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    Military.com|
    You must score at least a 50 in each event in order to pass the APFT to graduate Basic Combat Training.
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    Army PFT Two-Mile Run Score Chart
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    You must score at least a 50 in each event in order to pass the APFT to graduate Basic Combat Training.
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Goal Setting: Turning Dreams Into Reality

Adding Balance To Your Life

We all have career goals—from dreams of being a professional athlete, dancer, or singer to becoming a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. Many also dream of a life of serving their country or community in the military, police, fire fighter, EMT, emergency medical professions. Regardless of your career goals or life goals, there is one common denominator to accomplishing it and that is – Preparation.

Preparation, Desire, Discipline


Depending upon your goal, it is likely that your preparation began early in your childhood. Your education, study habits, athletics, fitness abilities, and work ethic formed early in life, long before you started dreaming of a specific profession. However, the power of inspiration, self-motivation, desire, and your “want to” can help you accomplish tasks even with a less than stellar start in life.

When the days get long and the nights get longer, what motivates you is important. However, your motivation on day one has to evolve to discipline and work ethic by year one. Depending upon the amount of work and time it takes to reach your goal, your discipline may have to last several  years or even a decade or more for some professions. 

So - What Motivates You? 

Where do you find your mind leading you when your mind wanders? What resonates with you and your personality? Have you ever said, “If I was not a ______, I would have become a ______?”  For instance, I have a friend who loves animals, but at a young age started his career in the bar and restaurant business. He is now a bar and restaurant owner and loves his job, but recently made the comment, “If I had not become a bar owner, I would be an animal trainer or a veterinarian.” He makes up for this career difference by volunteering at the animal shelter and owning about a dozen pets. 

Finding a career that motivates you is obviously a goal to strive for. However, finding a hobby that motivates you can be just as fulfilling in your life. Moving toward your professional or personal goal typically involves a similar process.

Turning Goals Into Reality


Determine what your goal is – Get specific. For instance, your goal to become a member of the military needs to have specifics. What branch of service? Special Ops in the future? This is where you need to do your research.  Consider the fitness requirements, educational requirements, training time, location of training and where you will live or deploy should all be part of your decision making process. How do you maneuver through the recruiting process? How long do you enlist or become an officer?

Often, the first mistake people make in this process is they fail to do adequate research of their future profession. Simply saying you want to be in military isn’t enough. Within 1-2 years of joining, you need to thoroughly learn about your future life in the military, read related books, and understand the recruiting process required of your potential service selection. Know your options! There is SO much to consider before making the commitment to serving and not knowing how to navigate the process can make your service time less than ideal. See related articles:
Ready to Serve
Top Then Things You Should Know Before Joining Military

What are the standards you have to achieve?  There will be physical and academic standards for any goal in the military. Make sure you are well aware of what the “entrance exam” to get TO THE TRAINING is. You should take as many practice tests as you can so you can be the best when you take the exam in front of recruiters. Simply leaving it to chance is a recipe for failure. You do not want your first impression at your “job interview” to be a failure physically or in the ASVAB.

What are your current levels of abilities?
Be honest with your self-assessment. Do you need further time and training to achieve competitive standards for your dream job? This is where you do not need to be in a hurry to join. If you feel you need more time to train or get better grades in post-high school education to reach your goal, take the time to do it. This may add 6-12 months to the process, or you may find finishing college before joining the military is a good decision. College or full-time work for a few years can give you the time needed to fix any deficiencies in your credentials to enter your dream job market.

What are your weaknesses? We all have weaknesses. Challenging schools with tough selections and high dropout rates will expose your weaknesses quickly so be honest with yourself. This may require you to re-take a college course to get a better grade or learn how to swim or run faster to properly prepare for special ops level selections programs. Common Weaknesses (physical)

Mission Planning to Prepare Yourself – Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Writing down your goal and the path to achieve it is a great motivator for you to see every day. You can make a timeline with sub-goals to achieve along the journey: high school, sports, college, max PT tests goals, academics goals, recruiter process, boot camp, and so on. Sometimes you will find when you write something down and visualize the path, you may find parallel paths to get to the same destination that maybe quicker or easier or less expensive. Write it down and hold yourself to these goals and standards.

Persistence to Keep Working Toward a Goal – Regardless of your goal, your new saying in your head should be, “exceeding the standard IS the standard.” Compete with yourself to make yourself better in whatever stepping stone to your goal you have to manage. In the end, it is your persistence that will win and you will find that your motivation, persistence, and good habits, have become discipline.

Related Topics

Stew Smith Military PFT Prep Career Planning

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness