In this episode, let’s talk about how to set Goals. If you have never done goal setting in the past, this is a great place to start.
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So the first thing to rectify here is to create goals that sound like end points. That way even if one route doesn’t work out, you have other routes to try in order to achieve your goals.
Secondly, you shouldn’t be too stringent on yourself. Keep it real. Just because a number on the calendar has changed, you cannot turn from a total slob on 31st December to a superman on 1st January. Start small. Think of one goal that is achievable. Even if you set a stringent goal and feel the need to modify it 4 months down the road, you can always do it. It isn’t a crime, the police isn’t going to arrest you, there is no provision in the constitution to punish people if they modify their goals. Also, you don’t have to share your goals with anyone. Your friends don’t need to know your goals. Your social media posts don’t need to talk about your goals. I am doing a podcast on this topic yet I am not talking about all of the goals that I have set for myself. So bottomline, set a goal and measure your progress on a timely basis. Whatever progress you make, you should accept that. Even if its a small progress its a step in the right direction.
I will give you a personal example because I have blogged about it too. I hated reading books but I did realize how important it was in order to tap on these vast knowledge repositories and develop a deeper understanding. So as part of a personal development goal, I set myself a target to read 5 minutes a day. That’s it, everyday for 5 minutes, I would read the best selling book on my favorite topic. That’s an action item in my to do list. Guess what, within a couple of weeks, I was easily reading for atleast half an hour a day.
And I know an avid reader would say, half an hour, that’s nothing! Well for me it is. For someone who could watch paint dry rather than read a book, reading half an hour is freakin fantastic. Moreover, it is a step in the right direction and that was exactly the intent of this goal.
Now a good question here should be – okay I like this entire goals stuff, I am sold, but where do I begin. What goals should I set? Who is going to tell me what my goals are?
Well, surprise surprise, nobody can tell you what your goals should be. But you can always take inspiration. In my previous podcast, I talked about the 4 things that should be in your to-do list. Hobbies, Relationships, Health and God or Belief, how about you come up with goals for these areas. But if you want to be more exhaustive, there is a diagram around principles in the book “7 habits of highly effective people” and although it isn’t necessarily there to guide you around goals but I think that diagram covers each of the buckets that your goals should fall into. The idea is that these buckets will cover all of your life areas.
So here’s what you need to do, in a notebook, dedicate a page for each of these buckets or create an excel spreadsheet and dedicate one tab each for these buckets. The buckets are,
Now you can ofcourse add, delete or modify these buckets as you wish. For example, you don’t have really have any enemies so you can remove it. Also, you consider your closest friends a part of your family so maybe you want to combine the two. Or the self bucket, you want to bifurcate into personal development, health and hobbies. So I hope you get the idea and you can decide what the buckets are going to be.
Once you have ample buckets to cover all of your life areas, its time to write your goals for each of them. They could be trivial so don’t worry about that. A goal can be as simple as, I want to spend quality time with my spouse so I will ensure that we go on a datenight every Wednesday.
Now it is also important to note that you don’t have to plan it all out and have this notebook or excel spreadsheet ready on January 1. There’s a concept called rolling-wave planning in project management and what it basically means is that as you move further in the project you discover more information about the project and get more clarity. You can then modify your plans accordingly. So whatever that you can think of on January 1 should be your goals. These goals are just the starting point. Once you have them written down, you need to review your goals and measure your progress in a timely fashion. Once every 2 weeks or once a week or atleast once a month, go over the notebook or the excel spreadsheet and see where you stand. Write a status of your goals. This step is the very soul of achieving your goals. You don’t want to write your goals and then forget about them completely and at the end of year come back to them and feel like you didn’t achieve anything. You need to stay in touch with your goals and measure your progress timely.
And like I said earlier, you don’t have to share your goals on social media, you don’t have to forward the entire spreadsheet on whatsapp, you don’t need to go to the hilltops and shout out all your goals for the simple reason that if you aren’t able to achieve your goals you will have to eat crow. And in a society like ours where failure is frowned upon you don’t want to be eating crow. So keep your goals to yourself. Even if you are unable to achieve a goal, its okay. You made some progress, you tried, atleast you now know what you are capable of. And of course you can always improve. But ultimately it is important to note all your goals and measure them timely because like I mentioned in the beginning, if you don’t know where you are going you won’t reach there.