Your goals don’t need to involve flying a rocket to Mars. Start small!

“So, what are your plans after graduation?” Seven seemingly innocent words, but when put together, hold the power to launch your minds into an anxious overdrive.

Two animated characters running around while screaming in panic.

While it might sound unlikely, it is quite common for people to not know what their “goals” are.

So, don’t worry, because most students are stuck in the same boat as you.

But, even if you don’t have your whole life mapped out, setting short– and long-term goals is important for your well-being and success.

Here are some ways you can create goals when you don’t know what you want.

Understand your priorities

Woman nodding and saying, "It's important to me."

Your goals don’t need to be identical to your favourite YouTuber’s or your best-friend’s goals. They are unique to you!

So, rather than trying to follow somebody else’s path, figure out what road suits your life the most.

Try to determine what things in your life hold value for you. Is it your career, self satisfaction, relationships, or financial security?

Once you do this, you can set goals that pertain to your priorities in life.

Create a “likes” and “dislikes” list

A man writing on a piece of paper.

The best way to figure out what you want to do in life is by listing out what you don’t want to do.

For example if your goal pertains to finding a new job, create a list of things you’d like in a workplace. It could be good pay, travel opportunities, creative tasks, friendly work environment, flexible timings, etc.

Next, list out things you wouldn’t like in a job. Is it excessive travelling, independent work, math (yup, you could leave trigonometry back in school) or irregular timings?

Comparing these lists will help you identify jobs that satisfy your wants.

Narrow down your choices based on your priorities and likes

Woman picks up a large board and says, "Um, I narrowed it down to a few options."

Now that you’ve got your priorities and likes figured out, use them to shortlist what best suits these needs.

In terms of finding a new work place, make it a goal to settle in industries or companies that fulfill these expectations.

Network with people working in your interested field on LinkedIn to get a better understanding of the different roles offered in each industry.

Develop a few major skills

Animal climbing a tree.
Text: Skilling up!

Work on developing skills that can help you achieve your goals. For instance, if your goal is to eat healthier and cutdown on takeout, learning to cook is essential. Whether you want to develop these skills from watching YouTube tutorials, reading cookbooks or simply trial and error, get out there and get cooking!

Likewise, if you have certain career goals, developing skills that apply to a variety of different job positions can be extremely helpful. You could look at free certification websites and select courses that pique your interest. This will upskill you and look great on your resume!

While these tips can’t spell out your wants like ‘The Mirror of Erised,’ we hope they helped you narrow them down.

And, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how big your goals are or how early you decide on a set career path. All that matters is you set goals that make you happy!

Along with technical skills, it is important to develop some soft skills too. Here’s how you can use them!

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