• Think Twice

Let's Talk About Goals!

- by Tracey Baxter, Certified Educator (Dibbles Institute) As a high school student, I felt like life couldn’t get any more complicated. Get up, go to school, hurry to this class and that class; did I finish my homework? When the bell rang the gears changed to: take sis home, change clothes, go to work; when will I get my homework done? I felt like I was always running around for everyone but myself. The reality, though, is that the high school years are fun and exciting. There is an endless supply of possibilities. And, really, there are only three major life events any high school student needs to focus on.

1. Get an education

2. Establish a career

3. Getting hitched (married)

Let’s talk about goals, shall we?

Why worry about setting goals? We could just let life happen and see where it takes us. The only problem with that approach is that, as Forest Gump so eloquently put it, life is like a box of Jelly Bellies. You never know what your going to end up with. But isn’t that what makes just letting life happen so exciting? Sure, if everything manages to work out. What if it doesn’t? Goals are important because they give us direction and greatly increase the chances of living a successful, well managed life.

Our journey to success begins with an education. I think we all know that getting a high school diploma or GED is a must. Without one of these credentials the best a person can hope for in the employment sector are lifelong entry level positions that pay low and do not offer any sort of benefits. Dude, finish high school!

So, we know high school is important (whether we like it or not), but what about higher education? Do college degrees or technical training really make any difference? YES. Guys, if you want to support a family one day, you will need at least some college or training. You can’t buy your girl a nice and secure home without the moola! Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy pretty much everything else. Ladies, being a stay-at-home mom is great! I did it for 14 years. But if that role isn’t in the cards for you, think about how much better off you and your family will be with two great incomes. It might be hard to see now, but your level of education will influence most areas of your life, so go as far as you can.

True story: When my kids were about 3 and 1 years old, my husband was suddenly laid off from his job. He found a new one right away, but it didn’t pay enough. So, I had to find a job too. I had my high school diploma, but no one would hire me because I did not at least have a 2-year college degree. On top of that, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for daycare if I did find a job. It was a tough time. Don’t be like me. Keep learning!

Once you finish college or a training program, you’ll be set to find a great career. Jobs come and go, but your career is usually consistent up to retirement. Oh yeah, and you’ll probably have a retirement fund now that you have that awesome position you worked so hard to earn! Congratulations! Young men, at this point you will be feeling pretty good about yourselves. And why not? You just made yourselves into very attractive eligible bachelors. Cool it gals. By working through a higher education program yourselves and landing your desired careers, you’ll give those fine boys a run for their money. Wait, I thought that kind of excitement only happened in high school?! I guess the fun is just beginning, because now you have the freedom and funds to play with.

- Education

- Career

Now what? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage! Okay, not so fast tiger. I realize some of you will not marry one day. It’s not a requirement for living a happy and fulfilled life. So why is marriage one of the 3 major goals? Because if we’re honest, most of us want a life-long committed relationship one day. Therefore, it’s important to be proactive in shooting for the best possible outcome. Go on, take that bull by the horns!

Imagine this scenario: You’re in love with your high school sweetheart. You hope you’ll be married, have 12 kids in a cute little house with a white picket fence. But your heading in different directions. Your sweetheart wants a simple life and has no desire to seek higher education. You are already enrolled in a technical training school. The two of you don’t break up, but your so busy now with your studies that you begin to drift apart. Your sweetheart is working for minimum pay and still living with mom and dad so there’s enough time and money for partying. You spend all your time working and studying. Then the relationship ends. But you’re not as heartbroken as you thought you’d be.

Finally, you graduate and start working at an amazing place that pays well and offers lots of great benefits. You’re feeling pretty good about your future, and the hottie working next to you everyday just gave you their phone number. You might ask yourself, “what if we start dating, and it lasts a long time, and there’s feelings and stuff?” “What if we decide to get married?” Oh yeah, you’re done with school, you have a good career, a stable income, and much to offer.

Surprise! You are in a great position to begin a new relationship!

Keep in mind, though, that we are taking about marriage. A mutually monogamous, lifetime relationship. Not cohabitation. With cohabitation there is no real commitment, and these types of relationships are more likely to end in separation with children involved. Sounds fun, right? No. Just no. I have never known a cohabiting couple who stayed together and were happy. Is it possible? Sure, but do you really want to experiment with your life and most likely the lives of your future children? This is one situation where everyone should go with what we already know works, and that’s to avoid cohabiting relationships.

What do you think about all I have said? If you agree, disagree, think I’m loony, don’t be afraid to speak up. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on why goals are important and whatever else you might like to add about education, finding a good career, and marriage.

Until next time guys and gals, stay in school, don’t do drugs, and buckle up. Life is a bumpy ride!


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