Monthly Archives: August 2009

Writing goals to achieve

Writing goals is the first step towards committing yourself to achieving them. While mentally setting a goal is fine, writing your goal is best as it becomes a sort of formal commitment document that you make to yourself, which is next best to making it to somebody else. This exercise helps bring in more accountability towards achieving the goal. When you commit to your boss “Yes, I will do it by such and such date”, you become accountable to your boss on the commitment made. Writing your goal tries to
bring in the same commitment into your personal goal setting. It then boils down to how seriously you take yourself.

So  here is how to write goals:

  1. Exibit strong intent. The first thing to remember about a goal is that it is positive statement of intent, hence it should be written like that. The intent manifests as a power of your will, so you should always begin your goals with ‘I will ..’. It should not be merely written as an act of doing something, such as, ‘Declutter the cupboards every weekend’. Rather write ‘I will declutter the cupboards every weekend’. The second statement is much more powerful than the first, by virtue of the words ‘I will’.
  2. Be specific, to the extent that you are able to identify when you have achieved you goal. “I will achieve better health” is not a specific goal as there is no clear cut identification  when your goal can be said to be accomplished. Rather write “I will develop ability to run for 5 miles”.
  3. Put an appropriate deadline to your goal. It is said ‘Work expands to fill the time allocated to finish it’. So if you give more time to finish a particular goal you will end up eating that extra time as well, as the sense of urgency which an appropriately defined deadline brings in will not be there. And if you don’t time bound your goal at all, you can understand what awaits your goal.

Some examples of correctly written goals:

1. I will loose 5 pounds by 31st December 2009.

2. I will achieve over 90% marks in board exams.

8 ways to find happiness

Everyone wants to find happiness in life.  But it would be good to understand happiness as a way of living your life rather than an end to achieve. For if you associate your happiness to just a few achievements in your life, then you are  letting go the enormous  number of opportunities that come to you every minute. So if you are in pursuit of happiness, here is my not so secret list of things to make everyone happy.

1. Healthy mind and body: Health is wealth. One cannot enjoy life if one is not healthy, and health here does not mean physical health alone, it also means a healthy mind. A healthy mind should not be cluttered, confused, jealous, bitter, angry and so on. So it is better to be organised,  forgiving, not compare yourself with others and such things.

2. Do things you enjoy: Identify and list things that bring you joy. These are things you already do and you know they bring you happiness. Cooking a dish of your choice, gardening, going for swim, dinner with friends, or just listening to music of choice with your eyes closed. 
3. Develop new interests: New things are exiting, they help you develop a new perspective, provide a different experience, helps build confidence. Evaluate what other things you can try your hand at and if you like, jump into it.

4. Healthy relationships: The biggest cause of all unhappiness is differences we have with other people. A few things you can do here are, to forgive, to forget, or work to mend the the differences. Though these things are easier said than done, but trying is the only hope.

5. Work should be fun:Work is big part of our lives, make sure that you enjoy your work and your workplace. Unlike your family which you cannot change, work is something that you can make a     choice about. Though recession is not the right time to experiment with your job, but it is a good idea when you can afford to, to find the right job and the right workplace for yourself.

6. Help others: You must have helped others in the past, think how you felt then. It is natural to feel happy to help others in need, do it more often, it helps improve your self worth.

7. Live in the present moment: Somebody said ‘Life happens to you when you are planning for other things’.  People who live in the present moment are happier than those who live in the past or future. Children, the happiest of the lot live in present, they immediately forget the fights they have amongst themselves and start playing again.

8. Lastly, promise you will always be happy: Be determined, make a promise to your self, come what may, you will always be happy, you will fight all odds smiling, if god wants to test you, so be it.

Setting realistic goals

Someone said ‘Aim for the stars and maybe you will reach the sky’. While it is good to be ambitious one should always remain realistic. Having strech goals is fine, infact it is good to have goals which test your limits, but after giving a good thought to your goals you should feel confident about achieving them.
 So how do we set goals which are realistic. In order to set realistic goals, a proper evaluation of the current situation, the desired result, the assumptions taken, the environmental constraints, all should be taken into consideration.  And here is what we can do.

Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses : Figure out how you will leverage your strenghts and how you will overcome your shortcomings so that you are able to achieve your goal. Put your plans on paper and ensure they are realistic and not overly optimistic.

Evaluate the constrints : Every goal is bound by constraints of time and resources. You can only spend as much time on your goals as is permitted by your personal and work life. Your expenditure on your goal is also limited by the amount of resources you can risk on your goal. Analyse how much time your goal will need and how much time you can create for the goal. See to it that your resource needs for the goal is not more than what you generate or risk.

Watch for risks : Do a risk analysis, and prepare a list of risks which can derail your march to achieving your goal successfully. For each risk, have a mitigation plan and a contingency plan in place.

Evaluate environmental factors : Evaluate if your family, friends or society will in any way hinder your work towards your goal. If yes, then what can you do to either overcome it or somehow bypass it, so that it poses no searious threat to your achievement of the goal.

Having taken care of the above will make you feel confident about achieving your goal which is the most important thing you would need to begin working on your goal.