Life without goals is like being on a ship that is heading without a destination. Goals translate to discipline, motivation and ultimately, success and happiness. So why wouldn’t we want to lead a goal-oriented life?
Setting up goals is easy but sticking to them is not. Most of us would agree with this fact. But stick to them, you must. The reason why we push ourselves beyond limits, why we toil round the clock and why we give up pleasure for work is only because we want success. If we want to succeed, we definitely have to set goals. When you set out to achieve your goal, you are on a path which has focus and direction. If on this path, you take detours or different turns, you move farther away from your goal and may not reach it altogether. To avoid straying from your goal, you need to set up some guidelines and follow some rules. All it takes is a little prep time and lots of determination. Whether it is about getting more done every day, meeting a deadline or shedding a few pounds, the following ten steps will make it easier for you to cross every milestone.
1. Do not procrastinate: Procrastinating is the first major hurdle to cross in achieving goals. Often, we tend to put off the task at hand to a later date or time. Or we may do so with some parts of a job. All this will lead to is delay and frustration and you will find yourself no closer to the goal. Have a start date and a deadline and stick to it. The job at hand should be your priority.
2. Make short-term goals: If you have large projects or goals, they are likely to overwhelm you. You may end up leaving the work incomplete or not doing a good job. Breaking the large tasks into smaller, short-term goals is a good idea to meet deadlines, remain motivated and see the job through efficiently. It will also leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
3. Do not take up too much too soon: Set yourself one goal at a time. Do not take on too many tasks or projects at the same time. You are less likely to finish them when you do so. But if you take it one step at a time and put all your energy into it, you will soon be ticking off a lot more items on your checklist of goals.
4. Have visual reminders: Have a schedule for completed tasks as well as incomplete ones. You will feel motivated by how much you have accomplished and how far ahead you are in your schedule. It will also serve to help you evaluate your goal and build a comparison. If the work at hand is more demanding, you can compare the time taken by you to complete the previous task and either reschedule your work or break it up into smaller, easily doable parts.
5. Be a part of a goal-driven group: Being in the company of driven people can motivate you to do better. It encourages you to stick to your goals and try harder to accomplish them.
6. Put in prep time: The more you prepare, the less likely you are to goof up. Putting in prep time also makes you confident and saves you time by eliminating mistakes.
7. Take time off: It is not a bad idea to take the day off or at least an extended lunch hour to get back on track. This will work to your advantage when you are feeling overstressed and unproductive.
8. Be responsible: Hold yourself responsible for delays or postponements. If you fail to achieve the set task, deprive yourself of rewards. Make up for it by positive punishment. For example, if you have indulged in an eating binge despite setting up a diet schedule, punish yourself positively by extending your time on the treadmill.
9. Be ready for feedback: Feedback, especially from a respected mentor, can help you improvise and achieve better results. Take feedback positively and allow it to motivate you or make you more productive. That is another step towards your goal.
10. Be sensible: Whether it is the goal, deadline or effort, go for sensible limits. You cannot take on a huge project that requires multiple skills, huge labor force or endless reports and have a goal to complete it within a month. When limits are reasonable, you can be surer of success. It also motivates you stick to the goal you have set for yourself.
Success is certainly the goalpost of a goal-oriented life. Viswanath K, Captain at Indigo Airlines, will vouch for this fact. He achieved his dream of being a pilot in an amazingly short time and reached insurmountable heights in his field. When asked about his success story, he says, “Set measureable sized goals and be consistent in your efforts! Don’t deviate from it and don’t settle for less. Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future and motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.”