Colin Walsh/ Class 2: Goals

by Colin Walsh

64. What values might lead a person to success upon release from prison?:

A man’s thoughts become his values, his values then become his actions and his actions collectively become his life. So in order to lead a life of success one must begin focusing on their thoughts.

One must begin thinking with the end in mind by setting goals. If one thinks they are going to be a failure or if they are unsure, then how can they be anything better than what they expect.  If one wants to succeed they must think and commit to success. Every great work is created twice, once in theory, and once in practice. In order to succeed we must first create our lives in theory by creating goals, before creating it in practice. Thinking of success is the first step leading to success.

Thinking and working toward the end result and creating goals will lead to the creation of ones’ values. If one focuses and constantly works toward the end result, then he is going to automatically live values that will march him closer to the end result. If the end result is success then one is going to automatically live values that will lead to success.

Values can change for different people. Everyone is different. There is no perfect recipe for success. But values that are going to lead to success have to begin with ones’ thoughts of success, everything else will soon follow.

65. How does a person ever become his values?:

One becomes their values when they constantly live a life in accordance with defined goals. By living day by day step by step toward a goal one will become his values.

It is easy to profess to live certain values but talk is cheap. Action is the only way to become anything.

Taking action toward a goal is a good way for one to become their values. Goals create values and living in accordance with those goals, will force one to become their values.

66. How does a person strengthen his integrity?:

Integrity is defined as adherence to a code of values. In order to strengthen ones integrity, a person must prove to be living in adherence to a code of professed values.

It is not enough to just talk about living these values. One must prove to be living them, through constant action, toward defined goals. A person that says they are going to do something but never does weakens their integrity. But a person that says they are going to do something and executes it,  strengthens their integrity. Doing this consistently over time will build unyielding integrity

67. What immediate challenges will a prisoner confront the day his prison term expires?:

The exact second that the final grain of sand falls of the hour glass of the prisoners sentence, he is casted of into society and cut off from the government’s support. The subsequent challenges an ex prisoner will face are numerous.

Six months prior to one’s release a prisoner has the opportunity to go to a halfway house. The halfway house is intended to help ease the transition into society. But the onerous rules and regulations prevent one from doing much of anything. Working within the rules while transitioning into society, is a challenge alone.

After one’s six months of halfway house time is over, they are kicked out of the nest and are expected to fly. At this point a prisoner either sinks or swims. He must obtain income, secure shelter, food, clothing, hygiene items and everything else that the government once provided them with. A prisoner can no longer depend on the stability of the government. This is a great challenge and a great burden. The only way to counter the challenge is through careful planning.

68. Housing:

Depending on a prisoner’s circumstances, a prisoner needs to accumulate some amount of money to use upon release.

A prisoner’s first responsibility upon being released from prison is to obtain shelter. The most realistic approach is to rent or lease an apartment or home. Depending on where one wants to live, monthly rent can be anywhere from $500- a few thousand. Most reasonably one could expect to pay about $1000 for rent. Along with rent one could expect to pay for amenities such as internet, phone, and cable, those could add up to as much as $500. I would predict that one would have to save $3000 to obtain and sustain safe housing. This estimate includes first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit plus utilities.

69. Household furnishings:

house or apartment, they are going to have to furnish it. These things can add up. TV’s, computers, couches, chairs, beds, tables, shelves, lamps, and appliances can rack up a huge bill. I estimate that all of these items, even buying low end, will add up to around at least $6,000.

70. Clothing:

Clothing is another item a prisoner must think about. If one has been in prison for decades the styles have changes dramatically; yes MC Hammer pants are out and a prisoner can no longer wear one khaki uniform or a sweat suit every day. So he must prepare. Buying clothing in lump sums is very expensive. If one wants to be respected they must buy clothing that deserves respect. This means buying suits, professional casual clothes, casual clothes, workout clothes, socks, underwear, dress shoes, sneakers, and accessories such as jewelry. A prisoner who is leaving prison with no clothes can expect –if wanting a respectable wardrobe—to pay $3000 to start and expect to triple that over time.

71. Transportation:

Obtaining transportation is a key to success. It supplies a person with the freedom to go to where they want when they want. Without personal transportation, one is a slave to the public transportation system and their schedule not their own. It is near impossible for one to succeed without their own transportation.

