Among the definitions of the word ‘goal’ provided by the Oxford Dictionary “object or effort or destination.” Goals can also be described as targets of achievement, barriers or obstacles to conquer, problems to solve or a personal sense of purpose.
People need to set goals in order to focus their efforts and motivate themselves towards achieving successful results, getting ahead or realising their full potential. Many of us lose track of our goals of life and work. Our efforts seem to spin without any particular direction or purpose and we become bored, dissatisfied or demotivated. Some of us plod along sensing that something is missing in our lives but resign ourselves to a ‘Oh well that’s my life’ explanation.
DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING?
A popular song asks: “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you know the things that life is showing you? Do you know?” It is surprising how many of us sing or hum this song but never answer its question.
In the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, the main character, Alice gets lost and asks the way. She in turn is asked the question: “Do you know where you are going to?” When she replies “no”, she is told “Well if you don’t know where you are going to, any road will take you there.” It is an amusing explanation but it holds a simple and powerful truth. We need to know where we are going and to have a sense of purpose and direction before we can find our destination, personal self fulfillment or success.
START AT THE VERY BEGINNING
People can aspire to several different goals such as career goals, personal goals, study goals, material goals, family goals, financial goals, work goals etc.
Before you set your goals however, you should make sure that they are your goals and not someone else’s, because only then will you have the enthusiasm and drive to pursue them. Start at the very beginning, start with yourself and set your goals. In order to set your own goals, you need to assess yourself and find out what it is that you want out of life. You need to explore and assess your needs, your values, your skills, your interests, your lifestyle and the barriers or limitations that you face.
When you have carried out this exercise, you should have a better idea of what you want to achieve and where to direct your effort. Then you will need to prioritise your goals, that is find out what your major goals are. You may have a list that reads:
- My main career goals are
- My main personal goals are
- My main study goals are
- My main material goals are
- My main family goals are, etc.
Read your list of goals and consider which are long term or short or immediate. Place them in order of importance and make sure they are relevant and realistic.
GO FOR IT
After you have prioritized and categorized your goals, think what you need to do to achieve them. You might need to:
- Upgrade skills
- Get a scholarship or grant
- Study for a different career
- Manage your time better
- Get financial assistance
- Plan a budget, etc.
- Once you know what you need to do, get a plan of action going.
DECISION AND ACTION
In order to make good decisions and actions, review your goals and objectives and be sure of what you want and what you are going after.
Get all the information you need to make a good decision, consider your options. What alternative choices and actions exist.
Evaluate your information – think of the pros and cons.
Get assistance – get advice and guidance from people with the know how or ability to help you.
Plan your action in stages, step 1, step 2, step 3.
Set a realistic time frame in which to achieve your goals.
Get started, don’t procrastinate, don’t worry, organize yourself, and go for your goal. Motivate yourself by thinking of the reward, recognition, praise, fulfillment, financial benefit or whatever gives you the energy and enthusiasm to get along.
It is important however to bear in mind that as you grow and change, your goals and priorities will change and that as you achieve one set of goals, new goals will arise. They will help life interesting and challenging and most important, they will help you to grow and realize your full potential.