Hitting the spot

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 September, 2005, 12:00am

Four Young Post readers took part in this year's Summer Challenge. They had a meaningful summer holiday by setting a target and challenging themselves to reach their goal within eight weeks.

We are very impressed by their effort and determination.

When it comes to setting goals, many people tend to aim high but fail to achieve their targets. An experienced social worker suggests starting with small, achievable goals.

She said we should follow the 'Smart' rule when mapping out our strategy - 'S' stands for 'specific', 'M' for 'measurable', 'A' for 'as of now', 'R' for 'realistic' and 'T' for 'time frame'.

'Our goals should be specific, solid and clear,' said Hsu Siu-man, unit head of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups' counselling service, Youthline.

'You may want to do well in school but how? Perhaps it's better to say: I want to score 75 points in a particular subject.'

It is easier to evaluate our progress if our goals are measurable.

'It is best if your goals are indicated by numbers, such as losing 10 pounds or consuming no more than a certain number of calories a day,' Ms Hsu said.

'If it's measurable, you will be able to monitor your progress and see clearly if you're going to make it.'

Ms Hsu believes we should break down our 'ultimate goals' into smaller, short-term ones.

'For example, you want to become an astronaut in future. That's a meaningful goal. But you can't achieve that overnight,' she said.

'You should break it down into something you can achieve now and work your way up step by step.

'You may instead plan to do well in science subjects or take up astronomy courses for beginners. This is more realistic.'

We should set a time frame for achieving our goals - the shorter the better - Ms Hsu said. Once we set a target, it is always important to seek support from others.

'Even if you are confident, you still need support. Share your goals and dreams with your friends, parents, teachers or even social workers. Having someone believe in you is perfect moral support,'

she said.

'You get others' opinions and may find you're on the wrong track, so you must be flexible and ready to revise your targets.

'You will learn a lot from constantly reviewing your progress and revising your goals. You have

to accept the fact that you can't always achieve exactly what you

aim for.

'If you fail, you fail. It's not the end of the world. Learn from it and start again.'