Therefore, it would be wise for a prisoner to save some amount of money for a car. In order to secure a reasonable monthly payment – having little or no credit– one will most likely have to put a lot of money down upfront, as a down payment. I predict as a safe guess 40%, for a $12,000 used car one could expect to pay $4800 upfront for the down payment. Then a monthly payment of $150 per month for five years. This is only at an extremely low interest rate if interest rates rise the payment would be higher.

One is also required to have insurance in order to legally drive. It is advisable to obtain full coverage is if one is financing a car, because they do not fully own it. Full insurance can cost $2,000 a year or $170 per month. But with no driving record and a criminal record one could expect to pay more.

After obtaining a car and insurance, the money doesn’t stop flowing. Having a car requires constant care, which requires constant expenses. One would be wise to have a contingency fund to cover the cost of repairs, parts, and other things the car will need over time.

With all of these things taken into consideration, a person should save about $8,720.00 to start and that amount includes $4,800 down payment, six months of monthly car payments, which equals $900. 6 months of insurance payments which equals $1020 plus $1,000 for a contingency fund. This amount is a safe estimate for a person to obtain safe, reliable, and respectable transportation. But it is only a start, a person can expect to pay double that over the next two years.

72. Incidentals:

Incidentals are probably the most important aspect of one’s savings, because without it one cannot survive.

Incidentals include everything from food to going out to the movies, and includes everything in between that one needs to sustain life.

I feel a persona should save at least a year’s worth of incidentals. At the very least one must have $500 a month in order to survive but one should expect to pay closer to $1,000 a month if they want to live more comfortably.

73. How much in the way of financial resources should a prisoner expect to need in the way of financial resources to transition to society?:

Acquiring all of the previously mentioned things will be an ongoing process. It will take time. In reality, not many can save enough to immediately obtain everything all at once.  But one being released from prison does still require some amount of startup capital. I would estimate that for one who is starting from nothing, they would need close to $10,000 just to get started. That would cover the startup expenses of an apartment, a down payment on a car, some decent clothing, and other remaining expenses. Anything less than having $10,000 would pose many difficulties and prolong the entire process.

74. How will prospective landlords, employers, creditors, and others in society respond to an individual who discloses his criminal record(s) and history of imprisonment?:

Unless they are somehow empathetic towards ex-prisoners; creditors, employees, and others alike are going to stereotype and prejudge someone who has a felony on their criminal record. This is inevitable. Society already has a preconceived perception of all prisoners, as being useless. They have a mentality that once a criminal always a criminal.

I know for me, most employers won’t look past my application, all creditors will be weary and others in society may shin and avoid me. This will be a constant battle that I will fight daily. I am going to have to spend some amount of time proving that I am not a criminal. Proving that I am a human being who committed a crime once, served his time productively, grew and prospered through adversity, is now ready to bounce back to society and live a successful life.

Describe the job market in the sectors for which you would like to find employment::

75. What range of income does the market offer?:

I believe that my best chance for success lies within myself. I cannot waste time trying hopelessly to find decent employment from someone else. I have to make it happen myself therefore I aspire to start my own company. Then I can hire myself, and not worry about obtaining employment from others.

Some call this being an Entrepreneur but that is just a fancy word for one who assures risk to make money. An Entrepreneur can make a variety of incomes. A figure cannot be placed on it. It can be anywhere from 10 made by the guy down the street who decided to quit his job and start selling widgets on eBay to 25 billion made by Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook who created the site from scratch in his college dorm room. The range of income is whatever one makes it. That is the great thing of running your own company. You get what they put into it.

76. What level of education or experience do candidates for such employment typically have?:

There is no education or experience requirement for an entrepreneur but having them both always helps.

Being an entrepreneur is very instinctual. No level of education or experience can make you one. One can learn all of the ratios, equations, and techniques in school and still fail to succeed in the field.

For example, Steve Jobs quit college and had little experience and Bill Gates was the opposite. But now Apple is far surpassing Microsoft in the field, because Bill Gates may be a complete genius but Steve Jobs was a better entrepreneur. Many entrepreneurs are not college educated and are not experienced, and just as many are both. Therefore, I believe that education and experience are somewhat irrelevant. Being a successful entrepreneur begins within education and experience must follow that will.

77. In what ways will a prison record influence possibilities for employment?:

One of the great benefits of being an entrepreneur is that I will be working virtually as my own boss. Therefore gaining employment won’t be a problem, because I can hire myself. But even being my own boss, my criminal record may create some future challenges.

