We all have our aspirations and dreams, don’t we? But some of us seem to be more successful at achieving our goals than others. We can attribute it to natural talent, the right connections or just plain luck. Sometimes those reasons are valid, but more often than not, people who achieve their goals are people who chose the right goals in the first place. Many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world. They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere. A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven’t set themselves appropriate goals.
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not! A person without any goals is quite like a ship without a rudder or a letter without an address. Setting goals gives you purpose, and they help you to guide your life.
“If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”
There are countless books, articles and self-help workshops on how to set goals and the process of achieving goals, but little has been written on how to choose the right goals.
Why is this important?
Because choosing the wrong goals almost always results in frustration, failure, because if you set a wrong goal for yourself, then it’s like boarding a wrong train.
“It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t.” ~Stephen Kellogg
If we really want to be successful in life, we have to choose the goals that are right for us. If you want success in life, you need to choose goals that are in conformity with your values, your strengths, your passions and your desired lifestyle. They lead to better health, better relationships, and better careers, and they make us better people.
Attributes of goals
“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~ Michelangelo
Goals should be big enough. It doesn’t matter if you think it is far-fetched, put it down. Being realistic is the most common road to mediocrity. If you want to do something abnormal you are going to have to try some abnormal things. Don’t be surprised if people think you are crazy, your goals should be so big, that small minded people don’t understand.
Goals should have a date. A goal without a date on it is a wish. Even if you think, the date is impossible, put it down. Putting a date on it makes you develop a sense of urgency and cultivate self-discipline. It is important to ensure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want this?
- What will it mean if I attain it? What if I do not?
- How will attaining this goal add value to my life?
- Is it conformity with my current thoughts, beliefs, and values?
- What is the cost of attaining this goal in time?
- What are my values? Your goals must be consistent with your values.
- What do I love doing? If your passion becomes your profession, then you don’t have to work for a living.
- What are my strengths? Reasoning, speaking, convincing, drawing, athletics, memorizing, whatever.
Discuss with a trusted friend or family member who can be objective with you during the process. The answers to these questions will narrow down your choice of goal.
Long term and short term goals
Take a look at the various aspects of your life: Health, Relationships, Career, and Finances. Where are you right now in each of these areas? Write down an honest self-assessment. Specifically, where would you like to be in each of these areas in the next 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years? The answers to these questions will help you to formulate your short term goals.
Just think: what kind of a person you want to become? What kind of lifestyle you want to have? What kind of house you want to live in? What kind of family life do you visualize? What kind of vacations do you want to enjoy? This will help you to set long-term goals. Decide a timeline, and then work backwards. If your long term goal is for 15 years, break it up into 5 year periods. Then break up the first 5 years into every year and quarters of each year.
How to choose your goal
A goal is a dream with a deadline. Napoleon Hill
You must allow yourself to dream. There are no barriers. Also forget to be reasonable, explore all possibilities. It is totally irrelevant if what comes to your mind is possible or not. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind – all of the things you’d like to accomplish and those that sound exciting. Look at what you’ve written down. Allot them numbers from 1-10 where 10 is the most motivating, that means if you reach it, you really made progress towards what you really want in life.From this list select the 3 highest rated goals and set deadlines to when you will achieve them. So it’s time to give yourself a pat for finally having chosen your goal correctly.