Our goals are our hopes and dreams for the future, and they tell us a lot about the things that are important to us. Many Study Work Grow students choose to use our Goal Generator to set their goals, and we are able to view the complied data to get an idea of the kinds of things students are working towards.
We grouped their goals into a few key areas:
Achievement goals – these included things like finishing school, improving their grades, starting a business, and getting a job
Lifestyle goals – goals related to fitness and wellbeing, buying a car or house, travel, and family-related goals
Self-image goals – these goals included helping others, become wealthy, find new friends, or go to TAFE or university
We found that, in general, they just want to be happy at work.
Australians are pretty lucky when it comes to our quality of life; Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace found that our life evaluation score is almost double that of the global average (60% vs 32%). Our students share this desire for a good life – they want to get a good job, earn an income, and look after their community. Here are the key themes that we found:
Students want to find a job they enjoy
Sure, almost every student has a goal to ‘get a job’, but many of them had criteria for the kinds of jobs they want. They’re looking for good, secure jobs, that let them pay the bills and live the kind of life they want to live. They also want to find purpose in their work – around 20% set a goal to help others – and some also wanted to protect the environment.
They are focused on their grades
Over half of all students set a goal related to their academic achievement – in fact, grade-related goals were the most common overall. Students who wanted to improve their grades also had a plan to go on to further learning, either at university or through VET, and they also had goals around wealth and home-ownership.
Finding a job is far more popular than starting a business
Despite the influx of entrepreneurship programs in schools, students were 5 times more likely to list ‘find a job’ than a goal related to running a business. There was some suggestion that students have a perception that it is more difficult to start a business than find a job, and students would sometimes qualify this goal with phrases like ‘if possible, start a business’, which didn’t appear anywhere else.
They want security over leisure
Even though they’re still at school, they’re already thinking years ahead. For example, 1 in 4 students set a goal directly related to building wealth, and 1 in 5 are thinking about buying a house. In contrast, only a few students set goals related to travel.
They care about their health and wellbeing
Many students set goals to get more sleep, eat well, do more exercise, or look after their mental health; all our messages to look after yourself must be getting through. There were more goals related to health than wealth, home ownership, car ownership, or even finishing school, which is an indication of the value students place on being healthy.
Goals are only an indication of the things students wish for, and their dreams may not materialise. Obviously some dreams are going to be easier for them to achieve than others – it’s much easier to purchase a car than it is to secure a home loan approval – but overall I’ve got to say I was impressed. There were very few frivolous goals, and the vast majority were linked to achievable, realistic, and measurable outcomes, which is excellent because the simple process of writing down your goals improves your chances of achieving them. These students have a great future ahead.
Download the Insights Report (PDF) here