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This book chapter teaches you how to measure your progress as you reach for your goals




5, 6, 7, 8  

Title – Goals – Measuring Your Progress
By – John Bishop
Primary Subject – Other
Grade Level – 5 – 8 
Topic – Goal Setting for Students

Message from

      Mr. Bishop told us that he spent 1½ years writing the book,

Goal Setting for Students

      , with the input of over twenty-five professionals with advanced degrees in teaching and curriculum development. He is sharing this free sample chapter with us and of course, he hopes you will invest in his book. If you are so interested, more information about his book follows this useful chapter/lesson on

measuring your progress as you reach for your goals


Introduction: So far, we have learned that there are many definitions for success. We have discussed how to set a goal, what action steps are, and the importance of setting a target date for completing your goal(s). Also, we have learned about the importance of investing in yourself with positive messages.

      As you begin to use goal setting as a valuable tool in your life, it is important to


      check your progress toward reaching your goals. There are five ways to measure


      your progress:


    • Reality time
    • Checking your self-image
    • Taking responsibility
    • Completing your specific action steps
    • The importance of helping others

Reality Time:

      Reality time is a time to look at yourself in a mirror. It is an opportunity for you to look at how you are doing in reaching your goals. It is a time during each day when you take a couple of minutes for yourself a time to reflect on how your day is going. You can do this by finding a quiet spot where you are alone – yes, alone.
      Take a couple of minutes to stop the day’s activities and answer two important questions:


      1. Am I giving my best effort to today’s activities?
      2. Am I making progress toward reaching my goal(s)?


    It is important to be honest. Sure, you can make excuses or blame others for not reaching your goal. Yes, you can be dishonest about your effort toward reaching your goal. But, why? You will be cheating yourself? This is your life, your goals, and your success. Take a few moments each day to give an honest review of your efforts. Make it a habit to ask these questions about your effort everyday. You will find they are important to your success.

Checking Your Self-image: In the last chapter we discussed the importance of investing in yourself with positive messages.

      To reach your goals, it is very important to have a positive mental attitude. One good way to check your progress toward reaching your goals is by checking your attitude. Do you have a positive attitude? Are you using more of the positive “I’ll Make it Happen” words and less of the “Bummer” words? Words that can hold you back? (Author’s note:

The Bummer Words are no, never, can’t, won’t, maybe and if

      Let’s say that you have set a goal to get a “B” on the report. You were given two weeks to complete the project, but now with three days left you have barely started on the report. Suddenly your goal turns into a nightmare. Now you start using inner voice (

discussed in Chapter 4 – Invest in Yourself

      ) messages like “I’ll never get this done.” Or, “if only I had enough time to complete the assignment.” My personal favorite “Maybe I can start tomorrow.”
      As the pressure increases to get the report completed you start using the negative “Bummer Words” as excuses. And, if you answered the two key reality time questions, you would have to say no that you had not given your effort. What to do?
      Change your inner voice messages and get busy. You can still reach your goal, but this measurement check suggests that you need to make some changes to get there. Take a couple of minutes to write down a plan for completing the report on time and done correctly. Eliminate the “Bummer” words. Use the positive “I’ll Make it Happen” words (

yes, I can and I will

    ) and start working your plan. Yes, it will be a little more difficult with only three days left, but you can do it.

Taking Responsibility:

      Measure your progress toward reaching your goals by taking more responsibility. Do you ever get tired of hearing “do this,” “do that,” and, “don’t do that?” It’s maddening sometimes, isn’t it? But, have you ever stopped to think about why your parents, teachers, and other adults are always “after you?” Is it possible they are trying to help you? How can that be?
      You will find that in reality there are very few people who are looking for ways to specifically “nag you.” More often they are trying to teach you important lessons that will help you later in your life. How does taking the trash out, studying for a test, or doing homework help you learn about life? It’s called responsibility.
      Taking responsibility is doing something without being asked because you know it needs to get done. As you get older, you will be asked to take on more and more responsibility, and it is important to learn how to do it. If you know you have to take out the trash, practice your piano lesson, or do your homework, and you don’t – you are not taking responsibility. Don’t wait to be asked over and over again. See what has to be done, or how you can help someone else, and do it.
    One way to tell you are growing up is when you start to take responsibility for yourself without being asked fifteen times. Want to stop “people hassling you all the time?” That’s easy – show them you are growing up by remembering to do something without being asked over and over again.

Completing Your Action Steps:

      The fourth way to measure the progress toward reaching your goals is with the action steps. Remember that action steps are like the steps of a ladder with the goal at the top. You develop a specific plan for reaching your goal by writing down the goal, making a list of specific action steps, and setting a target date.
      Completing each of the action steps is an excellent way to measure your progress toward reaching your goal. Let’s say your goal is to earn $100 to buy a new bike. You may decide that your action steps will include finding three neighbors’ lawns to mow per week, putting an ad in the paper for babysitting jobs, and washing the family car each week. You have set a target date to complete your goal to earn $100 by July 15th.
    By the end of June, if you have not put the ad in the paper and are mowing only one neighbor’s lawn, you are going to have problems reaching your goal. As you complete your Action Steps, you will be able to check your progress toward reaching your goal.

Helping Others:

      How often are you helping others? In today’s world there are plenty of people who belong to the “it’s all about me” club. Many people mistakenly believe it’s a “me, me, me” world and stay very focused on themselves. These people miss a really important part of life – helping others.
      It is important for you to help others. Successful people set goals. Successful people measure their progress toward reaching those goals. Successful people enjoy their success, they have many friends, they have a good self-image, and they know the importance of helping others. Help others for a richer, fuller life.
      Let’s review the important components to measuring your progress.


