Welcome to another Fresh Start Monday, where we change the narrative… Today we will be looking at goals and goal setting. Since we are on the journey of, 2021 On Purpose! It is important that we have an action plan for such.
A goal can be thought of simply as an object of someone’s ambition or effort. To be deliberate about the year and our lives, the smart thing to do, would be to create a plan, in this case that includes setting goals. Goal setting is important, in that, it helps us to figure out those things that are important to us and worth our time.
It is good practice to have long-term and short-term goals. Creating a life plan would be just awesome! Then it can be broken down into a ten-year plan, a five-year plan and a yearly plan. It is important that we remember that our aim is not to plan every single event or moment of our lives, but to capture priorities and the essence of where we would like to go. We should also remain open to possible changes that may even be outside our control.
For a wholistic approach, we should make plans that address each area of our lives. Hence, the plan would address our relationships, academics, career, finances, health, spiritual and voluntarism, among other aspects of our lives. We should be careful to ensure that our goals are in line with our priorities and those things that we care about, this will increase our motivation to work towards these goals. When setting goals for a year addressing each area of our lives, we should be mindful of the time factor hence we have no more than three or so goals in each area to ensure we will be able to attempt each goal.
The SMART approach to goal setting is a popular one and it makes plenty sense. When making goals they should be:
- Simple – there’s no need to have a long-complicated goal, filled with conditions. Neither should they be vague without much meaning. It is much better to get straight to the point.
- Measurable – our goals should have a means that will ascertain whether the goal(s) have been meant. For example, a goal that states “I will read more” doesn’t give a measure of accomplishing this, however, a goal that states “I will read one book each quarter” gives a measure by which the goal will be achieved.
- Attainable – there’s no point in defeating the purpose of goal setting by setting goals we know from the onset that we will not achieve. That’s setting ourself up for failure and it also erodes our self-confidence. So, using the example above, depending on our schedule and how much we like to read, the goal was “I will read one book each quarter”. However, if it had read “I will read a book each week” we know definitely from the onset this goal would not be met.
- Realistic or Relevant – our goal should be related to the direction we want to go. Therefore, our goals should not be scattered without a sense of direction. All this will do is drain our energy by spreading ourselves thin chasing numerous things not related.
- Time-bound – our goals should have a deadline; we should know clearly when the goal is met or not. Again, using the above example, at the end of each quarter we will know if the goal of reading more is met by assessing whether a book was read.
After we have set our goals, our next move is to act! We need to act on our goals, not make them and leave them in a book somewhere. Depending on how private we are as individuals or our living conditions, we may choose to write them and place them in a place we will see them readily.
Do not get caught up with perfection, many of us get distracted by the illusion of perfection, let us not fall in the trap another time. Get started and keep going regardless. Yes, things will change and yes, things will happen that we did not plan for. Nevertheless, press on, adjust the details of the plan but keep the goal. Unless you realize it shouldn’t have been a goal to begin with, though unlikely it is possible.
Be open minded, appreciating that as we pursue our goals we will evolve. We will grow daily and start having closer resemblance to the person we are becoming. Trust the process, it will work out.
Let us set goals and crush them! It’s 2021… On Purpose! And we are changing the narrative…