Are you one of those ambitious people who have a clear idea about what would they be doing five years down the line? Do you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve at the end of the day? Have you set your life’s goals that you want to accomplish at any cost?
We all have dreams and aspirations. We know what makes us happy, what we would love to try out, but only have a vague idea about how we’d go about it. Setting clear goals is beneficial in several ways as they guide and direct our behaviours over the long run, unlike daily routines or short-term objectives. Life goals are not a strictly clinical construct, however, they help us in determining what we want to experience in terms of our values. They give us a sense of direction, and they are personal ambitions and make us accountable to ourselves.
Setting goals is a process that starts with careful consideration of what exactly you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Here are some in-between steps that will help you in formulating goals and accomplishing them.
1. Establish SMART goals
You’ve probably already heard multiple people tell you to set smart goals, but do you know what SMART goals are? There are many variations of what smart goals stand 4, but the crux of it is
Your goals must be well-defined, and they should be clear in your head. Setting generalised or vague goals do not provide sufficient direction.
In order to measure the degree of your success, set goals that include precise dates, amounts, etc. When you can measure and celebrate how far you have come from where you started, you feel motivated to achieve your ultimate goal.
You must set goals that are practically possible to achieve. If your goals are unattainable, you will end up demoralising yourself. However, ensure that your goals are not too easy.
The goals that you set for yourself should be relevant to the direction you want your career or life to take. Aligning your goals with direction will help you in developing focus to get where you want to be.
Set specific deadlines for yourself. When you know you are working on a deadline, the sense of urgency to complete the task increases.
2. Set goals that motivate and inspire you
When you are setting goals for yourself, make sure that they are essential to you and motivate you. This means that there should be some value in achieving these goals. If the outcome of the goal is of little interest to you, or it is relevant, there are chances that you will not be putting in work to make them happen. The key to achieving goals is motivation. You must set goals that relate to the higher priorities in your life so that you give the required commitment and remain focused. You should feel a sense of urgency to achieve the said goal in order to maximize the likelihood of success.
3. Set an action plan
Most of the times, people get so focused on the outcome that they forget to plan all the necessary steps necessary to achieve that outcome. Setting or making an action plan is a crucial step in the process of goal setting. By establishing the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you accomplish it, you will know that you are making progress towards your goal gradually. This becomes especially important if your goal is demanding or long term.
4. Keep working consistently
In the process of setting goals and trying to achieve the said goals, people often forget that accomplishing such goals is an ongoing activity, and not just a means to an end. There are going to be times when you get distracted or lose focus from your path to achieve the goal or even feel demoralised if you don’t see immediate success.
To avoid these situations, build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time slots available to review your goals. The action plan you set for yourself along the way can change quite significantly, but your end destination must remain quite similar over the long term. The relevance, value, and necessity of the goal must remain high for you.
5. Let go of the negativity
As cliché as it sounds, a positive attitude can really make a difference in the process of accomplishing goals. It is true what Earl Nightingale said about how our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us. Try not to project negativity to the world when you hit a tough spot, and even though it may seem hard, try remaining optimistic and trust the process.
6. Embrace your failures
It’s okay and part of the process to fail sometimes. You are going to hit stumbling blocks and come across hurdles that will make you question why you started in the first place, which is absolutely normal, and the sooner you learn to accept it the better. Instead of letting your failures bring you down, acknowledge the fact that it happened, take the lesson, and move forward. This will make you stronger and wiser in the long run.
7. Find a balance
It’s very easy and even common to get obsessed with the idea of accomplishing your goals. People often get hooked and are willing to do anything that will get them where they want to be. Some may think that this is a great trait, it comes with the risk of burnout. You must be realistic with your goals from the very beginning. Having a drive is good, but so is taking breaks as and when you need them. Make a proper schedule and set aside ample time each day or week (whatever suits you) to relax and take a break. You are only a human being and need rest and recuperation from time to time.