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Start the school year
by writing
a letter
to yourself

Writing a goal letter to yourself is a powerful writing exercise and a great way to start the school year right. It goes a step beyond just writing down a goal and a few steps to achieve it.

Get some nice paper and your favorite pen. This is a special letter, so you should do a nice job on it. You can also do your letter on a computer.

Identify an important goal for the school year – something you'd like to learn more about, get better at, learn how to do, or even a fear you'd like to overcome. The goal can be academic, or personal related to your physical health, relationships, emotional growth, hobbies or activities, or service to others.

Once you've identified a goal that's important to you, write it down and why it's important to you. How do you feel about the goal now? Does it make you feel excited? A little scared? How do you think you'll feel when you achieve it?

Next, write down the specific steps you need to take to achieve your goal, in the order they need to be taken. Ladder to the Stars and Believe, Do, Think may give you some ideas. Coming up with the steps not only helps you achieve the goal, but also helps you evaluate whether or not it's realistic to achieve it within a certain time period.

Achieving an important goal is never easy. Write down what you're willing to give up to make your goal a reality. What will you do when you hit a rough spot? Come up with some strategies for getting through a tough time. From Gray to Green and Goal-Busters and Goal-Getters may give you some ideas. If you know ahead of time that it won't be easy, and you have a plan for getting through, that helps a lot.

Write down the names of people who can be on your Dream Team. You can't achieve a dream on your own. You need help – sometimes just someone to talk with, other times help like getting a ride to a lesson or practice. Different people may be able to help with different parts of your goal. Who can you count on to help you achieve your goal – a teacher, parent or grandparent, friend?

End your letter by writing a promise to yourself that you will achieve your goal by a specific date, like the end of the school year.

Put your letter in a place where you can read it at least once a week. Read it when you feel good to keep yourself focused on what's important to you and why. Read it when things aren't going so well so that you can use your strategies to get through the tough times and get help from the people on your Dream Team.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org


Optional – computer


Schools (language
  arts; life skills)
Youth groups