“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Think of goals as resolutions, making one’s mind up to accomplish something of personal importance all wrapped up in one word. School-wise, it might be finishing a tough assignment or book or an all-out effort to bring up a grade instead of giving in to the lure of texts, social media, and Xboxes.

Indeed, make goal-setting a Labor Day weekend ritual for you, your kid, and/or students, thus setting the tone for what’s to come in the upcoming school year.

After failing to make it to the big leagues in his 20s, Jim Morris tried again at 35 and made it to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a pitcher. This is what he had to say: “You need to have a series of goals to get you to your major goal. Break down big goals and take it a little at a time. It doesn’t matter how you get there. There will be ups and down in everybody’s life. It just matters that you don’t quit and that you do get there.”


** 1. To be successful, first decide what exactly you want to achieve.

** 2. Motivate yourself with the promise of a reward. Renowned author Paula Danziger buys herself a piece of jewel, then gives it to someone to hold on to until she finishes the book she’s working on.

** 3. Make goals attainable but moderately challenging. Remember, self-esteem comes from attempting a challenging goal, working hard, and finally either accomplishing it or knowing you gave it your best shot, like raising an algebra grade.

** 4. Make goals both specific and positive, as in, “I’ll use my time well,” instead of “I won’t waste time. Then follow that up with a plan.

** 5. Give your goals a “due date.”

** 6. Place post-it reminders all over the place, such as the bathroom mirror and fridge door.

** 7. Never accept less than your very best from yourself.

** 8. Share your goals with others; not wanting to disappoint is a powerful motivator.

** 9. After setting a goal, monitor progress in order to stick with it and, if need be, bolster your resolve.

** 10. Replace “I can’t,” with “I’ll do my best,” and give yourself plenty of positive self-talk, much like that little engine that said, “I think I can,” and then went on to get the job done.

** 11. If things aren’t working out, try another route.

As co-founder of the Container Store Kip Tindell reminds us, “Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible.”

Or, as an Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts ad once put it: “Ever heard of anyone dreaming of making it to the middle?”

And so saying, here’s to hard work and learning, Carol