Counseling and Wellness

Reaching Higher

Succeed and Lead: Developing Your Resilience CORE

Reaching Higher refers to our ability to commit to those values that are supportive of personal growth and engage in effective goal setting and planning. When we Reach Higher we understand that each failure is a lesson from which we have learned something that can help us to move forward. We will look at Grit in this section.  

A characteristic of people with high resiliency is Grit. Grit refers to a person's tendency to value perseverance and passion for the completion of long term goals. There are five characteristics of people have grit:

  1. Courage - people with grit tend to be able to manage feelings of fear over failure. People with grit are not afraid to fail, they value failure as it is seen as part of the process leading to success (much like a growth mindset - see optimism section).
  2. Conscientiousness - people with grit tend to be achievement oriented and value being meticulous and doing a good job at the task at hand.
  3. Long-Term Goal Endurance - people with grit value perseverance toward the achievement on long-term goals.
  4. Resilience - people with grit tend to be resilient, optimistic, confident, and creative.
  5. Excellence - people with grit tend to value excellence versus perfection.  Perfection is inflexible whereas excellence is ever evolving.

Do you want to find out how you rate on the grit scale? Take a survey.

Grit: The key to success
Michael Jordan Nike Commercial

Nike Advertisement in which Michael Jordan shows his grit. Watch the video and notice when Michael is talking about the five characteristics of people with grit.

Goal Setting

Goal Setting is critical to achieving success. A goal is a specific level of performance on some task that typically has a desired outcome identified within a specific time frame. Goals may be short-term or long-term. Typically many short-term goals are met in pursuit of a long-term goal. For example, a person may have the long term goal of increasing their GPA from a 2.5 to a 3.5 by the end of the next academic year. That would be considered a long-term goalThere may be many short-term goals identified toward the pursuit of that long-term goal. For example, obtaining a grade of "A" in each class, establishing a study schedule, and many other goals could all be short-term goals in pursuit of the long-term goal. The first step in setting goals is to clarify your motivation for success in the specific goal area. To help clarify your motivation, print the What Motivates You (pdfworksheet. Once you have a better understanding of your motivation, you can begin to create your SMART Goals. Review the information below and then complete the Your Specific Goals (pdf) worksheet.

Goal Setting
Setting SMART Goals

Goal Setting Tips

  • Be Decisive: Decide what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
  • Stay Focused: Sustaining your focus from beginning to end determines the timing and condition of your outcomes.
  • Welcome Failure: Never accept failure, but rather anticipate failure and obstacles and then redirect resources to grow from the experience.
  • Write Down Your Goals: People forget things. Write down your goals. It makes them real and a more formalize commitment
  • Plan Thoroughly: Planning saves time and gives you a clear path to your success. Proper planning prevents poor performance. 
  • Involve Others: Nobody goes through life alone. Involving others makes your commitment to your goal even stronger. Surround yourself with people whose wisdom, knowledge and character you respect to help you achieve your goals. 
  • Take Purposeful Action: Success is not a spectator sport - achievement demands action.
  • Reward Thyself: Rewards work! Think of what you will give yourself as a result of your hard work, focus and persistence - you deserve it! 
  • Self Reflection and Evaluation is Key: The Shelf life of all plans is limited. No plan holds forever because everything changes. Inspect your goals frequently and closely, it's an insurance policy on your success.
  • Maintain Personal Integrity: Maintain your commitment to your commitment. Set your goals, promise yourself that you will achieve them. Eliminate wiggle room and excuses.That's personal integrity! 

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

SMART Goals is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.


  • Set a precise goal of exactly what you desire to attain.
  • Give your goals a specific date, time table, and amount.
  • What are you trying to do?
  • Why is it important to you at this time?
  • How are you going to do it?
  • Write you goal as a positive statement (“I will….”)


  • If your goal is not measurable, it is not manageable.
  • Choose a goal with measurable progress, that way you can see the change occur.
  • Establish concrete criteria to measure your goals.
  • When you measure your progress you are better able to stay on track, reach your target, and enjoy your accomplishments.


  • Identify a goal that is important to you and find the means to make it a reality.
  • Develop the attitude, skills, abilities, and other tools necessary to achieve your goal.
  • Your goal should stretch you slightly and will require a real commitment from you.
  • If your goals are not realistically attainable, you will have greater difficulty committing to their attainment. 


  • Realistic is not a synonym for easy – you will need to develop the skills and do the work!
  • Set a goal that you can attain with some effort. Setting the bar too high sets you up for failure, while setting it too low sends the message you are not very capable.
  • Devise a plan.
  • The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment.
  • Plan out potential obstacles and how you will overcome them, if they arise. 


  • The difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal has a DEADLINE!!!
  • Without a time limit the commitment is too vague and tends to disappear. Applying a time limit gives you a since of urgency and a push to take action.
  • Putting an endpoint to your goals gives you a clear target.
  • Give each goal a priority (this will help you from feeling overwhelmed by too many goals).