Setting goals, setting them right

You know what you want? That’s good, so for now you can continue with what you are doing and work on reaching your dream(s). You’ve cleared the first step and I’ll chat with you next week, in case you need some tips on reaching your dream.

Today’s article is for the ones who have trouble figuring out what they want and why. So, basically, we’re discussing the first step of setting goals today. I’m going to take you through a step-by-step guide on how to identify what you want and how to prioritise your list in case you have quite a few things on your mind.

 Take out a notepad and write out your list of things you want to have or get done. Don’t hesitate or try going in order. Write down the first thing that comes to your mind. And then, if you have some more, write them down as well. Think of how you will feel when you get these goals achieved. It will help filter your list and put down things that you really, really want.

Now, if your list is done, let’s sort them out and review them. All of us have our favourite sorting mechanisms. Some of us like sorting things alphabetically, some based on the difficulty, etc. Today, we’ll use a much simpler method. I need you to look at your list and write down the time you think you will need to get these things done. For example, if you have put down ‘Buying my favourite bike/car’.

Before you put down a month to achieve this goal, stop and think. Do you have the finances required to make the payment? Would you be going for an EMI option or make the full payment? Is there a booking time you need to consider while booking for the bike at the dealer’s? Now think again and put in a more realistic date, taking into account all the factors involved. Go over your list and set a realistic timeline for all the points.

Next step is to number them from the shortest to longest time. So, ideally, you should have the ones that take the shortest time right at the top of your list and the rest going in an increasing order, leaving you with the longest time at the end of the list.

Anything that will take a week to less than 6 months to accomplish, label them as short-term goals. The rest will be your long-term goals.

For example, losing a certain number of kilos of weight (again, map this realistically and not going more than the scientifically recommended 2-3 kilos loss per month) will be a short-term goal while moving to a permanent, healthier lifestyle and maintaining your target weight will be a long-term goal.

Look back at your short-term goals and select 2 (if you have a lot) and circle them. These are the ones you can start off with from today. In case you feel that you are not making any headway, don’t despair. This often happens to most of us in the initial stages. And for some, this happens near the end point of reaching their goals as well.

But more on that sometime later. For now, to help you get back on track to your goal, remember why you put it down in your list. Think of how you would feel when you have achieved your goal. Now keep that feeling and image in mind and get going ahead.

Next week, we’ll go through our list again and chalk out plans for our long-term goals. Till then, pin up your goal sheet where you can see it every day and have faith in yourself that you will get there. By putting up this list, you have already increased the odds of achieving these goals by a huge factor.

(The author is Vice-President of TeamLease Services.)

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