Though setting goals seems to be a straight foward process, still some theory on how to set goals may help you define your goals better. So here is how you can go about setting goals:
Self discovery : Figure out what you want in life
Once I attended an interesting workshop. The conductor of the workshop asked us a question. She asked, if we were given an option to be a bird or animal, what would we want to be, and why. She gave us ten minutes to think about it and write it down on a piece of paper. It was something that really set everyone thinking, it was a strange question, it was not like which bird or animal we like, but it was different, it was me as a bird or animal that made us think. Different people came with different responses, some wanted to be a lion for the power and strength it had, some wanted to be a geese for the freedom it enjoyed and the symmetry with which they flew along with the rest, in absolute harmony with their community. Everyone spoke what they wanted to be and why, and it was a good entertaining session. But the exercise was not meant for entertainment purpose, it was meant to take us towards self discovery . She asked wether the reasons we gave as to why we wanted be a particular bird or animal actually the things we wanted in life. It is was right, everyone nodded their heads, some wanted power and strength and hence saw themselves as lions. It was an enlightening experience, an insight I never had experienced before. This is something I would suggest everyone to do on their own to find out afterall what we want to be in our lives. And once we find our answers we can start on the next exercise of how we can achieve what we aspire for. What are
the things that we need to do, what should be our long term goals.
Goal setting : Set goals which lead you to what you want in life
1. Set long term goals first. Your long term goals should guide your short term goals.
2. Goals should be mutually workable. See to it that the goals don’t work against each other, as it will not help either of the two goals. Prioritise goals in order of importance, work accordingly.
3. Correct goal setting is important, one should not undermine the importance of well crafted goals. They will help you all along your journey till you achieve your goal. Try and set SMART goals where each letter of the acronym SMART stands for in the order of the letters as, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound.
Plan your actions : Make plans of how you will achieve your goals
After setting goals, you have to figure out what all you need to do to achieve your goal, the action plans which you will implement to achieve your goal. Identifying only your goal and not putting a plan in place is undoing the good work of setting your goal. Goal setting answers the ‘What I want’ part of the question, Action planning answers the ‘how I will achieve it’. Both, goal setting and action planning are equally important.
Work your plans and track your progress : Keep your eyes open to see if you are going where you planned. Deciding what you want and putting a plan in place is one thing, implementing it is another. People set certain things as goals, because they are not trivial for them, and would require some effort in planning and working on them. What you need now is discipline, determination and persistence. Measure your progress all along till you achieve your goal. Plot graphs if required, engage with your goal by revisiting it, thinking about it, writing about your experience. These will help to reaffirm what you are upto and re-energise and keep the momentum going. If you don’t spend some time thinking about the goals each day, you will soon lose the focus required to achieve the goal.
Following a process is better than not following any, it atleast rules out failure to achieve goals on some counts, and that is a good enough reason to begin with and have a process in place.