Bright futures require planning

How old will you be in five years? What will your life look like at this point? Will you be graduating from high school, enrolling in college or trade school, getting married, getting a job, buying a car or moving out?

The things that you want for yourself in 2013 are essentially goals that you could be working on right now. Just having a goal and the desire to work toward it may not be enough.

You need a plan.

A plan is like a roadmap guiding the way to get you to where you want to be. It contains all relevant information such as alternate routes, shortcuts, possible detours, possible obstacles and helpful landmarks.

To make a plan, first choose goals. It can be for any area of your life, from school to work, love, friends or family. Then break it down into smaller goals.

For example, if your main goal is to be working full-time in five years, your smaller goals could include identifying which type of jobs best fit you, learning skills that could help you be a better candidate for a job, and learning how to compose a resume and complete an application.

Creating a plan is more than listing all the steps you need to take to achieve your target. Also list the relevant things and people in your life right now. Think carefully about each one. Are they helping you move closer toward your goal? Or are they hindering you from getting there?

Also look for obstacles to your goals and the ways to overcome them or go around them to get to your objective. See if you can anticipate potential detours down the road. If you can, it will be a good idea to formulate some back-up plans.

Finally, expect the unexpected. Life can throw you twists and turns on the road toward success. It is almost impossible to predict these surprises. Rather, learn how to react by regaining your balance and resuming your progress. You cannot control life’s events, but you can control how you react to it and rebound from it.

In the right situation, be comfortable with modifying or changing your plan. The most successful approach to goal setting is to be grounded and anchored like a rock, and flowing and flexible like the water.

As you can see, formulating goals and a corresponding plan forces you to look at your life more closely. It asks you to take an inventory and evaluate the people and activities with which you are involved.

If you are willing to take on this challenge, you will have fun days that also have direction and purpose.

Remember to utilize your resources with any of the above steps, including your school counselor, an uncle, a mentor, the library or the Internet.

• Tram Vuong Meadows is the Therapeutic Foster Home Program Therapist for Hale ‘Opio Kaua’i. She can be reached at, or Hale ‘Opio Kaua’i Inc., 2959 Umi St., Lihu’e, HI 96766


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