A story is told of a little boy who went with his father to the farm and noticing that each row in the field seemed so accurate, he enquired of his father as to how it was possible. “Simple,” said the father. “All you got to do is to look ahead of you and focus upon a point and move toward it.” Now the little boy being curious wanted to try it for himself. Upon the request the boy was given the plough and followed the instructions given by his father. On completing the row he turned back to see how well he had done in making a straight row like his father. He found his plough had gone zigzag and the line didn’t seem straight. When the boy’s father asked him as to what was his focus, the boy said, “A rabbit”. Each time the rabbit hopped the boy shifted his course of focus.
The boy in the story had set his focus on a wrong object and therefore he was unable to reach his goal – a straight line.
Goal setting tells you precisely what you want to achieve, and what is a distraction. Goal setting helps you to have a long-term vision and a short-term motivation in your life.
Let us begin by saying that goal setting is a process which allows you to choose where you want to go in life.
To consider your lifetime goals you need to ask a few questions. Ask yourself what would you really like to be a few years from now. Perhaps, setting a lifetime goal can give you an overall perspective which can modify and shape every other aspect of your decision that you make. Let us consider a few common areas that need goal setting:
- Mental - Do you find yourself caught in a crossfire within you that you find something is holding you back? Is there something that upsets you? Is there a problem that you are unable to resolve by yourself – take help. Set a right attitude.
- Physical – Do you wish to live long and healthy? If so have you thought about how you can achieve them? You can plan on a regular exercise and a balanced diet pattern which will enable you to be healthy.
- Educational – Academically do you want to attain a certain goal? Do you want to acquire knowledge in a particular area of your study? Do you want to be proficient in your area of education? What information and skill would you require to apply?
- Spiritual – Do you have an intimate relationship with God? Do you know your Divine Helper personally? To what level do you want to attain in your spiritual growth? Is it sufficient to be ritualistic in my spiritual outlook or is it more important to have an intimacy, in a personal level, with God?
After you have got a picture in your mind about what you want to be then you need to ask a few questions.
Who am I and where am I going? Who are my friends? What am I doing – my job, my likes, my dislikes, my routine of life? Do I really want to become what I want to? What are my dreams for my immediate family? And the list can go on. What are your goals and aspirations?
If you have answered these questions then you can start to work on achieving your lifetime goals.
Achieving Lifetime Goals:
In order to achieve a lifetime goal you need to plan smaller goals that should be reached. If your lifetime plan is set for 25 years from now then you need to start working backwards to set smaller goals. Set a 15 year goal, set a 5 year goal, maybe a 1 year goal, 6 month goal, 1 month goal, and a weekly goal. You then set a daily to-do list of things to achieve your lifetime goals. You can select and decide what you can do here and now, today or even tomorrow. You need to imagine and record actions that will help you move forward toward attaining your goals. Once you have achieved your smaller goals on a daily basis, keep the processes going by reviewing and updating your list daily to stay on course.
Effective Goal Setting:
Set aside a time when you can be by yourself far from any interruptions. Select a place that is convenient and comfortable for you so that you can think positively and with freedom. The way in which you set goals, strongly affect their effectiveness. To have effective goal setting the following broad guidelines may apply:
- Positive Statement – express your goals positively.
- Be Precise – set a precise goal, indicating the date and time in order to measure the achievements.
- Set priorities – where there are many goals to be reached, give each a priority. By doing this it will help you to direct your attention to the most important ones.
- To avoid confusion make a list of goals you need to reach, and give emphasis to them.