Something about the new year makes people want to think about setting goals to be accomplished in the next coming year. My students’ goal (and mine for my students) is very straight forward – PASS THE NCLEX. But how is that done when it can seem like such a monumental task? Especially when you didn’t pass the first time.
In this blog post I’ll discuss how to turn a huge goal of passing the NCLEX into smaller goals that make the process easier to handle. It’s called using mid-level and base-level goals to reach the final goal. But let me tell you two little stories first that emphasize the process of NCLEX Goal Setting.
Story #1: Lab Goal Setting
I have a dear friend that started a company about 5 years ago. He’s an entrepreneur engineer and is building a lab that tests electric engines. It’s a big project and there’s lots of details to make sure that everything works. He’s the accountant, engineer, salesperson, customer service, website builder, marketer, and general problem solver of his company.
Building a lab isn’t a straight forward process. There is no Youtube channel that shows you how to do it, other big companies aren’t going to send someone to show him how to do it, and there’s a major learning curve deciphering blue prints. Then when everything is somewhat put together, the computer doesn’t work right, the connections are bad, the phone is ringing to acquire about opening day, and more things need to be welded together. Wow! That’s a lot of work and he has yet to make one cent yet from his company!
I asked him once, “Why don’t you write out everything you need and how much money you’ll need? Sorta like a business plan so you can tell people when you’ll be able to take clients?” He replied with, “that’s too depressing to think about. I’ll never do it if I think about it that way. I just want to do everything in smaller steps. Eventually it will be done.”
As you can see this is a monumental project. The process has to be done in small steps to make it manageable, just like passing the NCLEX.
And when his business is ready to launch it will be a major milestone and huge success. And when you pass NCLEX, it will be a major milestone and huge success.
However, my friend is still as excited today as he was five years ago when he started it. Why is that? Remember, he hasn’t even made a dime yet. He keeps the big picture in sight. Soon, he will benefit from all his hard work.
Write out your goals
The key is that he writes out little goals every month. He keeps the big picture in mind, but focuses on small steps. He knows it’s going to take a while. I call it Lab Goal Setting. This is what motivates him. For example, he will say he needs $3000 and such-and-such materials this month. He gets the money, buys the supplies and puts it together. Goal accomplished, cross it off the list. Then he works on the next goal. He is one step closer.
He keeps the big picture in mind, but works on it in small steps! This year, his goal is to have is lab up and running to take his first client.
Story # 2: Financial Goal Setting
Another example I came across is when Investing with Rose talked about this on her channel: Financial Goal Setting. She was $80,000 in debt from school and it was a little overwhelming for her. She wanted to be a millionaire, but how could she even think about that with a net worth of negative 80,000?
I related with Rose because I was $70,000 in debt from nursing school. I needed small goals to pay off the loan or else it would just depress me thinking about the overall amount. But over time, I saw the numbers go down and eventually (last year), the loan was paid off. I kicked Sallie Mae out of my house for good!
Rose set realistic goals:
- Goal #1: have a net zero worth (this can be a great feeling because it means you have no debt)
- Goal #2: save and invest $100,000
- Goal #3: save and invest for a total of $500,000
- Goal #4: save and invest for a total of $1,000,000
Rose’s big goal is to be a millionaire but she knows that it has to be done in smaller steps to feel (and know) that she is accomplishing it.
NCLEX Goal Setting
It’s really hard to know where to start if you failed the NCLEX. However, it’s important to work on small goals. Those quick wins feel great and keep you motivated. These quick wins will change your behavior.
Everyone has their own idea of what kind of goal will make them feel like they’ve accomplished something. You don’t want to make your NCLEX goal too small, but you don’t want it to seem like it’s impossible. Your NCLEX goal setting will be different from someone else’s too. We are all unique individuals with unique circumstances, so tailor your goals to fit you. You’ll nee some help though.
You will want to be specific with your NCLEX goal setting so that you can getting working right away! I break up NCLEX goal setting into 3 categories:
- The Final Goal
- Mid-level goals
- Base-level goals
The final goal is to pass NCLEX!
Here are some mid-level goals and base-level goals together to see how it works.
Example 1 Goals
- Mid-level goal: finish 3000 NCLEX style questions from every section of the test plan or system
- Base-level goal: do 100 questions a day for 30 days
Example 2 Goals
- Mid-level goal: read through all the chapters in the Saunders book (about 1000 pages)
- Base-level goal: read through 2 chapters or 30 pages a day and write notes for 33 days.
Example 3 Goals
- Mid-level goal: Get >70% correct consistently on all practice questions
- Base-level goal: get at least 50% questions correct for 1st 20 questions of a topic; 60% correct for 2nd set of 20 questions and 70% for 3rd set of 20 questions.
Example 4 Goals
- Mid-level goal: Go through all flashcards to learn content (about 3000 flashcards)
- Base-level goal: go through 100 flashcards a day for 30 days
As you can see, you want to be specific. You want to know how much you need to do and how long it will take you. It’s important to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or else you’ll continue to stumble in the dark unsure of where you are going and when it will be over.
Think of your goals, make them specific and cross them off when you finish that goal. Think of what is ahead of you and before you know it, that big goal of building a lab, becoming debt free or passing the NCLEX will finally be accomplished.