An entrepreneur’s ultimate boss is the consumer. Therefore, I must please them and gain their trust. Knowing that I have a criminal record could weaken their trust in me. This initially can pose a challenge.

Also being an entrepreneur requires one to be a great networker. This means I will have to communicate contact and build relationships with many people: suppliers, creditors, other businessmen, consultants, and many others. If my criminal record were revealed, they can lose trust in me or may not even want to deal with me. Dealing and overcoming this second prejudice is one other future employment challenge.

Although I may not have to satisfy a prejudicial Human Resources Representative, as an entrepreneur, I still have many others to please. Having a criminal record places me somewhat behind in the race. Those are the challenges I must recognize, face, solve and overcome.

78. Where is the general employment rate in your community?:

I personally don’t know the exact unemployment rate nor does anyone else.

The figure the government releases has been wavering over the past few years between eight percent and ten percent as a national average.

I feel this is a misnomer because there are many variables not taken into consideration.

I believe the actual nation unemployment rate is much higher per capita. The numbers that are released are polished and manipulated to look better.

The local unemployment in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania that is higher than the national average. The rate given is 8.7%. The county I expect to move home to is one of the highest unemployment communities in the country.

Regardless of the actual rate, the unemployment is high and I don’t see any reprieve in sight.

79. How would you expect the general employment rate to compare with the unemployment rate for people with your background, considering prison record, educational record, and experience?:

For me, my background doesn’t exist. I will be 25 years old, have no specific job experience, have merely a high school diploma and a criminal record on top of all that. I expect the unemployment rate for that specific background is much higher than the general average.

But in the field of entrepreneurship, unemployment doesn’t exist. It is either 100% or 0% because as a entrepreneur, one is either employed or isn’t. But either way it is their decision. Therefore I don’t believe the unemployment rate will affect me directly.

80. How much time do you anticipate needing between your release date and securing the job you expect to land?:

Time is definitely one my side. Upon being released I won’t immediately be forced to fend for myself; Because of my supportive family. I will have my lowest needs taken care of; thus allowing me to focus on my higher aspirations. Therefore I will take advantage of this time to build credentials, experience, and trust in society I estimate this will take approximately 3 years.

I estimate this time based on this calculation.

The first 6 months I will busy appeasing the halfway house financially and psychologically. Doing this will probably prevent me from doing much that will help me reach my ultimate goal. Although hopefully I can use this time to attend college while at the halfway house. That will be the first step toward my goal. Six months late upon leaving the halfway house, I will still be attending college. I expect—if the college accepts all of my previous credits—that I will be able to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in two years following graduating is when I become completely focused on my future career. By this time I will have narrowed down what business I want to establish. I will have the plan in place, I expect it will take about another year to get the business up and running.

Also during these three years I will be networking ridiculously. Doing this will help me gain trust in society and will help me establish contacts for future endeavors.

Time can be one’s best asset or one’s worst liability. I expect to use it for all that it is worth, building. I said previously while in prison I am laying the foundation brick by brick. These subsequent three years, I will begin to erect the walls board by board at the end of these three years; I will begin to put on the roof. Life is a process and one cannot skip essential steps.

81. If halfway house placement requires forfeiture of 25 percent of gross earnings, of your monthly take-home pay, how much do you anticipate you will keep during the time you’re in the halfway house?:

During my stay in the halfway house, I don’t expect to save anything for a few reasons.
First, I don’t expect to obtain a full time job so that I am able to attend college fulltime. Therefore, I won’t make much.

Also, part time jobs usually offer low wages so per hour, I won’t make a lot initially.

From the money that I do make, twenty- five percent goes to the hallway house and about thirty percent goes to taxes. So if I make $9 an hour for 25 hours per week I would make $225 per week minus thirty percent for taxes minus twenty-five percent for my contribution to the halfway house. I can expect to take home $123.75 per week. At this rate I can only expect to make $434.13 per month and $2604.75 for the six months I will be in a halfway house. That money will be barely enough to pay to sustain life at college. Therefore I don’t see myself saving anything more than a few dollars during this time. And at this point I am okay with that thought.

82. What do statistics show that average households in America earn each year?:

The government statistics show that the average income for Americans is about $50,000. Some make billions, some make $5,000, the average is the middle. Poverty is now considered earning below $20,000 for a independent person. Being rich is considered making over 250,000 per year. The stats are endless and tend to change every year.

