The Power of Goal Setting
What is common between Sachin Tendulkar and Ratan Tata (famous Indian personalities)?
Very clearly they both had a goal in their life and a hunger to achieve it. Tendulkar wanted to play the Cricket World Cup 2011 and win it whereas Ratan Tata wanted to offer Rs. 1 Lakh ($2000) car to the Indian market. They both had a strong and clear vision of their goal. This helped them to put all their energies together and convert into a reality.
This is the power of goal setting which needs determination and uninterrupted commitment.
Set a Goal
Many of my students come to me for career advice. I simply ask them one question: where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? They almost never have a concrete answer for this, the first and foremost question before starting a career.
For any type of growth, goal setting is very important. This provides direction and a sense to use all the resources in the most appropriate and meaningful manner. Many times we tend to miss opportunities just because we do not have any clarity.
Goal setting helps in identifying those opportunities, it also strengthens our determination which then acts as a driving force.
1. Goal Setting: Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals require much endurance and patience.
- Aiming to become General Manager in the next 5 yrs,
- or to go on an international trip in the next 2 yrs,
- or to buy a house in a year’s time.
Long-term goals are the vision for a year or more.
2. Goal Setting: Short Term Goals
Unlike long-term goals, short-term goals are achieved in the near future.
- Enhancing your technical knowledge to perform better in your current job or
- Bringing a smile to the face of everyone you meet, or
- Finding a suitable job immediately.
In other words, a short-term goal is achieved in a day, a week or a month’s time.
Long-term or short-term goals?
Many times, people get confused about whether to plan for the long-term or short-term goal. It is always better to break your long-term goals into shorter targets. Set small targets, achieve success in those. Achievement of short-term goals provides motivation and confidence. It prepares you mentally for long-term goals.
Yusuf Pathan (Cricketer) had an amazing clarity about his goal. He wanted to come back to the Indian Cricket team and play for the world cup in 2011.
He broke his long-term vision into short-term goals and started practicing an extra 30-40 minutes after the entire team had left. This got him undivided attention from the coach and guidance to enhance his game.
Follow the SMART strategy to attain your Goals
Being specific always provides a clear direction. It removes all the vagueness or doubt you might have in your mind. Pick up a piece of paper and write in simple words what you want. Stick it on a wall so that you can read it every day and strengthen your determinations to achieve it.
“I need to lose 10 pounds” is more specific and impactful than saying “I need to slim down.”
Goal setting should be specific.
A goal that can be measured is easier to attain than the one which can’t be measured.
This example shows the difference in goal setting
1. To score 95% in my math test I need to finish the curriculum in the next 6 months
2. I want to score 95% on my math test.
Goal setting should be measurable.
Having a positive mindset for the task at hand will make it much more attainable. A negative mindset towards your work will feed your subconscious mind with a similar negative approach and keep you from performing at your peak.
For example “losing 1 pound a week” is simpler to attain than “losing 5 pounds a week”
Goal setting should be attainable.
Set a realistic (or in other words, achievable) goal. Neither too difficult nor too easy. Set your goal high enough so as to feel fulfilled once it is accomplished.
Goal setting should be realistic.
Set a time-frame for the goal: next week, three months, five years, whatever. Putting an end-point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.
Goal setting should be timely.
Always remember, goal setting works best when you realize you are meant to have an amazing life. Now go out and achieve those goals!