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Graduation is the beloved (and sometimes bittersweet) ending of an educational journey. But also the exhilarating beginning of another. Of something big, and exciting, and…sometimes darn well scary. But it seriously doesn’t have to be! Whether it’s the beginning of college, or the beginning of ‘adulthood’, plunging into the unknown can be the greatest adventure yet. But you won’t know where you’re going if you don’t have a plan. Or a road-map. Or…well, goals! (If you’d like a Goals for Graduates Workbook for FREE to follow along in, go HERE!)

So what kind of goals should graduates have?

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Well, they really need to include these goals at minimum:

1.Education: I know, this seems unnecessary if you’re graduating from college, but hold up just a sec. Yeah, you may have just finished your undergrad degree, but do you want to go further in the future with your education? Do you want to supplement your degree with other training? What else do you want to learn?

2.Career: Most grads already have been in the job search mode way before graduation. But are they thinking about where that job will lead? Some things to really ponder over are whether the place of employment has opportunities to move up–if that’s the company environment your grad wants to stay in. Is this job just a stepping stone? Is it an easy way to get into the field and learn the basics before applying to other bigger and better (and hopefully better paying) jobs? Or could it be a learning journey to see what you want to narrow your career field into? All these questions should be thought over and defined to get a real, workable plan in place.

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3.Finances: I sincerely hope your grad isn’t in debt already like I was upon graduation. Now that I understand credit cards, I am actually angry that campuses allow students to just sign up in 30 seconds for a credit card with no education, and not a care in the world whether or not they know what they’re getting into. That happened to me–true story. My parent’s didn’t teach me squat about debt or credit cards, and I took the opportunity for free money and ran with it. Until it caught up to me.

What I wish I had known was this: (A) Credit cards are the devil. (B) I needed to learn to budget (C) I should have been tithing (D) I needed to have a formula for saving (E) I should’ve had an IRA already started (F) I needed financial goals to work with.

Dave Ramsey is one of the most prominent financial gurus on the planet, and I tout his teachings to anyone who will listen. The adults that usually resort to him are so far in over their heads that they are desperate. Don’t let your graduate get to the point that they are desperate! Teach them in advance how to manage their money! (And if YOU are the graduate reading this– LEARN how to manage your money!–and then also pass that knowledge down to your kids.)

4.Friends/Family: Sometimes the pressures of a new job (especially if it’s in another city or state than where you were in school or are from) can create what feels like ‘drifts’ between you and your friends and family. Graduates especially need support from them in this time period. But they also need to realize that stresses like this are part of real life. Everybody has ‘stuff’ going on all the time. Everybody is busy. The fact that your grad is going through it for the first time shouldn’t be an excuse to lay down on the ‘job’ of putting in time with friends and family. They never went anywhere…and to be honest, keeping in touch will be a very grounding thing in this transitional period. Help them find time and a way to stay connected! (And not just on social media!!)

5.Downtime: Ok, we’re not going to pretend that partying isn’t one of a graduates goals from the get-go. What we do need to define is that he/she needs to determine a REAL form of downtime that rejuvenates. A day of Netflix binging with no social media; A spa treatment; A day to really sleep in and just stay in PJ’s all day; A mini-vacay; A day back home with mom and/or dad to just get treated like a kid again. These kinds of things are way more beneficial than younger people realize, and as parents, it’s up to us to make them understand. I promise you that those folks that drag the heavy partying into their late 20’s and 30’s either already regret or will regret not finding a more nourishing way to get some downtime from work and stress.

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These are just your basic goals for new and young adults. And for us seasoned parents, these may seem a little silly at first, but remember that these beautiful young people have their whole lives ahead of them still. They need guidance. These goals are a starting point for learning how to have structure in their lives. Ambitions. Plans. GOALS. (God knows I wish I’d had somebody help me with this at that age!! Seriously, I could be President by now.)

What kind of graduation goal advice are you giving? Let me know, I wanna hear!!

Need a workbook to structure your goal setting process? Get that and MORE by going HERE!

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