Upon the first year of release, I expect to focus more on schooling and less on making money. I won t make much but I won t need much either. I expect to earn just enough to survive. I estimate to make $10 an hour for 25 hours per week. That will earn a gross of $250 per week minus about 20% in taxes and 25% contribution to the halfway house for the first 6 months I expect to net $137.50 per week, $595.38 per month, and $3572.25 for those 6 months. For the second half of the first year I will no longer pay 25% to the halfway house so I will net $200 per week. $866 per month, and $5196. Therefore for the first year I expect to earn somewhere around $8768.25.

Relating to the national average, what I will make will be 82% below the average and it is even 56% below the poverty line. But considering that I won t be totally financially independent the statistics don’t really relate to me directly. And the money that I do make will be enough to survive while I am in school.

83. How so you anticipate your income will compare with that average one year after your release from prison?:

SEE ABOVE

84. What emotions do we introduce when we obsess on issues beyond our ability to influence?:

Focusing on issues beyond our control is like trying to move a brick wall. You can push and push. It isn’t going to move, you can stand there and punch, kick, or curse it; it still won t move. You can run 200 yards. Full speed into it, it still won t budge. At the end of the day, the wall is still there, you are tired, bruised, and angry, and you wasted the entire day. The next day only gets worse. You become more tired, more bruised, and more angry and the wall is still there. Day after day you languish and nothing is changed. Eventually when your body and mind cannot take any more you will give up and feel hopeless.

This concept applies the same to issues beyond our control. Many focus all of their energy and all of their time to something they cannot change. They end up eventually beating themselves down physically and mentally, constantly trying to change something that cannot be changed.

This constant effort without results induces anger and frustration. Anger and frustration leads to more anger and frustration which leads to despondency and depression, which leads to lack of motivation and laziness.

85. How can we overcome the despair that accompanies imprisonment?:

One can overcome the despair of prison by simply focusing on things within their circle of control. All too often, one obsessed about the things outside of that circle such as their location, housing conditions, and other amenities. A prisoner – no matter how much worthless paper work they file—can never change these conditions. They cannot receive more phone time, they cannot receive more visiting time, some cannot move close to home or go to a camp, they cannot choose what they eat, or where they sleep and ultimately they cannot change their sentence. These things are the metaphorical brick wall. If one removes their focus off of the wall, they can avoid despair.

Psychologist and ex holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl describes it best with his theory of logotherapy, which is about finding meaning in any situation. Frankl explains that, “one cannot always avoid suffering but he can choose how to cope with it.” In other words, one may not be able to change certain conditions but they could change how they react to it. By focusing on things they can control will eliminate despair. A prisoner may not be able to change the amount of phone time allotted to them, but they can maximize and appreciate the time they do have. The same goes with visiting hours also. One may not enjoy the food and not be able to change it. But they can appreciate the food they do receive –for free—and realize there are starving people in the world that didn’t commit a crime. A prisoner may hate being away from the outside world, he cannot change that condition, but he can enjoy the solidarity and use it to focus on things he wouldn’t be able to do in his life without it. And ultimately one cannot change their sentence only how they choose to serve it.  The list goes on endlessly.

There is always two sides to every coin but one can only see one side at a time. One must choose the side they perceive. Focusing on the side that invokes positive feelings and meaning will eliminate the despair of prison.

In prison, a prisoner loses most of their control. Their circle of control shrinks significantly. Many lose sight of the simple fact that one never loses control of themselves and no matter what happens, one never loses the control of how they react to any situation. Hanging on to this small amount of control and avoiding things one cannot change will destroy all despair and despondency of prison.

Michael wrote about the numerous ways that his behavior could lead to the extension of his prison term or the aggravation of his prison conditions. No one wants to serve longer prison terms or serve sentences under harsher conditions. :

86. What types of behavior lead to such outcomes?:

The behaviors that can lead to either a prisoners sentenced being lengthened or to harsher conditions is vast. They fill four or five pages of every prisoner’s handbook. But these hundreds of punishable offenses can all be enveloped by one characteristic and attitude. This attitude leads to punishable behaviors, which can lead to a harsher conditions and a longer sentence.

