A person without a goal is as good as dead. Everyone should have certain goals, as it helps to give direction to one’s life.
Imagine if we have no goals, or a list of the ‘things we want to do ‘, or ‘things we want to achieve’. Life would have absolutely no direction. That’s why goals become important; they give our life a definite direction, force us to think about what we hope to achieve in life, and take the necessary steps to achieve the same.
It helps us at several levels ’cause while we set about achieving those goals, we also acquire numerous skills and qualities. All in all, setting goals helps in our growth as human beings.
The term ‘goal setting’ is inclusive of so many things that there is bound to be some confusion about how to go about it, coupled with an overwhelming feeling of undertaking the same — and that is the reason why we will help you understand exactly how to undertake goal setting with the help of a few activities.
Let’s get you those in the sections to follow.
Identifying Your Goals with Activities
At any given time, a person will have several things that he wants to achieve, both, in terms of long term and short term. This sudden burst of goals can get very overwhelming and confusing. But what if you don’t know what you want? Here are certain simple exercises that you can undertake for gaining some form of clarity.
Ask yourself this: What are the qualities which you feel you lack, and yet, admire in others? Have you ever been criticized for the lack of certain qualities and thought that if it weren’t for that one little problem, you’d have been a better person overall? Do you feel that you lack something which you need to accomplish soon? Once you ask yourself this, you’ll find it easier to make a list of goals.
One way of goal setting is to visualize a time, 1 or 5 years hence and think about what you want to achieve by that time. Then make a list of all those things and segregate it in accordance with ‘personal’, ‘professional’ or ‘general’ goals.
An effective way to set goals is to think of a situation where you are being asked what your goals are with the help of a set of questions which pertain to several spheres of your life. These questions include:
Where do you live?
What is your job?
What do you do to relax?
What is a recent activity that you’ve taken up?
Who is your partner?
What is a new skill that you’ve acquired?
P.S. – The questions can change according to your liking.
At a Funeral
Visualization is a simple and effective way of going about this process. To do this, think to a day in the future, the day of your funeral. Should you have died and people come to your funeral, what would you want them to say? What would you want to be remembered for? What is it that you feel your family and friends ought to miss most about you and specifically mention in their eulogy?
Answer all the questions about what you want to be remembered for, what are the qualities which you would want to possess, which would characterize you even at your funeral. Scratch out the ones which you already feel you possess and make a list of the ones that you think you need to work on acquiring.
One very, very effective activity that you can undertake in identifying and determining your goals is to play the million dollar game. Imagine that you’ve been given a million dollars. Make a list of all those things you would do to with that money. Segregate it in categories of what you would do in the first week, in the first month and then within a year.
Now review all the things that you’ve listed and sort those things that you can take up even without a million dollars. Those are the goals that you should be pursuing and work towards achieving. If it wasn’t for the factor of money, you would probably never have given a thought to these goals.
Listing Out the Goals
Once you’ve realized what your goals are, the next step is to list them out. You can list them under categories that pertain to ‘general’, ‘professional’ or ‘personal’ goals and then further list them out under the ‘long term’ and ‘short term’ goals. While listing out these goals, you have to consider other things as well — the S.M.A.R.T. formula and the obstacles that might hinder the process.
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Bound.
– S.M.A.R.T. Goals
There is a simple, widely acclaimed way of goal setting, which is known as setting S.M.A.R.T. goals —
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-Bound.
This concept tells us the basic qualities which each of our goals need to encapsulate — they need to be specific, not vague, measurable and quantifiable, they need to be such that they can be put into action immediately, and lastly, they need to be realistically within your reach and need to have a limited time frame for completion. Once this is in place, it becomes easier to segregate the goals and understand which of the goals can be achieved and those which cannot.
– The Obstacles
An important step while writing down the goals is to also take into consideration the obstacles that will make way in terms of personal fears, and other anticipated road blocks. This way you will not only be prepared for it but also find a way in which to overcome the same.
The following is a sample format that you can use to set your goal chart.
1. My goal is to____?
2. This goal is important to me because____?
3. My goal is realistic, achievable, and yet challenging because_____?
4. The time I will take to achieve my goal is____?
5. The action steps I’ll take to achieve my goal are_____?
6. The road blocks that I might experience in the process are_____?
7. The measures I will undertake to overcome those road blocks are_____?
8. My checkpoints for this goal will be (end of the day, week, month)____?
9. The person who will assist me in this process is_____?
– The Board Game
Once your goals have been listed, there might be some difficulty in figuring out the steps that you need to undertake in order to achieve the goals and that is where this game helps. Create a board/sheet that has several blocks all around. The last block is the final goal and the first block is the one where you are at this point in life.
Now fill up all the blank blocks leading up to the final block with what you think are the steps that you need to undertake in order to achieve your goals. Go step by step and make sure that the steps are logical. This especially helps if the goals are long-term in nature.
The activity of goal setting needs to be inculcated very early on in life so that the importance of planning, setting and achieving them can be understood. With the activities listed in this article, you should find the task interesting.