Saturday, May 14, 2011

How to Set Goals?

A goal properly set is half way reached.              – Abraham Lincoln

Hope you read my earlier article on the blog ‘Why set goals?’ You already figured out the areas you want to set goals for yourself. I believe achieving your highest potential and being successful is your birthright and  I am ready to help you in setting really smart goals for yourself. Here are three platinum points of Goal Setting:
Point #1: Set Goals that Motivate YOU
When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you. This means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is the key in achieving goals.
Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment to maximize the likelihood of success. You need to feel a sense of urgency and have an ‘I must do this’ attitude. When you don't have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive ‘I can't do anything or be successful at anything’ frame of mind. To make sure your goal is motivating, write down why it’s valuable and important to you. Your goals are functions of your desire. Hence from core of your heart, you must really really want this to happen for you and have an attitude to walk all the extra miles required.
Point #2: Set SMART Goals
Probably one of the best things I ever learnt in my life and seems much more useful than few years of schooling is setting SMART Goals. For goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable & Action Provoking, Relevant & Realistic and it must be Time Bound & must have some Tangible associations.

Specific: Your goals must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don't provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely. There are greater chances of achieving specific goals than general ones. It must be Precise & detailed. One of the ways to test your goal is answering ‘Wh’ questions like - Who? Why? What? When? How? See the difference in two statements:

I will reduce 5 Kgs of weight in 90 days starting from today vs I want to reduce weight.

Measurable: It must be measurable because if you can measure it, you can manage it as measurement is the criteria for determining progress & success. Include precise amounts, dates, etc in your goals so that you can measure your degree of success. It must answer questions like- How much? How many? When? There should be relevant benchmarks and metrics to assess progress and attainment. If your goal is simply defined as ‘to reduce weight’; how will you know when you have been successful or missed by how many points? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something. You miss out on that significant boost to your conscious & sub conscious mind once you achieve your goals. 
Attainable & Action Provoking: It should be attainable & action provoking. Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set in the time frame you are making a decision to. A smart goal once set, gets your juices flowing and is attained with reasonable amount of effort and application. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving in set time, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.
However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn't have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to ‘raise the bar’ and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.
Relevant & Realistic: Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals and you'll fritter your time – and your life – away. Hence it is recommended; you must set goals which are aligned with long term vision of your life and your values. Accomplishing the goal must bring reward to you and that will happen only if the goal is important enough to you.
Time-Bound: Your goals must have a deadline. This means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker. Moreover, until and unless you put a deadline, what you call goals are simply dreams and not actually goals. People say that impossible is nothing but you can’t give birth to a baby in two months it still requires nine months.
Point #3: Set Goals in Writing
In my earlier blogs I emphasized on writing down what you want to do. The difference between a goal and a dream is the written word. It makes magical impact on the actions you take to achieve your goals. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. Committing things to paper always makes them clearer and more manageable. You have no excuses for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word ‘will’ instead
 of ‘would like to’ or ‘might’ or ‘want’. For example, ‘I will reduce my weight by 5 Kgs in next 3 months’, not ‘I would like to reduce my weight’. The first goal statement has power and you can ‘see’ yourself reducing weight, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked. Frame your goal statement positively & precisely.
Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Once you clearly define what exactly you want and understand why you want it, your odds of success are considerably increased. By following the above steps, you can set goals with confidence and enjoy.
Remember, a goal properly set is half way reached. Hence put efforts in setting it properly. 

Next Friday, look for more tips on ‘How to chase your goals?’


  1. Everyone should appreciate to your dedication for writing wonderful articles like this...Thanks.

  2. Very thoughtful post on Life Goals. It will be very much helpful.