will move towards new goals with more motivation.

T. Pavček concludes his poem The Wayfarer: ”If you’ve failed the first time, the second, then, in attaining sorts and summits you pursue, try again, once more, and anew.

I agree, what about you?



  • Gabor, P. in Dolinar, B. (2012). Kaj si želim in v čem sem dober. Ljubljana: ZRSZ
  • Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding motivation and emotion: 5th edition. NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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