This characteristic is personified as the ostrich that stick their heads in the dirt in fear. A prisoner that sticks their head in the dirt and tries to hide from the pain and suffering of prison loses focus on the future and sticks their head deep into the present. Doing this forces prisoners to indulge in the pleasures of prison.  They enjoy the instant gratification and ignore the consequences of their actions thus ignoring the future. Focusing on the daily life of prison and ignoring one’s potential future tends to lead to behaviors that can lead to harsher conditions or longer sentence.

Some examples of this are:
Jim is  72 years old and enjoys watching the Price is Right every Wednesday morning.  While Jim is watching TV, John comes in and changes the channel. This situation can go one of two ways. Jim can either concede or fight for his TV watching privileges. If he concedes now John controls the TV until someone challenges him. It is like the childhood game of king of the hill. Now a week later Shane comes along and tries to change the channel. John though, doesn’t back down and they end up fighting. Shane loses the fight and has a black eye and a bloody lip. Later, the Lt. at dinner sees Shane has a black eye and takes him to segregation. They lock the entire unit down to check everyone’s hands and bodies to see if they have any bruises. John has a scratch on his face and a swollen hand. They take him to segregation unit also. Shane and John are later found guilty of fighting and are punished with one year in segregation and loss of good time and a $300 fine thus extending their sentence and making conditions more harsh. This becomes a lose/ lose situation. Now they both must spend one year under harsher conditions and also extend their sentence.

Or this example: Roger is new in prison. He meets some guys that play poker. Roger is depressed and wants to blow off steam so he starts playing with these few guys. Shane plays all day and night, but he loses more than he wins but keeps taking more chips to play. He assumes he is playing for fun. At the end of the week someone brings Roger a bill for $1000 and tells him where to send the money. Roger can barely afford to survive in prison. Shane is now forced with a problem. He can either “hustle” something and earn the money back or someone is going to come and beat him until he pays. Either one of these decisions can lead to harsher conditions. Either way his life just became more complicated.

One final example is about Rich. Rich has no outside income. He is new to prison and has a ten year sentence. Rich sees some of the other prisoners in his unit always wearing new shoes, new clothes, and lockers full of commissary. He knows they too have no income coming from the outside. He asks some of them how they make their money. One guy tells him he is a good gambler and makes it gambling. The other guy says he steals food from the kitchen and sells it. The third guy says he sells drugs that someone else sneaks in. Rich is really intrigued and he really wants the extra money. He eventually tries all three examples.  The first gets him in debt with the bookie, the second gets him a “shot” for stealing which loses him good time and sends him to the segregation unit, and the third gets him a new federal offense and adds 5 years to his sentence.

All of these stories happen every day in all prisons. And each event was caused by indulgence in prison. Jim, John, and Shane wanted to indulge in the TV, Roger wanted to indulge in gambling, and Rich wanted to indulge in commissary items and money. This lack of focus on the future will always lead to behaviors that will lead to harsher prison conditions or a longer sentence.

87. How do harsher prison conditions influence an individual’s ability to prepare for success upon release?:

Believe it or not prison can get worse if one makes it that way. There is always a reaction to every action. And in prison, the reaction can make conditions much worse than they are. These harsher conditions force prisoners into a vicious cycle that greatly hinders one’s preparation for the future.

The first and most common harsher condition is being sent to “the hole.” The hole is a euphemism for the Segregated Housing Unit or SHU. The SHU is essentially jail inside of jail.

Spending time in the SHU can greatly hinder one’s preparation for anything. Upon entering the SHU one loses all property. They are sent to the SHU without books, papers, letters, pens, or anything. SHU inmates, as they are commonly referred to, are the lowest priority to the prison staff. They rarely get any attention from anyone. They are restricted from email, phones, and letters. They are locked in a small cell for 23 hours a day with next to nothing. Ultimately, all of these obstacles make it near impossible to do anything. Let alone prepare for success.

Another condition that can become worse is being sent to another prison as a inconvenience to the prisoner. A federal prisoner can be transferred anywhere in the county and they are often transferred for discipline. These moves are generally intended as an inconvenience to the prisoner and they are usually further away from their home. Also, a prisoner can be transferred to a higher security level. The higher the security level, the harder it is to prepare for the future. Being transferred is a gigantic burden to the prisoner and a transfer can take anywhere to a few months to a year. These transfers greatly impede one’s preparations for success.