    1. Make your reality time count. Be sincere about your efforts toward reaching your goals.
    2. Each time you complete one of your action steps you are getting closer to your goal.
    3. Always have a positive mental attitude.
    4. In place of “Bummer Words”, use positive “I’ll Make it Happen” words – yes, I can, and I will.
    5. Enjoy life to it’s fullest by helping others.

Real World Example:

      Anita was a good student and wanted to fit in with the other students at her new school. Unfortunately, she had a negative self-image. She thought the other kids would not like her as much because she wasn’t like they were. Because she didn’t feel good about herself, she used a lot of Bummer Words in her inner voice messages on the way to school.
      Some of her negative inner voice messages included: “I won’t be able to get them to like me,” “I can’t,” “I’m afraid,” “I’ve never done that before,” and “if only I could.” These negative thoughts were holding Anita back from reaching her goal of fitting in at the new school. She was letting her fears stop her from trying.
      Anita realized that she needed to take some responsibility for not fitting in. During her reality time she realized that she needed to make some changes. In those quiet moments she had to be honest with herself that she was not giving a 100% effort to meet new kids and that she was spending too much time thinking negatively.
      She talked to a school counselor who told her that she was a really neat person that the other kids would like. The counselor reminded Anita that she was good at computers, a good student, and that she was probably one of the best girls soccer players in the school. Anita realized that the counselor was right and that she had a lot going for herself. When she thought about it she realized that she was too focused on the negative thoughts. Further, she realized that she should have been thinking about all the positive things she had going for her, like being good at computers and soccer.
      Anita decided to take the responsibility to change her self-image. She decided on several action steps. First, she decided to minimize the “Bummer Words”. Each day she kept a count of the negative words she used. Anita made a point to use at least one less “Bummer Word” each day. Also, she replaced them with positive up-beat “I’ll Make It Happen” words – yes, I will, and I can.
      Her second action step was to meet at least one new person at school a day. Once she started to meet more kids she found several students who shared her interest in computers. She also learned that the kids liked her a lot more than she thought they did. Third, Anita realized that one of the best ways to improve her self-image was by helping others. If she was helping others, Anita realized she would be too busy to worry about whether she was fitting in. Anita’s fourth action step was to join one of the school organizations. She chose the drama club.
    After a couple of weeks Anita had met a lot of new students and was helping the drama club build a new background for their school play. She was so busy she forgot about trying to fit in. Anita reached her goal of fitting in because she took the responsibility to set a goal and develop a specific plan with action steps. Before long Anita was accepted at school and felt good about herself again.

Points for Discussion:

  1. What action steps did Anita create to reach her goal of fitting in?
  2. This may shock you, but your teachers have goals for what they want to teach you. These goals are called lesson plans. Teachers write lesson plans for a day, a week or a month. How do you think your teachers can measure progress toward reaching their goals for your class? (Hint: Tests are one example.)
  3. In this chapter, we learned that it is important to help others. How can you help your teacher? What action steps can you and your classmates take to help your teachers reach their goal?
  4. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Experience is just mistakes you won’t make again.”
    Joe Garagiola

    What did Joe Garagiola mean? Can you give an example to illustrate this idea? What might make someone afraid to fail? What action steps could a person take to overcome fear?

  5. Earlier we discussed the importance of “reality time” and being sincere with yourself when answering two questions:
    1. Am I giving my best effort to today’s activities?
    2. Am I making progress toward reaching my goal(s)?

    Considering your efforts in class today, how do you answer these

  6. “Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid.”
    Albert Schweitzer

    Do you agree with this quote? How can you implement it into your life?

  7. Develop a plan to help someone (or an organization) for one week.
    1. Name the person or organization you will help:
    2. Your goal – what will you do to help them? Will you include others in this effort?
    3. What will your action steps be:
      1. ______________________________________
      2. ______________________________________
      3. ______________________________________
      4. ______________________________________
    4. My Target Date to complete the goal: __________

    This is the end of the sample chapter.

Message from the Author:

      Accent on Success (Copyrights Reserved) is a nonprofit dedicated to helping teenagers succeed in school and in life.
      The book,

Goal Setting for Students

      , now in it’s third printing, helps teens learn how to stay positive, how to measure their progress, how to identify and meet various challenges and how to get started.
      Previously, your read a sample chapter entitled: Measure Your Progress. I hope you enjoyed it. Following this section, you will find the book’s table of contents.
      If you have any questions, please contact me at:

      John Bishop


      Executive Director


      Accent on Success


      St Louis, MO 63104



Table of Contents

Chapter Highlights:

      1. What is Success?

      • Success means different things to different people.
      • Success is setting and achieving your goals.
      • Success takes desire, planning, and action.
      • Success means reaching your goals even when the going gets tough.


      2. Principles of Goal Setting

      • Why goals are important.
      • Difference between a goal and a dream.
      • The four key elements of goal setting.


      3. Samples & Practice

      • The importance of stretch goals.
      • How to develop an I’ll Make It Happen attitude.
      • Sample and practice goals for each area – school, personal, and sports/hobbies


      4. Investing in Yourself

      • The Bummer words that hold you back, no, can’t, won’t, maybe, never, and if
      • The importance of being positive.
      • How to improve your self image.



Measuring Your Progress Toward Reaching Your Goals

      • Two essential questions to ask each day to keep you focused.
      • How to take more personal responsibility.
      • Why helping others is important


      6. Meeting the Challenges

      • Identify potential roadblocks to your success.
      • How to change roadblocks into minor setbacks.
      • The importance of eliminating excuses.



    8. Book Summary

E-Mail John Bishop !

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