Most of us have desires we would like to be fulfilled. It could be a desire to be more successful financially, it could be a desire to be more fit physically, or it could be a desire to achieve more academically. While it is natural to wish for success, it is not so common to set goals and make a working plan to achieve them. Goal setting is the word step towards achieving what you desire. Setting realistic, measurable, and time-bound goals can make achieving them easier. On the other hand, mindlessly aiming to achieve something will get you nowhere.

What is Goal Setting

It is the process of identifying a thing you want to accomplish and defining measurable goals and time frames. For instance, when you decide to lose weight, and then you set a realistic weight loss target for every month. You can further define this goal by designing a meal plan and including a list of food items that you must not eat. This way, you break down a big task, in small, achievable, everyday tasks. I once read something about creating a system that stuck with me. It said that when you want to achieve something, design a system that will help you achieve it. Once you have a system, follow it every day. If you follow the system every day, you will achieve your goal. Thinking about achieving a big goal can overwhelm you. For instance, losing 5 pounds might seem very difficult to some people. But if you create a plan with daily tasks, you will only have to worry about doing those tasks every day. Your worry will no longer be losing 5 pounds, it will be ging to they gym and eating fewer calories.

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How To Set Goals

First, determine what you want to achieve. Define SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals that you are passionate about. Be realistic about your goals. Write your goal down and then write down steps needed to achieve it. Cross off each step as you get done with it. The SMART strategy will help you organize and achieve your goals systematically.

smart goal setting
SMART strategy for setting goals

Specific

Your goal should be specific so you will be clear what you are going after. Ambiguous goals will only confuse you. For instance, instead of saying you want to perform better at school this year, set a percentage you would like to achieve. For example, make it an aim to achieve at least 85% marks in all the tests, assignments, and exams.

Measurable

Your goal should be measurable in some way so that you will be able to gauge your performance. Measurable goals keep you on track. They let focus on facts and figures instead of guesswork and gut feeling. For example, do not just say that you want to gain weight, decide how many pounds more do you want to gain. Then write down how many pounds can you realistically gain in a week. Let’s say you decide about gaining 2 pounds every week. Weigh yourself at the end of every week to check if you were able to reach your monthly goal.

Action oriented

You must write down the actions required to achieve your goals. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. You will have to make effort if you want to reach your goal. For instance, if you want to gain weight, make a meal plan. Make a list of the food items required to prepare those meals. Buy the ingredients required to prepare the meals you plan to eat.

Realistic

Your goal should be realistic. I personally do believe that everything is possible, but your goal must be attainable. If your goal is very big, break it down into small chunks. For instance, if you received 50% marks in 60% of your tests and quizzes, you cannot expect to achieve 90% marks overall. But, you can aim to achieve 90% marks in the remaining tests and quizzes. To achieve this goal, you will have to make a to study more than you previously did.

Time

Though there is no deadline for success, you do not have forever to achieve your goals. Set a deadline for goals so that you can hold yourself accountable. People tend to procrastinate when the goal is long-term. If your goal is long term, divide it into many short term goals. This will keep you on track.

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Importance of Goal Settinggoal setting importance

Goal setting is much more than defining your goal. It’s about planning how you aim to achieve your goals. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” By failing to plan, you are wasting your time and energy to achieve nothing. A properly defined goal and a well-defined plan will put you that much closer to success in life. Just being passionate about something is not enough. You will not be successful by desiring to be successful. You can find success only after achieving your goals. Here are some more reasons to convince you to set goals:

Goal Setting Gives You A Direction

As they say, if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. Realize it or not, you are wasting mental and physical energy every day. There is something at stake every moment of your life. Even when you are not doing anything, you are wasting time. Life is all about the efficient utilization of resources, most important of which are health and time. If you are in good health and have plenty of time, you are doing a disfavor to yourself by not utilizing these resources for something worthwhile. Goal setting gives you a direction. It gives you something to focus on. I will make your life meaningful and purposeful. Most of us have infinite potential on us. We are capable of achieving anything we put our mind to. Without a focus or a desire to achieve anything, our talents and our potential will go to waste. The world recognizes people on the basis of their achievements, not the innate potential that was never used.

Goal Setting Lets You Measure Progress

You can spend your life chasing a wish and not achieve it if you do not set a goal properly. A measurable goal lets you assess yourself. For instance, you may aim to start a blog in 2 months time with 30 posts on it. For that, you may set a goal to write four 2000 words post every week. This way you will be able to track your progress.

Goal Setting Saves You From Distractions

A well-defined goal will keep you on track and prevent you from sidetracking. For instance, if you set a certain calories limit for yourself to lose weight, you will not indulge in a fattening burger.

Goal Getting Keeps You Away From Procrastination

We all fall prey to procrastination some point in our lives. If you have a time bound goal, you are less likely to procrastinate. This is because subconsciously your mind will be focused towards achieving the goal. Your motivation to achieve that goal will trump your temptation to procrastinate. Break down long-term goals into a series of short-term goals. People tend to procrastinate more when the task at hand is long term.

Goals Motivate You

Why do we set goals? We set goals to achieve desires we attach a positive utility with. With well defined, time-bound goals, the desires become easier to achieve. When our mind tells us that our goal is achievable, it motivates us. Our goals push us to do our best.

Well defined, realistic goals are the key to success in life. Without a goal to aim for, your life will be aimless. Turn your desires into goals, and your goals into achievements. While healthy compeition can be motivating, unrealistic comparisions can demotivate you. Be positive in the pursuit of your goals. Do not compare your goals to the achievement of others. Stay on track. Everything is possible and achievable, just put your mind to it!

What do you think is the most crucial step for achieving goals? What was the most difficult goal you have ever achieved? Share with us in the comments below!

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