Creating Goals and Goal Setting


I am always amazed every year when I talk to a speech camp or club about goals. It’s strange to me to think that so many students are in speech competitions without goals! For me, creating a goal is one of the first steps toward the path of success….

The simple definition of goal from Merriam Webster is- something that you are trying to do or achieve. However, I think most students need to start with setting a goal. The definition of goal setting according to is “a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it.”

How is one supposed to know what they want to achieve with out thinking about it and making a plan? If my goal is to make it to The National Championship, but I don’t plan on putting much time into my speech…  How is that going to work? Or worse, I want to go to Regionals, but I haven’t told my parents and they are planning a vacation that weekend. Goal setting will help you in the long run create those tasks that need to get done in order to achieve the grand prize.

So why do I think goal setting is so important? Reasons to create goals…

1. Creating a goal allows you to be the best you possible.

Sometimes I find kids go into “I don’t care” mode. This is usually a coping-mechanism. Students feel like if they don’t put forth effort, it won’t matter as much- if they don’t do well. However, by creating goals they own what they are doing. They become accountable to their dreams.

APPLICATION- Try choosing a goal to stretch yourself.  By getting out of your comfort zone, you will grow, and potentially become better. Don’t stay safe!

2. Making a goal keeps you focused.

By creating goals you are more likely to keep your eye on the prize. Imagine being a soccer player with out a soccer goal, a basketball player without a hoop? Speech should have similar goals. The goal to break or advance to Regionals or Nationals will drive you, because you will continue to strive toward that goal. By setting goals it allows you to stay focused and gives you a target to shoot for.

3. Sharing your goals keeps you accountable.

Goals are meant to be shared. So many kids I coach don’t tell their parents or peers their goals! What?! Who is going to keep you accountable? If I really don’t want to eat that last piece of chocolate cake, the more family members I tell, the more likely they will help me not eat the cake! Your support system (mainly your parents) want to help you succeed. Be sure to include them on the path. Whether the path leads to success or not, it is always nice to have someone cheering you on, or waiting to give you that hug!!

4. Goal setting keeps you motivated.

Having goals gives you something to focus your energy, your mind, and your emotions on. Setting goals gives students the drive sometimes they will need when things don’t go their way. Having something to strive toward can be just the motivation to make sure what needs to be done.

5. Goals keep you on track.

When you measure your goals progress, you don’t have to start with ultimate goals. You can create small goals to keep you on track. Early in the season you can create target dates and experience the excitement of achievement with each mini goal that will propel you to reach your larger goals.