4-H'ers Set Goals

Why Goals?

Setting goals is simply deciding what you want to learn and do. Having goals is like a road map. It is a tool that helps you plan how to get to where you want to go. In 4-H we talk about setting both Personal Goals and Project Goals. These goals should be written at the beginning of the 4-H year and recorded on the appropriate 4-H Record Keeping Form.

Keep reading to learn how to write a measurable goal and how to give your goal the control test. Remember, once you have set your goals, YOU have to make it happen!


Personal Goals

Personal Goals help you think about what you can do to become a better person. Personal Goals should be recorded on 4H-93 "Personal Goal Record", the buff colored sheet that goes in your Record Book. When writing Personal Goals, consider such things as:

  • Meet new friends
  • Attend 4-H Camp or State Conference
  • Learn the 4-H Pledge
  • Be a better listener
  • Give an educational presentation
  • Sit quietly at 4-H meetings
  • Start early on your Record Book.


Project Goals

Project goals should be written for every project area you are enrolled and should be recorded on your 4-H Project Record (Basic, Experienced  or Advanced.) Project Goals help you think about what you want to do within the project area. Some examples could be:

  • Visual Arts - Learn about the Elements of Design and Art Principles
  • Food & Nutrition - Learn how to run small appliances
  • Photography - Learn about the rule of thirds
  • Beef - Train your market beef to lead
  • Woodworking - Learn about different types of wood


How to Write a Goal

Goals have three parts that can be measured or checked. Think about the three parts of a measurable goal:
1) the action: how you are going to do it;
2) the result: what you will do;
3) the timetable: when you plan to have it done. 

For example, for the goal, "I want to train my 4-H market heifer to lead before county fair," I want to train is the action portion of the goal.

What a 4-H'er intends to do is the result -- my 4-H market heifer to lead

When is the amount of time it will take to complete the goal -- before county fair.


Control Test

If you are not certain that you can carry out a goal easily, you can give it a control test. Do YOU have control over what you want to do? Does the action part of your goal tell what you will do? You have control over a goal such as "I will learn to put in a hand sewn hem." However, if the action mentioned in the goal is what someone else will do, it does not pass the control test.

The goal statement, "I will have a champion steer at the Cass County Fair does not pass the control test because the judge provides the action that decides whose steer will be the champion.

Do your goals pass the control test?

Sometimes goals change during the year. That's okay! Maybe you couldn't go to camp like you wanted to because your family was on a vacation. Or maybe it wasn't possible to take your dog to obedience training because she had puppies. Just write about why your goals changed. Not everything we plan turns out the way we had planned. Explain why, and set some new goals for next year.

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