How you can set goals and achieve them

Friday, September 17, 2010 3:37

Goals provide us the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us: focus our energy’ — Denis Waitley

What are Goals?
The difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal is clearly defined in writing and has a specific deadline. Dreams are merely wishes or fantasies. Goals help you to increase your focus. They give you momentum by making you fully aware of the direction in which your work is taking you. Therefore, having a written goal statement is much better than having no goal at all.

Goals are written statements that provide a meaningful direction to your life. They help you concentrate your energy on the path of achievement and fulfilment. So it is essential that you define your heart’s desire in specific terms: with a deadline and a written goal statement. This way you will give a clear direction to your life. Goals act like a compass on the ship of your life; without them you will keep floating midway, with nowhere special to go.

Why set Goals?
During my presentations, members of the audience often ask me, ‘Why should I set goals? Can’t I do without them?’ I reply, ‘You certainly can. Not everyone who has achieved great results learnt how to set goals first. But what they achieved in ten to twenty years, you can achieve in five years
or less by the Power of Goal Setting.’

Our mind works best when it is up against challenges that have to be met within a reasonable time frame. For example, if you want to double your income without setting a goal, then with 5 per cent to 10 per cent annual increment you will automatically double it in ten to twenty years. But that will be too long a wait, isn’t it? Especially when it is possible to double your income in three years—by writing it down as a goal statement, taking concrete steps and reviewing your progress on a weekly and monthly basis.

‘Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.’ —Tom Hopkins

Why don’t you set goals in a variety of areas so that you develop a complete personality? Here are a few ideas:

i) Personal: Education, family, friends, personal development (health, nutrition, fitness, skills,
spirituality), home and travel.
ii) Career: Career, business, finance, savings, income and investments.
iii) Contribution to society: Volunteer work focusing on people, environment, etc.

Writing a goal statement
Remember these essential five steps when writing a powerful goal statement:

Step 1: Find your peak energy time. Write the statement during your peak energy hour. It could be the morning or the afternoon. You may want to play your favourite music to lift your spirits.

Step 2: Start writing. Take a pen and a white sheet of paper. Write the date and a list of 10 things that you aspire for.

Step 3: Identify your most important goal. Out of these 10 goals on your list, encircle the one which, if achieved in the next year, will have the biggest positive impact in your life and career. Write down this goal on the other side of the paper too.

Step 4: Decide on a deadline. A goal can be best defined as ‘a realistic dream with a specific deadline’. You must aim to achieve a goal within a time frame that forces you to act fast. To do this, you must ask yourself, ‘What is the approximate time it will take me to accomplish my goal?’ Then, whatever is that time, reduce it by half. If you think it will take you two years to get something, aim to achieve it in one year and write the deadline on top of your most important goal. This will keep reminding you of where you are vis-à-vis where you have to go.

Step 5: Write down your goal statement. It is important to keep three things in mind:

(i) All goal statements start with ‘I’. Remember that the goal statement is yours. When you put ‘I’ at the very start, it becomes personalized.

(ii) Write your goal statement in the present tense. The ‘I’ should be followed by a verb expressed in the present tense. This is because the subconscious mind reads and believes only in the present. If you talk to your brain in the future tense and say ‘I want to’ or ‘I wish to’, it reads these as ‘wanting’ or ‘wishing’ thoughts. Result: your conscious brain cannot do anything about them.

(iii) Your brain will see this work as something to be done in the future. To put real power behind your goals, you must write them down in the future tense.

(iv) Express your goals with positive words. Instead of saying ‘I want to lose 10 kg in three months’, say ‘I will weigh XX kg three months from now.’

Life mostly unfolds the way you expect it to. Stick to your goals with positive expectations and work with passion. This will quicken the process of goal achievement.

Your goal statements should be easy to understand. Even a child should be able to figure out what you are aiming for. Once you have written a clear statement regarding your most important goal, you can jot down statements about other areas of your life. Here are a few examples of goal statements:

i) I, Rita Sharma, am savouring the beautiful view from the window of my new home. Deadline:
ii) I, Ashish Mehra, am enjoying driving my brand new BMW. Deadline:
iii) I, Priya Malhotra, am running a successful business. Deadline:
iv) I, Rahul Gupta, am feeling thrilled at graduating from the Harvard Business School. Deadline:
v) I, Sonia Nigam, love to exercise daily and am enjoying being at my ideal weight of 58 kg. I am
fit and in excellent shape. Deadline:

Someone rightly said, ‘Aim to shoot for the highest stars, in case you miss them you will land on Mars!’
When you set your eyes on a big goal, you work hard and stretch your capabilities to achieve it. But if your goal is not challenging enough, you are unlikely to leave your comfort zone—and the result will be little or no success.

Two Action Steps:

Step 1: Read your goal statements often: Try to read your goal statements at least twice a day. Initially read them just before sleeping and then immediately after getting up. The subconscious brain continues to function even after you fall asleep. It can register your goals and work on them throughout the night. When you get up, you will be more driven to work.

Step 2: Take action daily: To accomplish your goals on time, work on them every day. Sometimes you may not be able to give your best to your work. Still, do what little you can. This way you will move at least one step towards your goal.

Success Mantra: Set your goals in the direction of what you want and love to do the most. Keep the burning desire alive in your heart and act with a calm mind.

©Shishir Srivsatava, Motivational Speaker and Author ‘The Eight Powers within You’ and

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