Next Steps in Evolving: Goal Setting for Grad School

If you read my last post, you likely caught my word for 2022. Now, I love having a word to guide me through the year, but there is more to that plan than just choosing a word.

There are so many different ways to create goals for yourself, and once you find the way that works for you, it can be powerful. In this post, I will share what works for me. Whether you are doing something small or large, it helps to ask these questions.

Part of evolving is applying for a doctoral program. I am in a position that allows me to get a graduate degree without taking loans which puts me in a unique place. It also allows my husband, a classroom educator, to do the same. Yes, we are both applying for a graduate program. If we both get accepted, it will be a wild ride. I may have to start a book on that whole thing.

There is an ongoing conversation about this, to which we ask the following questions to help us plan for this goal.

Questions to help with specific goal setting

Goal: applying for a doctoral degree

WHO do I need support from?

This support can look different. Who needs to help us with the application (letters of recommendation, editing, mentoring)? Who may need to help us with their time and extra love as we move towards this goal (our families, close friends)?

WHAT do I need to do?

What is needed? Letters, papers, transcripts, a swift kick in the pants? It helps me when I list everything, so I know what I am getting into. I can also visually see what this will take, especially costs and time-related.

WHEN will I check in with myself?

I usually do a self-check-in each 10th of the month, but I do it more often with this. Right now, I set small goals each week and check in on Thursdays. Thursdays allow me to do a catch-all on Friday if needed and set up for the next week. I work from home on Thursdays, so it’s easier to be honest with myself about where I am when I’m in the comfort of my own home. (PS I totally already turned in my application. It’s January 5th. I started writing this on January 2nd. I clearly was ready)

WHERE can I go for inspiration?

Let’s be honest. This is a big goal, and I’m just talking about getting in. Luckily, I have a lot of people I can talk to and look up to who have already done a doctoral program. I made a desktop photo to remind me of it. I spoke it into existence. And I know who to call when I need help with inspiration.

WHY am I doing this?

For me, it’s essential to qualify why I am doing this. I am still writing that piece for myself, but I also know I am doing this because I value education.

HOW will I know I am successful?

What is the measurement of success? You’d think it’s getting into the graduate program, but for me, it’s turning in the application. If I didn’t get it, I tried. I can take what I learned and move forward.

I am successful. I turned in the application. Let’s see what happens.

I’m putting this out in the world because we need to be honest. I have no idea if I will get in. I don’t even know if I have the chops for a graduate program. The last time I was in graduate school was in 2004. But I know that I will try. I will put it all out there. I did it when I completed and achieved my National Boards.

Here we go!

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