Goal-Setting for People Who Hate Personal Reflection, Or: How I Finally Sucked It Up and Wrote Down My Goals

By: Meagan Feeser

I've got to be honest: I'm kind of the anti-mentee. A mentor's worst nightmare, if you will. Anyone who's ever given me a review knows I don't exactly relish feedback. When I get an idea in my head, I basically just go for it, pros-and-cons list be damned. I generally don't take the time to sit down and actually think about what I want; I just sort of barrel ahead, and yet I feel like I'm always waiting for the next big thing in my life.

So I knew enrolling in the Mentorship York Class of 2013 would provide a challenge for me. I arrived at the orientation session unsure of what the next year would hold. I left with a DISC Personal Analysis, an introduction to my mentor and my first assignment: set my SMART goals, goals for myself and what I was hoping to get out of my time in the program.

Let’s be real: personal goal-setting is no easy feat. Making sure your goals are SMART--Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Timely--adds another layer of difficulty. I was having trouble getting started.

Luckily, we were armed with The Mentee’s Guide by Lois J. Zachary, kind of the Mentorship York bible. Essentially a workbook for mentoring, it was my Mentorship for Dummies guide to going through this process. And reading through, I came to the horrifying realization: there was no way around it; I was going to have to do some personal reflecting.

I couldn’t determine what goals could help me get to where I want to be... if I didn’t truly know where I want to be. Luckily, one of the first exercises in the book was creating a Personal Vision Statement, a vivid description and detailed picture of your life fulfilled; an expression of the future you wish to have.

Basically, you try to find a stress-free environment (ha), relax and allow your mind to wander. You then ask yourself the following questions:

  • What job are you doing?
  • How are you contributing to the success of your organization?
  • What are people saying about your performance?
  • What impact are you having on the people around you?
  • In what ways have you grown, developed or raised your skill level?

You have to really try to stretch your thinking and not settle for easily accomplished goals. Once you’ve answered the questions, you put pen to paper and write down that vision, in present tense, and there you have your Personal Vision Statement.

Goal-setting comes in when you evaluate what it’s going to take to get you from where you currently are to your vision--how do you fill in those gaps?

I’m not going to lie; it’s not easy. But trust when this anti-mentee says that writing a Personal Vision Statement and setting SMART goals are truly valuable and time-worthy exercises. 2013 was a big year for me, both personally and professionally, and I can honestly say that Mentorship York and the (only slightly painful) process of goal-setting absolutely set me on the right course for success this year. I’m really glad I sucked it up and did it.


Meagan Feeser is a PR and Social Media professional in York, PA. As manager of Restaurant Week York and a co-organizer of foodstruck, Meagan loves all things downtown York. She is a member of the Mentorship York Class of 2013.