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Goal Setting for the Newly Graduated - WTI

Updated on December 21, 2012

The initial years after graduating college can lay the foundation for the rest of your life. There are some important things to think about when you are imagining how you want your life to go. I have witnessed people who took the time to plan things out and set challenging yet achievable goals for themselves. I have also witnessed people who choose to live stagnant lives by not setting goals and plateau while others improve. The actual goal setting is not very difficult. Sure it requires some time of contemplation and planning but it is well worth the time spent. Working towards your goal is much harder. It takes time and commitment to not give in to vices that may cause you to fail. Below are some (hopefully) helpful tips that I've learned to help you set and achieve your goals. I will break down some ideas into different categories. I will attempt to make the tips and descriptions as broad as possible so they can be adapted to any life outlook or goals. However, this hub will be geared towards people who have recently graduated from college (typically around 22 years old). I will also add my experiences as I am 6 months out of school and living on my own (as of Dec 2012).

It is important to remember that these tips and ideas are in accordance to what I have experienced as new graduate. I do not deny that the content of this hub can be completely biased to what I strive for and how I view the path I want my life to take. Please take these ideas for what they are worth, my opinion and experiences. I apologize if I offend anyone or make any inappropriate assumptions.

Thank you for checking out my hub and please leave any feedback when you are finished. Thanks! :)

This hub is inspired by the Weekly Topic Inspiration (WTI) for the week of Dec. 17th, 2012 (Setting Goals). Check out the forums for more WTI posts!

Tips & Ideas

  • Somewhat needless to say but get a reliable job that can support whatever goals you want to reach
  • Spend a significant amount of time developing your goals - if you have a partner, discuss your goals with them to get perspective, even if it is an individual goal
  • Make goals related to growing out of dependency (support yourself as opposed to your parents or guardian)
  • Establish layered or phased goals - make a larger goal and achieve it by accomplishing smaller goals
  • Set realistic goals with realistic time frames
  • Establish goals that are necessary to achieve other goals - a reliable job to afford another goal
  • Make achieving a goal some sort of game or contest so that you can set milestones or events periodically towards your goal - challenge others to help push you towards reaching your goal - these ideas will keep you motivated to your reach your goal


Below are some goal categories with some of my thoughts and ideas. I apologize if I miss anything. Again, these ideas can manipulated into however you view your life and personal goals. Some of the content below can (and probably will) be biased by what I view as favorable. Please don't take these suggestions literal because the goal of this hub isn't to tell you what to do but, instead, give some, hopefully, helpful tips and suggestions. I am sorry if anything seems presumptuous.


Reliability and consistency is most important for your early financial and employment goals. Get a reliable job that you can count on and have a steady income with. In a newly-graduate's early career it is about getting your foot in the door more than getting a "grand slam" job that pays extremely well. Establishing a resume while I was in school helped me be prepared for my actual career once I graduated. I was able to gain practical knowledge and build connections that could help me getting a better start with a full-time job after school. As finances go, it is important to continuously know where you stand with bank accounts, bills, loans, etc. There are many tools that can help you keep track of this and I use a budget spreadsheet that lists monthly expenses with income. Accumulating debt can be a dangerous pitfall, especially if you are new to paying for things yourself or having your first credit card. Make sure everything important (necessities) are paid for first before unnecessary items are purchased, especially with a credit card.


If starting a family is important to you, anything to accomplish starting a family should take precedent over other things. First, you will obviously need a partner. If you are looking to be married, you would traditionally need an engagement/wedding ring. I would recommend setting a goal to find and finance a particular ring to make sure you can obtain the goal and ring. After this you would normally finance whatever wedding you have in mind, a.k.a. another goal. If it is possible and decided that the two of you live together, that would be another goal. This would probably need to be done in order to start and build your family. Finally, you'll want to finance the birthing expenses as well as future expenses for your child. Basically, setting goals to start a family requires numerous smaller steps and financial stability. It is important that you can manage your finances effectively as the cost of these steps can be rather large.


Now there are countless health and fitness aids out there. Depending on who you are and what you're trying to do, you can pick whatever aid would help you the most. In my opinion, anything that tracks your progress or gives you milestones works excellently as far as keeping your motivation high. I would also recommend making your own milestone goals until you are able to achieve your ultimate goal. It can be difficult to maintain any kind of workout program after you are out of school and not part of a large group of people with similar needs and activities. Here, it is important to make sure that your health and fitness is really important to YOU and not just important because of what other people think about your fitness level. Goals important to you without any other interference are easier to stay motivated about.


Obtaining or purchasing different items and products also needs to be financed appropriately (see Financial section). Making sure the item you are about to purchase can fit in the budget can make or break you financially. Even small items that don't seem like much of a risk when you purchase them can accumulate quickly and blow through money needed for necessities, especially if you are not tracking your money on a regular basis. If money needs to be saved to acquire this item, it is important to stay informed about how much money you have and if purchasing the item is even feasible on your budget. If the item is particularly expensive (like a house or car), you need to make sure you set payment goals for what you can afford on a monthly basis or in total.

In my opinion, materials should always take a back seat to more personal and emotional aspirations, like family, learning, or becoming successful. Materials are okay to strive moderation. Materials can also be items you create and can reflect you as a person. Creating something requires less financial preparation (maybe) and requires more time and work based goals. Since you are not simply paying someone for the work, you need to find the time and energy to build whatever the item is. Again, milestone goals can help if the item is particularly daunting to build/make.


Most goals can be accomplished with the above suggestions and tips but the characteristics of a goal depends on what the goal pertains to. Time, energy, money, commitment, and sub-goals required are all variables that need to be considered when trying to accomplish anything. Laying out a plan of attack and periodically checking your status on progress towards the goal will most likely lead to a more efficient way of accomplishing your goals and may help you stay focused and accomplish your goals more often than getting sidetracked.

My Experiences

Very early on I knew I wanted to go into IT so through school and took computer classes and majored in Computer Science. Starting before my freshman year, I began working IT jobs and eventually an internship. From there, I graduated and acquired a full time IT job with a reliable company. That was probably the earliest and most important goal in my life up to this point. I have also been a relationship since high school and made a goal to marry my then girlfriend, which I am happy to say that I will reach that goal in June :). After college I knew I wanted to be officially on my own and start supporting myself. I achieved this by moving into my own place (with my fiance), building my own credit and buying my own things or paying bills. I am looking forward, now, to building a family and evolving in my career to better support my future wife and kids.

For me, my ultimate goal is to have my own family and children and watch them grow. From when I started making my own goals (probably in middle school) until now, starting a family has been the highest goal I have had. Practically, anything I do, besides a couple hobbies, is done to bring me closer to my family goal. My degree, my job, my work towards becoming independent are all in reality steps to achieve my highest goal.

While there are many goals and aspirations someone can have, I have very few but they are extremely important to me and need years of motivation and work to achieve. Setting and achieving a goal is all about finding what you want and not stopping until you have it. If you really do not care about the goal, you aren't going to be motivated to accomplish it.

I hope you enjoyed and learned something from this hub. Please leave any feedback you would like. Thanks for reading! :)

Would you use any of the tips and ideas in this hub?

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