“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein
Let’s do an activity. Read on to know what’s this activity about? Sit down and close your eyes. Now, imagine yourself to be a person who is highly obsessed with the materialistic possessions of life and is happy about the good people surrounding you. It’s a wonderful feeling… Isn’t it? You are so lucky to have most of the good things and people in life. But, is that all? Now, imagine yourself tied to a goal in life. You have a personal goal, professional goal and social goal to achieve and you constantly work hard to achieve your goals. Hey, wait… now that seems so exciting. This seems to give a meaning and purpose to our lives. Imagine you reaching the summit and having that beautiful smile on your face… There you are! You did it! I am sure, after this activity – as soon as you open your eyes, you really want to start working towards your goal.
It’s important to have goals. The most successful people on the planet have a set of goals that inspire them, drive them and keep them on track. The demands on us from other people seem relentless. So how do you go about setting goals?
1. Identify what you want.
Yes I know that sounds simple. But when did you last sit down and work out what you actually want? In life? In your career? With your families? Your hobbies?
- Write your goals down
A study done at Dominican University found that those graduates who wrote their goals down accomplished significantly more than those that didn’t. Our brain cannot keep a track of all the demands and dreams we place there. So, it’s suggested to pen down what we want to achieve.
- Use SMART goals.
SMART is a great acronym for writing goals: Specific (is it really clear what your goal is?); Measurable (how will you know you’ve achieved it); Agreed (especially important when setting with a team member); Realistic (can you achieve it?) and Timely (when will it be done by). When you re-read your goals, check that they are SMART.
- Put aside ‘planning time’ every week
Simi, a friend of mine was always good at planning in advance since our school days. I and other friends used to get surprised at her planning skills at that age. This quality has always helped her in her personal, professional and family life. She still prefers to plan her week every Sunday morning. She will get up early and sit with herself and take note of important tasks to be finished during the week and then further break them in to each day deadlines and complete them.
- Estimate How Long
During the planning phase, it really helps to give some thought to how long things take. Most of the times, it happens with me that I completely underestimate how long things take to get done and then this further delays the next task that I have planned to do. But, over the time, I realised by tracking how long things are taking you can get much more realistic about the time needed. As Peter Drucker once said – “What gets measured gets done”.
- Do the big things first
There’s an excellent rocks and sand analogy that’s often used in time management training. In other words you have to create time for the big things in your life – how often is your life filled with little ‘to dos’ – “I’ll just finish this off” or “I’ll clear this job and then I’ll have time for that”. According to Stephen Covey, we can manage to do all important things in time, if we finish big things first then there is room for smaller things to be done later.
- Reward Yourself
We are often so driven to continually improve and drive greater performance that we forget to remind ourselves of our achievements. When setting goals identify what the reward is going to be for achieving it. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee or if it’s a huge achievement you may want to treat yourself to something you’ve been after for a while.
As the saying goes, you would never head out on a road trip without a GPS or map so why should you venture out in life without a plan? Not only planning is important, but YOU NEED TO TAKE ACTION. And you need to take a lot of action even when your enthusiasm is fading when you don’t see immediate results. In your career and business, you need to be willing to do what others won’t do and go the extra 10 miles to do it. Stop waiting for all these goals to become reality – they aren’t going to until you do it.
So, LET’S DO IT.
About the author:
Vasudha has a post graduate degree in management and has three plus years of experience in the field of Human Resources. She has been a part time Yoga instructor. She is currently employed as a home maker and enjoys to spend quality time with her kids. She likes to explore new areas of learning.