The final impediment is a prisoner who has prisoner creditors.  A prisoner that owes someone money is in a dangerous situation. They either have to act or be acted upon. This position forces this prisoner to either spend time paying the bill or protecting themselves from retaliation. Either way, they are unable to prepare for success.

Prisoner conditions rarely improve nut they can easily worsen. The worse the conditions, the harder it is to prepare. It is already hard enough to prepare for a successful life outside of these walls. So anything that hinders these preparations make it near Impossible to succeed in this effort.

88. How does behavior that leads to harsher prison conditions influence the lives of those in our support network?:

Believe it or not prison can get worse if one makes it that way. There is always a reaction to every action. And in prison, the reaction can make conditions much worse than they are. These harsher conditions force prisoners into a vicious cycle that greatly hinders one’s preparation for the future.

The first and most common harsher condition is being sent to “the hole.” The hole is a euphemism for the Segregated Housing Unit or SHU. The SHU is essentially jail inside of jail.

Spending time in the SHU can greatly hinder one’s preparation for anything. Upon entering the SHU one loses all property. They are sent to the SHU without books, papers, letters, pens, or anything. SHU inmates, as they are commonly referred to, are the lowest priority to the prison staff. They rarely get any attention from anyone. They are restricted from email, phones, and letters. They are locked in a small cell for 23 hours a day with next to nothing. Ultimately, all of these obstacles make it near impossible to do anything. Let alone prepare for success.

Another condition that can become worse is being sent to another prison as a inconvenience to the prisoner. A federal prisoner can be transferred anywhere in the county and they are often transferred for discipline. These moves are generally intended as an inconvenience to the prisoner and they are usually further away from their home. Also, a prisoner can be transferred to a higher security level. The higher the security level, the harder it is to prepare for the future. Being transferred is a gigantic burden to the prisoner and a transfer can take anywhere to a few months to a year. These transfers greatly impede one’s preparations for success.

The final impediment is a prisoner who has prisoner creditors.  A prisoner that owes someone money is in a dangerous situation. They either have to act or be acted upon. This position forces this prisoner to either spend time paying the bill or protecting themselves from retaliation. Either way, they are unable to prepare for success.

Prisoner conditions rarely improve nut they can easily worsen. The worse the conditions, the harder it is to prepare. It is already hard enough to prepare for a successful life outside of these walls. So anything that hinders these preparations make it near Impossible to succeed in this effort.

89. Although the prison system offered ways to lengthen a prison term or aggravate the conditions under which a prisoner served his sentence, what objective mechanisms exist within the system for a prisoner to distinguish himself in a positive way?:

In prison everyone is materially equal. Each prisoner has the same clothes, the same housing etc.

The prison itself offers no tool to distinguish oneself. Regardless if a prisoner participates in one program or ten, he is still considered the same prisoner. Other than a lousy certificated, a prisoners earns nothing for his time in these programs. A prisoner is always toeing the fine lines trying to avoid discipline regardless of what he does.

The only accomplishment becomes appeasing not achieving. At the end of the day, all effort to distinguish oneself to prison staff becomes wasted.

Although prison may seem like a wasteland for positive distinction, one can still be eminent in the rest of societies eye’s without the systems help. In order to do this a prisoner must set goal, work toward them each day, then achieve them. Doing this and documenting it along the way sets one apart from the crowed and distinguishes him.

90. How then does the system encourage individuals to work toward reconciling with society, prepare for law-abiding lives upon release, or earn freedom?:

I set various goals for various time periods. Each goal is in line with my values.  I set yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

My yearly goals for 2012 are to finish the Straight A Guide; Speak and write Spanish fluently; Read 24 books; Complete 22 college credits; Learn 1500 new words; Improve my math skills; Maintain and strengthen my relationships with friends and family; Maintain fitness and health. These goals are attained by taking steps each month, week and day.

To attain these goals, each month I set goals also. My monthly goals are to finish 20 responses in the Straight A guide; Study Spanish for twenty hours per week; Read two books; Attend class and study; Study 200 words; Study math for 20 hours; Maintain communication with family and friends, and exercise for 10 hours. I break these goals down further into week goals.

Weekly, my goals are to complete 5 responses per week of the Straight A guide; Study Spanish for 5 hours; Read half of  a book; Attend class for 10 hours; Learn 50 words; Study math for 5 hours; Maintain communication with my family and friends; Exercise for two and half hours.  Then to assure I reach each goal, I break every goal into daily goals.

