“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.” - Woodrow Wilson
Everyone of us have a dream, but did you know that only about three out of every 100 people ever actually decide on their goal? Some of us have some form of Goals to start with. But very soon our goals get diluted and we lose focus. It is equally important to check if we are focused on our goals and seriously trying to achieve our goals. At the same time our objective should be to review and refine our goals so that they become more effective. This article provides you the basic guidelines on how to set focus on your life and your goals.
These can be done in three simple phases.
Phase 1: Goal Setting Phase
Goal setting usually covers 4 dimensions for every individual:
a) Academic Goals: This defines the academic level knowledge you aspire to achieve in your life time. Your aspiration could be to complete MBBS, BE, MBA, Phd etc.
b) Professional Goals: This defines the goal you may have when you join in your professional life by starting to work in a company. Your aspiration could be to build relationship and be acceptable among all team members, to master certain technologies and business , to get promotion and an award etc.
c) Personal Goals: While we focus on our Academic and professional goals its important we do not forget our friends and family as they are the building blocks in our ecosystem without whom we cant survive . Our goals here primarily will be to build friendship, establish trust and love others and seek guidance and constant motivation.
d) Social Goals : No goals are complete until we think of the society , It is our duty to contribute to the society in whatever small way we can, it could start of with helping our immediate neighbours and friends who are in great need of help and can extend to protecting environment, safe drinking water etc.
Phase 2: Goal monitoring phase keeping momentum and staying on track
It is important that we consistently check our goals and make sure we are on track with them. We also need to assess them every now and again and check to see if anything has changed in our long term goals. If so, no big deal, just rearrange a little.
To keep on track, you will need to follow these tips to ensure success:
1. Be specific: Make goals with numbers. This helps to know when you have achieved these goals, which will motivate you more.
2. Be positive: Stay positive when determining your goals. Stay clear of words such as stupid, dumb, etc. What you focus on expands.
3. Make them attainable. “Chunk” down larger goals into more manageable pieces. It will make you feel like you are getting somewhere with it.
4. Prioritize: Figure out which goals are more heavily weighted and time sensitive.
5. Write them down! Keep track of your goals by writing them down constantly! This will serve as a constant reminder and allow you to see and measure progress.
Once set , the goals need to be monitored once every fortnightly just to make sure that we have made some progress in our goals. If we have not achieved some of the goals we need to find out why we have missed some of them, what needs to be done to achieve them , was the define goals was too complex? Was it beyond our control? Etc.
Phase 3: Sharpening our goals and focusing on them
Sharpening of the goals is the next more important thing. Sharpening starts from looking at yourself and having a clear understanding of the goals. Sharpening your goals and focusing can be done in 3 steps:
- Try to gain a full understanding and know in detail about the Goal e.g. what are the sub parts of the goal, what tasks you need to do, how to measure your goal: ask yourself the questions, what are the tasks I need to do daily in order to achieve my goal, if you are not sure of the answer, ask your friends or seniors.
- Once you have done a detailed study of the goal, the next step is refining your goal into simple easy to understand and easy to measure and setting a committed timeline to achieve it in % e.g. if your Goal is to become a financial market expert , the sub goal can be to read at least 4 financial magazines per week.
- Know your energy levels and reserve specific amount of energy to achieve your goals. Change you energy patterns by beginning to allow yourself extra time to get to activities linked to your goal, finding activities to renew your energy, building these energy-renewing activities into your schedule, strengthening your personal foundation, finding ways to build time and energy into your life and creating reserves for yourself and reduce energy drains. Overall you need to make a critical analysis of your lifestyle and make change wherever suitable.
To conclude let me quote Sir George Bernard Shaw
“You see things; and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?””
Indeed when you set your goals and focus all your energy in making it happen it is bound to make miracles happen in your life.
Written by Rajat Pal, project manager in a IT company.