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Setting goals

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

True words indeed from one of the greatest novelists and the poets that the world has known, C.S. Lewis.

Most of us scramble to complete our goals on time when the annual performance appraisal cycle rolls over every year. But why is it that many of us draw a blank when it comes down to setting goals on a personal level? Around 80 percent of us drift aimlessly in their lives from one day to the next without any specific goal or motivation in life.

Related: Smart Goal Setting - Goals on Track

Successful people did not reach where they are today through serendipity, luck or talent. They created well-defined goals for themselves and then set out to achieve it with commitment and determination. Read on to find how you can set goals to take you closer to success.

Why Setting Goals is Good for You

  • It helps you identify what you want from your life and how to go about achieving it.
  • Your life gains new meaning and direction.
  • You can see the big picture and prioritize things according to their importance once you know what your goals are. Goals simplify your life and allow you to devote more time to things that are valuable.
  • It is easier to make decisions regarding every dimension of your life, whether it is something regarding your career, health, family or finances, if you have your goals clearly mapped out.
  • Clear, realistic and attainable goals can be an undeniable source of motivation.

How to Set Meaningful Goals

1. Understand what is important to you

The biggest problem that most of us have lies in identifying our real goals. What are your dreams and aspirations and where do you see yourself ten years from now? What do you want to be remembered for?

Make a list of things that are the most important in your life and then narrow them down after putting in a lot of thought and deliberation.

2. Break it down

You can set yourself goals on a health front like, ‘I will make healthier food choices and get back in shape” or it can be a specific time-bound personal goal like, “I will travel around the world in 5 years and see new places”. Specific, time-bound goals can be easily measured for success. Timelines will help in keeping you on your toes and putting off things for later.

It is always a good idea to break down your long-term goals into smaller ones that you can evaluate on a daily basis. For example, the first goal mentioned above can be split into short-term, definite goals like “I will have only soups and salads for lunch this week” and “I will choose poultry and fish over red meat this month.”

3. Review and reward

Keep a track of your progress by visiting your goals on a regular basis. Check whether you need to modify them based on your changing needs and requirements. You may have to be flexible enough to accommodate certain changes that are beyond your control.

Celebrate your success when you achieve each goal and cross each milestone, however small it might be, so that you are inspired to keep going towards the big target. Pay attention to each small step as they are taking you closer to your destination. Understand that failures are bound to happen and find ways to turn them around into victories.

4. Write it down

Experts say that it is very beneficial to write down your goals somewhere in black and white and display it in a prominent place so that you see it daily and get motivated. It is said that our mind and subconscious reacts better to positive thoughts. So write down your goals in the positive. Use ‘I will’ instead of ‘I won’t’.

While writing down your goals, also plan out how you propose to achieve them. A well thought out plan of action takes care of half the job. As with any journey, life becomes easier if you have an excellent map and you know exactly where you want to reach.

And most importantly, remember to ask yourself before setting goals whether it is something that you really want or is it something that you think would be nice to have? Your whole life will depend on it!

Do you enjoy setting (and ticking) goals? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 🙂

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