One of the best things in life is to set goals. But before moving directly towards goals, let’s first understand life. We live two types of lives. One is passive life and another is an active life. Now, what is passive life, and what is active life?
Passive means the things are just happening in your life and you are moving forward along the time. Whatever is coming in your way, either good or bad you are dealing with it. Most people live this type of life. They reach their destiny by following this route. They have very less direct contribution in their life. If there are issues in their financial life or family life or professional life, then they accept it as a fate or destiny.
On another side, you might have heard that your actions change your destiny. If you take the actions towards your pre-decided goals then you are very likely to achieve your desired destiny. And this is what is an active life. A life, which is having your active involvement. Only around 10-12% of people, who have goals and take action to achieve them, belong to this group.
Which life do you prefer? Passive or Active! If you want to take control of your life then be part of the second group. Below outstanding excerpt on goals is from ‘Born to Win: Find Your Success Code’ by Zig Ziglar.
Importance of Having Goals
1. Goals bring the future into the present, and the present is the only time we can take action. Setting goals makes it possible to do something today to create the desired destiny.
2. If you don’t plan your time, someone else will help you waste it.
3. People get twice as much done on the day before they go on vacation because they plan (set goals) and prioritize what they intend to do. Just Think, if you lived every day like it was the day before vacation, how much would you be able to increase the total productivity of your life?
4. Goal setters make more money than people who don’t set goals. When Dave Jensen was the Chief Administrative Officer at The University of California, Los Angeles in 1992, he conducted a study on goal setting. He learned that people with a balanced goals program earned an average of $7,411 per month. In 2011, those numbers showed earnings of $11,632.73 per month. Dave discovered that individuals without a goals program earned an average of $3,397 per month or $5,332.13 in 2011 dollars and cents. That’s over $6,000 more a month! “Those with goals programs were also happier and healthier and got along better with the folks at home.”
5. Goals keep you focused on the things that really matter and help you avoid wasting time on things that are unproductive. Focus helps you change from being a “wandering generality” to being a “meaningful specific.”
6. Setting goals gives direction and purpose to all that you do. Goals are the links in the chain that connect activity to accomplishment.
Come Out of Excuses
People make a lot of excuses for not being willing to set goals, but the benefits of setting goals far exceed the excuses for not setting them. There is something about the goal-setting process that makes people approach it in fear, and they can find lots and lots of reasons to avoid it. The biggest reason is an unwillingness to be accountable for results. After all, if you set a goal and fail to reach it, some people will consider it a failure. But there is an old saying that goes, “It is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all!” A slightly altered version of this concept can be like, “It is better to set goals and have direction than to not have goals and wander around in confusion.” Ultimately, people who do not set goals are just making up their life as they go along, which results in unreached potential.
A young couple, lost on a rural road, spotted an old farmer, so they stopped the car and asked him a question. “Sir, could you tell us where this road will take us?” Without a moment’s hesitation the old farmer said, “Son, this road will take you anywhere in the world you want to go, if you are moving in the right direction.” This little story makes a big point. From wherever you are, you can go anywhere you want to go if you pick the right roads to travel. The roads you travel in life are selected and determined by the goals you set for each area of your life. The key is to pick the right roads!
Steps for Goal Setting
If you are not clear on how to set goals, then you can follow the below steps for goal setting.
Step-1. Identify the goal
If you don’t identify a target, you will never hit it. When you identify a goal, it means that you write it down and describe it clearly. Don’t set any unclear targets. If you want to have specific success, you must have specific targets. A goal “to increase my annual income” or “to spend more time with family” is not specific. A specific goal would be “to increase my current income by 20 percent” or “to spend 4 hours on weekends with family.”
Step-2. List the benefits: what’s in it for me?
Once you identify a specific goal, you need to list the benefits you will receive when you reach that goal. Let’s face it, we only do the things we want to do and are willing to do. If there are no personal benefits, your motivation for completing the goal will be diminished. Remember that changing your life is not always easy, and you will hit some rough spots on the road as you move forward. You will need all the personal motivation you can muster, and understanding what’s in it for you is vitally important. Don’t skimp on this step!
Step-3. List the obstacles to overcome.
Remember, there might be some rough spots on your journey as you work to achieve your goals. Many of them can be anticipated, and if you can anticipate something, you can prepare yourself in advance to overcome it. So think it through and make a complete list of all the things that can prevent you from being successful. Ask a trusted friend who knows you well to help you finish the list.
Step-4. List the skills and knowledge required.
Knowledge gives us the power to accomplish things we would not otherwise be able to do, and skills give us the tools to take advantage of our knowledge. There is a direct relationship between knowing and doing, and successfully accomplishing your goals will require that powerful combination. For example, if your goal is to increase your proficiency on the computer, you will need to know specifically what the computer can do for you (knowledge). Once you know what you want the computer to do for you, the skills you will need to be successful must be identified. The skills might include learning to type on a keyboard with two hands instead of finger pecking. This would trigger setting another goal of learning to type! Never forget that knowledge and skill will be required to successfully complete any goal.
Step-5. Identify the people and groups to work with.
We do a better job when we have the help of others. They can help us with knowledge and skill and can offer valuable advice we need to be successful. So when you set your goals, always consider the people and the groups you can work with that can help you be more successful. No great goals have been accomplished by anyone in the world without the support of other people and groups.
Step-6. Develop a plan of action.
This is the most critical step, and it involves thinking through the details of how you will achieve your goal. Zig Ziglar shared his personal experience, “In my younger years I was thirty-seven pounds overweight. I had put that weight on one bite at a time, and I was going to have to lose it the same way. That required a plan! I wanted to lose my weight over a ten-month period and that was the first step of the plan. Thirty-seven pounds sounds like a lot, but when you realize it’s only 3.7 pounds a month over a ten-month period it sounds a lot better.
So, I planned to lose 3.7 pounds a month for ten months. Then I included a daily running and exercise plan in the goal, as well as a diet that would limit my caloric intake. With those details planned, I clearly knew how I was going to have to live each day to be successful. I prepared diligently to succeed. I stuck to my plan, and ten months later I had lost thirty-seven pounds. In this case, reaching my goal may not have changed the world but it surely did change my world.”
Step-7. Set a deadline for achievement.
If you don’t set a deadline for completing your goals, you will not be accountable to yourself or anyone else. If you are not accountable for your goals, you will not achieve them.