If you think about what are your goals in life, you would be able to list a lot of things like, a happy and successful life, a highly successful career, vast resources of wealth, perfect healthy lifestyle, good relationships, etc. In reality people usually have brilliant ideas but, they don't make it happen. And, if the smallest thing appears to go wrong, inexperienced risk takers convince themselves that the sky is falling and they retreat.
As you pursue your goals, you can make sensible risk taking a key ingredient of your achievements. Whenever you accept risks, prepare to be criticized and second-guessed. As you size up resistance to your goals, anticipate where the heat will come from and be flexible in overcoming objections to your approach. You must be prepared to sell your plans and objectives to an indifferent world. Don't assume that people will be excited and motivated about your ideas.
Everyone wants success, but most people lack two very important qualities: persistence and patience. They're like farmers who keep digging up seeds to see how they're doing, never giving them an opportunity to take root. Be willing to wait longer than you had anticipated for your goals to bear fruit. Impatience is a virtue only when it helps sharpen focus on what you need to do to succeed.
What are Goals?
Goals are specific, close-ended quantifiable objectives with a fixed time frame for achieving them. Additionally, in case of goals, the results have a strong correlation to the level of efforts to achieve them, unlike a wish or a dream that might come true out of sheer luck. Goals can be broken down into smaller and short terms objectives, which then become checkpoints for making sure that you are on the right track.
Why Set Goals?
Most people have general life goals: happiness, security, wealth, health, acceptance by others, or some measure of success, which often remain vague. A person may be quite busy or even overwhelmed with responsibilities, but the reason why goals are mostly never achieved is that they are never properly set in the first place. Without clear, specific goals, even the most diligent work inevitably turns into nothing more than an unavoidable interruption between weekends.
- Goals help concentrate energy: By defining what needs to be done and setting reasonable time limits for it, goals can help bring out the best in you. In this sense, goals are like the rules of tennis. If you try to practice tennis with a net that is too low, you’ll never know when you've hit the ball too low. You may never have the disappointment of missing a shot, but neither will you ever know the satisfaction that comes from playing the game well. In terms of bringing out true accomplishments, the obstacles are really the foundations of our achievements.
- Goals give you direction: To understand the importance of goals, one can take the cliché of traveling without a destination. It might actually give you pleasure if you are on a vacation. But, does it make sense when you are not on a vacation? Certainly not! Goals have the same effect. You decide the destination and the time frame and it automatically facilitates the decision regarding the route. Once the route is decided, you can check whether you are on the right track and on schedule.
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Step-by-Step Approach to Goal Setting:
Following are the essential points to keep in mind while setting a goal.
Relating the future to the past
Have you ever heard the story of how Michelangelo created his statue of David? Legend has it that the block of marble he used had been deemed too long and narrow by other sculptors, and stood unused for nearly forty years. But in 1501, Michelangelo saw something the others had missed. He had been commissioned to create a sculpture of David to symbolize the spirit of the city of Florence. Once Michelangelo had the vision, he began the painstaking process of turning it into reality and he patiently chipped away at the stone until the formless mass gradually became a work of heroic beauty, grace, and wonder.
When asked how he possibly could have wrought such magnificent art from such imperfect raw material, Michelangelo replied that the David was already inside the block of marble. As an artist, his task had been merely to uncover the finished piece.
Your life is like that stone. Regardless of what anyone has told you about yourself and your capabilities, you can call upon your inner vision to recognize what others may have been unable to see. The chipping away can be an ongoing process of self discovery and accomplishment in every area of your life. Unlike Michelangelo, who had only one opportunity to sculpt that huge block of marble, you have many opportunities to create a life that matches the goals you have set for yourself. Like that block of marble ignored, unvalued, and unused we allow our talents, our hopes, and our dreams to lie lifeless within us.
You need to ask yourself: How important are your dreams to your internal guidance system? Have you made them secondary to the effects of the negative experiences or do you give your vision the importance that it deserves? Most importantly, are your goals flexible enough to survive the constantly changing environment we live in? What happens when you suddenly have to plot a new course? Are you able to successfully handle the sudden transitions that occur?
Finding Your Passion
Try to answer four basic questions:
- "If it were not for money, time, and personal responsibilities what would I really love to do with my life? In other words, if you were free to do whatever you wanted, what would you begin doing tomorrow morning? The other three questions will help you clarify your response.
- What did you love to do as a child? or What were you really good at? What made you feel proud?
- What makes you feel that way now?
- Are you doing something to benefit other people? Does that give you a feeling of self-respect and fulfillment?
A remarkable series of films, been made in England over a twenty-eight-year period, disclosed that what we love and do well as children continues to be our real talent as adults.
Setting Goals: When and How
Further, it would lead to finding out gaps like the group discussion skills and the interview skills, which are very important to get through the admission process of an MBA course. This would then facilitate fixing many short-term goals and planning to achieve them in a given time frame.
The number of Life-Forming Goals should be very limited. You should have no more than three or four of them in each of two categories: professional goals and personal goals. Your best chance of achieving your Life-forming-goals would be to compare your actual performance with the set goals and make need based corrections from time to time both in the goals and the actions to achieve them.
When you have written the Life-Forming Goals, get ready to define the intervening steps that will realize those dreams. To stay focused, think of goals in terms of three time frames: Long-term Goals, Intermediate Goals, and Immediate Goals. Thus, by following these tips we can easily set our goals and also achieve them.
Following are some questions that will help you determine how realistic your goals are: