Not Your Ordinary Post About Goals

It’s a new year and a new decade and we can’t hide from posts, articles, and videos on goal-setting.


Students are usually asked to write goals at the beginning of their academic year and sometimes they revisit those goals. You probably remember a lecture, presentation, or article explaining why goals are needed, how they should be written, and how to make your ideas ‘measurable.’


That’s a great approach.


Here’s something different for pharmacy students: Brain Dump.


1. Use a blank sheet of paper or a laptop/tablet.

2. Set aside a few minutes (preferably longer) of alone time.

3. Write or type everything that’s on your mind. Imagine a closet full of your ideas, dreams, and desires and you’ve just opened the door. Don’t miss anything. No thought is too big or too small. Anything from ‘doing laundry before it’s needed’ to ‘be the president of APhA.’ Get it all out – especially your really BOLD ideas. What’s something so big you haven’t even told anyone? Want to be a better public speaker? Write that down. Want to spend more time with family? Write that down. Want to be on the Dean’s List? Write that down. The point is – get it out of your head and written down in one big messy list.

4. Now take all of those ideas and make 3 lists: Personal, Professional/Career, and Everything Else. Create another category if you want.

5. Pick ONE item from each list and move it to the top.

6. What is your NEXT BEST STEP to achieving that goal? Want to exercise more? Schedule a workout in your calendar. Want to do research before graduation? Email a professor or advisor to learn more about how to start. The key here is not to focus on the end yet – just the next best step.

7. Everyday – go back to your 3 lists.

a. Which ones do you want to make a habit? Write “H” next to those. Those will need some time on your calendar – you decide on much and schedule it in.

b. Which ones do you want to achieve but won’t necessarily be habits in your life? Everyday pick one of those items (from any list) and take one action towards that goal. An email. A phone call. A google search. A sentence on a paper. A lecture to review.

8. What about those big bold goals – the ones so private that we keep to ourselves? Same idea – if it’s a habit you want to form, then it gets scheduled on your calendar. If it’s a futuristic-I-don’t-even-know-if-it’s-possible dream, then it’s small action steps to get you closer to find out.


This approach is not perfect. It does not guarantee success. It relies heavily on the user to open up that closet full of one-size-does-fit-all-dreams. It relies on the writer to ponder WHAT DO I REALLY WANT vs what everyone else wants.


Is life stuff happening to you or do you want to make stuff happen in life?

I’m looking for 5 volunteers to try this list-writing exercise and email me your thoughts! 21stcenturypharmd@gmail.com

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