My daily goals are to complete one Straight A Guide response; Study Spanish for one hour; Read 1/14 of a book; Attend class for two and half hours; Learn ten words; Study math for an hour; Talk to family and friends daily; And exercise for a half an hour.

By setting step by step goals daily, I take steps everyday toward my ultimate goal of growing through adversity and overcoming prison.

91. Describe the goals you have set?:

The ultimate goal that I have set is to be successful in the future. That goal is very large and vauge. Therefore I broke that future goal into small distinct goals. In order to reach my ultimate goal of success, I take incremental steps; yearly, monthly, weekly and daily toward that goal.

Yearly my goals are to finish the SAG, write 365 consecutive days. learn 1000 vocabulary words, learn a new language, earn college credits, Read 24 books, Improve my math skills, maintain meaningful relationships, read the Bible cover to cover, and maintain my physical fitness.

In order to reach my goals I work at them monthly by: Working on the SAG daily, writing everyday, studying 200 vocabulary words, studying Spanish for over 20 hours, attending college, reading two books, studying math for 30 hours, write and call family daily, read 1/12 of the bible, and  run 20 miles, do 500 pullups, 1000 pushups.

In order to be certain that I reach these monthly goals I break them down further into weekly goals. Weekly I complete 10 responses of the SAG, I write for ten hours, I study 50 words, I study Spanish for 10 hours, I attend college and do homework, I read a half of a book, I study math for 8 hours, I write and call family, I read 1/52 of the Bible, and I run five miles, do 120 pullups, and 250 pushups.

To be certain that I reach my weekly and monthly goals, I take one last step down the ladder. I break my weekly goals into daily goals. Daily I complete two SAG responses, write for two hours, study ten words, study Spanish for two hours, I attend classes monday through thursday, I read one eight of a book, I study math for two hours, I write and call family, I read 1/365 of the bible, and I run one mile, do 40 pullups, and 125 pushups, twice a week.

This is how I break down a large gauge goal into small distinct steps that will lead me to the goal. I feel that these small steps, like rungs on a ladder will lead to success. Everyday is a rung on this ladder, the ladder of success.

92. Describe how your goals relate to your professed values?:

Each one of my goals derives from my proposed values. Everything that I do relates, in some way, to the values that I profess to live.

93. How clearly can you gauge your level of success toward each goal you set?:

I gauge myself by incrementally documenting my progress.

I log my yearly goals along with my monthly, weekly, and daily ones.

After completing each, I look back and grade myself on completeness as one would grade a test.

On a day by day basis I gauge my progress by documenting my goals and grading myself.

94. In what ways does one goal lead to the next?:

By living in sync with one’s values creates one’s goals. By living in sync with one’s goals will create other goals. Over time, every step toward a person’s goals will lead them to that goal then above and beyond.

Goals are like rungs in a ladder. A person’s goal may be to make it to the top of the roof. They can’t just make it there in one move. In order to reach that goal, they much first start climbing the first rung then each subsequent rung leads to the next and so on. Eventually they make it to the top. Likewise each goals lead to the next, ultimately leading above and beyond one’s final goal.

95. If you achieve all of your goals, how will they influence your prison adjustment?:

Reaching the goals I have set is not a matter of “if” I will achieve them, achieving them is a must.

The goals I have set are well thought out and deeply considered not impromptu and unwitting. They are designed to be a solid foundation to build a successful future on. Therefore, reaching these goals is curtail is essential to my success.

Each incremental goal is a rung in the ladder to my ultimate goal of success. They are the target that I aim for; because of this, these goals govern every aspect of my life.

Step by step, day after day, I grow a little further, laying another block in the foundation. As days turn to weeks my small achievements accumulate into bigger achievements. As weeks turn to months to years, I only continue to grow. Then as I leave the front gate of the prison, I will have a strong solid foundation to build the rest of my life on.

96. How will the goals you set influence your prospects for success upon release?:

By expressing each goal publically that I set and achieve creates is a piece of evidence that proves that I am serious about my life and about succeeding. It proves that I am a forward thinker and planner. It proves without a doubt that I am not stupid and am capable of doing and succeeding through anything. Presenting this evidence publically shows everyone and anyone that I will be reformed and ready to re-enter into society. This proof should influence anyone who has the opportunity to read it.

 

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