Headmaster’s Assembly – 29 September 2017

Dreams with Deadlines

The title of my address this morning comes from a quotation by Diana Scharf Hunt who coined the phrase “Goals are dreams with deadlines”.

As you move forward in your career within the school so you should start thinking ahead of what you are trying to do – I want to be a Prefect, I want to play first team, I want colours etc etc. To set goals for yourself is something we keep getting told what we should be doing yet are not too sure what and how to do this – hence my use of the phrase “dreams with deadlines” for you today as part of some advice on goalsetting:

  1. Be Realistic

If you have never obtained over 50% for Maths in your life then to set a goal of 80% is being unrealistic and you are setting yourself up for failure so set smaller goals. I wanted to be a professional golfer once I became 50 years old and play the senior tour but I am simply not good enough so that goal was unrealistic. But, I do know that I can set myself a goal of lowering my handicap my two shots by next June because I can do it.

  1. Control the Goal

To say one of your goals is to be a Prefect is quite difficult because you have no real control over that process. You have no control over a voting population. You can be as good as you like and help others but you do not control your own goal. Set goals for yourself that you can reach. Let us say you want to play First team hockey. You are not the selector so have no control over your goal. However, you know that a certain level of fitness is required and there are set criteria for those fitness levels – so many shuttle runs in a minute, so many push ups etc. Use those as your goals because you can see yourself reaching them, you have control. They may or may not lead you on to the next goal but at least you control the goal.

  1. Keep it Personal

It is so much easier to work towards goals if you have set them. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to set their children’s goals for them. Actually, they are not their children’s goals at all – they are the parent’s goals but they are just using the child as the vehicle to achieve them. Seek advice from your parents and involve them but keep your goals personal and according to you.

  1. Mind the Time

The idea of goals being dreams with deadlines puts pressure on us – which is good. It is all very well to say I am going to lose 5kg – but that is simply what I want to do and until I focus on a deadline for doing it I doubt I will. Set time frames for your dreams and mark off as you progress towards these dreams. Takes small steps towards the goal that become bigger and bigger. Turn a fantasy into a reality

I often go and practise golf – I can hit balls for ages. But what am I practising and why? It is said that if you aim at nothing you will hit nothing every time. You will achieve your goal of nothing!! If I hit golf balls, it must be with a purpose – I am trying to fix a specific aspect of my game. If I am playing my saxophone – I must practise with a target or a goal in mind. If I just go through the motions, then my dreams of getting better become impossible to achieve


Be Realistic

Control the Goal

Keep it Personal

Mind the Time

Reflect this holiday – write your dreams down and then write down how you are going to take these dreams and turn them into reality by giving yourself deadlines and small steps along the way.

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