Journal Entry 

 Setting Sails Towards Triumph 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Title: Setting Sails Towards Triumph: The Power of Goal-Setting

In my journey through the tempest of incarceration, I discovered early on that drifting aimlessly on the turbulent seas would only lead to despair. It was the act of setting clear, actionable goals that became my compass, guiding me towards shores of self-improvement and societal reintegration.

Reflecting back on those pivotal days, I recall how the precision of SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound – became my North Star. For instance, I aimed to earn an undergraduate degree, become a published author, and foster a network of supportive relationships. These were not vague aspirations, but concrete objectives with deadlines, each step bringing me closer to the person I yearned to become, the life I desired to lead post-incarceration.

I would like to say that I came up with this strategy on my own, but that would be a lie. In fact, I learned from leaders. And I learned how to develop tools and tactics and resources. I’m still doing that today. In fact, I’m now developing new technology and literacy with artificial intelligence. These tools make me more efficient. It’s important that each person in prison also learns how to use technology–even if you cannot access a computer. If you focus on the lessons we teach in our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, you will be more competent to work in society when you get out.

As the founder of Prison Professors, I share the empowering essence of goal-setting through the Straight-A Guide with countless individuals in prison. This guide isn’t merely a set of instructions; it’s a testament to the transformative power of having a vision and setting tangible goals. It’s about taking the helm of your life, no matter the storms you might be facing.

I challenge you to reflect on what success means. That’s the first lesson in our course, Preparing for Success after Prison. Consider your values, and the life you wish to lead upon re-entry into society. Set one short-term and one long-term SMART goal. Your short-term goal may be as simple as reading a book that nurtures your mind or learning a new skill. Your long-term goal could stretch towards achieving a certain educational level or building supportive relationships that will stand the test of time.

Each goal you set is a promise to your future self, a step towards becoming the person you aspire to be, transcending the limitations of your current circumstances. 

I invite you to share your goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them. Send an email to [email protected], and let’s embark on this voyage of self-discovery and growth together.

If you do not have financial resources to order a copy of our book from Prison Professors, let us know. Ask our nonprofit for a scholarship. If we have the resources, we will send you a book at no charge.

I would never ask you to embark on a journey I haven’t traversed. The lessons within the Straight-A Guide are born from real-life trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Like the many leaders who have inspired me, I discovered that with a clear vision, unwavering dedication, and actionable goals, we can overcome the odds and navigate towards a brighter horizon.

Remember, it’s not the promise of smooth seas, but setting the right sails that will guide us towards triumph.


Michael Santos,

Founder of Prison Professors

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