ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

Where are you going this year?

Not having goals is like going on a road trip without a destination in mind.  With the New Year it is a good time to get our bearings.  It’s a time to realize how much power we really do have over our future.  At the request of the Navy Seals, a team of neurologists developed the following steps to achieving goals.

  • Set a reasonable goal.
  • Visualize yourself in the act of achieving the goal
  • Use positive self-talk
  • Check your emotional reactions

Where do you want to go? How can you get started setting goals?Start exploring what interests you! It might be something like writing, filmmaking, art, music, sports, science, or animals.  Investigate these interests further through Service Learning Hours, internships, during your downtime.  If, let’s say you’re interested in animals, see if you can do learning hours at an animal shelter.  If you like to play music, can you play at a senior center? Set up jam sessions somewhere, play open mike nights. If you are particularly good at math, tutor another student. Join clubs that are related to your passion if there are any; and if not, put it out there and start one yourself! When you follow your passion, you will most likely find like-minded friends who will cheer you on and be future resources for you.

What route are you taking? Map-out your potential future.  Using a flow chart or a road map, chart for yourself what decisions you can make today that can affect the future you imagine for yourself.  Take, for example, a high school freshman who wants to go to college and study animal behaviorism but won’t have money for school.  She might start with the end in mind, and ask herself what she needs to achieve each goal.

How can she get the money for college?  Does she have other interests like sports, art or music which could give her a scholarship?

Could she get an academic scholarship?  How are her grades?  What can she do to keep them up?

How can she show her interest in animals now? (Volunteer at the zoo, animal shelter)

What clubs, co-curriculars, and activities can she do now to make herself a well-rounded student?

How will the choices she needs to make about dating, alcohol and drugs help or hurt her future?

Taking It On The Road Researchers in the field of Positive Psychology have interviewed hundreds of Olympic and other successful athletes and performers over the years to find out how they “psych themselves up’ in practice and before their competitions. None said “I imagined myself falling as soon as the race started.” Rather nearly all of them pictured or experienced in their imagination, themselves in their bodies, successfully doing what they needed to do to win. Practice.  Do it and you are it. If you want to be a photographer – take photographs and you are a photographer.

Direction or Detours In his book, The Six Most Important Decisions You’llEver Make, Sean Covey discusses the six areas that are keys to successfully transitioning into young adulthood and reaching goals:

1.School:  What are you going to do about your education? 2. Friends: What type of friends will you choose and what kind of friend will you be? 3. Parents:  Are you going to get along with your parents? 4. Dating & Sex: Who will you date and what will you do about sex? 5. Addictions:  What will you do about smoking, drinking, drugs and other addictive stuff? 6. Self-Worth:  Will you choose to like yourself?

Success is in the trip getting to where you are going. Perseverance is an important trait to cultivate.  It takes years to be an overnight success. Even famous people hit obstacles!Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected 27 times.J.K. Rowlingwas rejected 12 times until the CEO of a small publishing house in London’s daughter read Harry Potter and loved it! Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." Charles Schultz,the creator of Peanuts, couldn’t get his cartoons into his high school newspaper.  And, Walt Disney wouldn't even hire him.Michael Jordanwas cut from his high school basketball team. And to quote ‘Air’ Jordan himself "I've failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed."

Resources and further reading: What Teens Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Shape Your Own Future by Peter Benson, PhD  http://www.search-institute.org/

The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make by Sean Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey http://www.seancovey.com/