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Setting goals can take you a long way

education Updated: Jun 11, 2014 10:47 IST
Sameer Parikh
Sameer Parikh
Hindustan Times
behavioural sciences

Life today is increasingly becoming about instant gratification – how best to achieve satisfaction in the here and now, often compromising on the future in the process. Remember that neither the present nor the future should be at the cost of the other. We’re all presented with challenges and conflicts, when it comes to making difficult choices. It’s at such situations that the vision we have for ourselves holds us in good stead – it’s here that our vision and our goals are like the light at the end of the tunnel.

Make your goals your own: Success means different things to different people. Your targets should not be what your peers, family or society expect of you. Know yourself, your abilities and your priorities and set goals that matter to you.

Goals motivate us: Putting in efforts and working hard despite adversity is challenging for all of us. In times of difficulty, it is the goals we’ve set for ourselves that motivate us and encourage us to persist despite our failures.

The importance of feedback: Whether we’re able to achieve our goals in the first attempt or not, setting targets gives us a measure of our progress in clear and definable terms. It gives us a yardstick to evaluate our efforts and weak areas to improve performance in the future.

Roadmaps are necessary: Goals provide us with a sense of purpose and direction. They help us decide our actions in the here and now, and enable us to make choices that help us in the long run.

Goals should be clearly defined : Goals that are abstract do not provide us with a clear sense of direction and should, therefore, be avoided. Set your goals as clearly as possible, and in terms of your own performance and efforts.

Set realistic targets: Extremely unrealistic targets can often demotivate us, rather than providing inspiration. Set yourself goals that are challenging, but at the same time, achievable.

Set short and long term goals: Long-term goals are best achieved when they’re broken down into smaller, more intermediate goals. Take a step-by-step approach – it’s not just about where you see yourself five years later, but also what you plan to accomplish today.

Goals help us prioritise: We are presented with choices at every turn of life. In times of confusion and temptation, it is the vision we’ve set for ourselves that helps us make our choices and prioritise the tasks at hand.

The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare