HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014
Work on your goals
Sameer Parikh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 23, 2014
First Published: 13:56 IST(23/7/2014)
Last Updated: 13:59 IST(23/7/2014)

While gearing up for something long term, the effort required is immense and the rewards are few and far between.Being a slow process, it’s also difficult to gauge one’s own progress, and often we feel like we just aren’t moving or doing enough. Taking a systematic approach that incorporates regular feedback will take you towards your goals.
Break down your goals:  Long-term goals, by their very nature, can seem daunting. So break it down into smaller steps.
Self-evaluate your progress: Take a short test every week to know where you stand. Another approach is to rate yourself out of five each day with reference to how satisfied you are with the effort you’ve invested that day. Keep this score sheet accessible and visible to remind yourself.

Stick to a plan: Without a plan, your preparation may go haphazard and eventually end up being counter-productive. Create time tables that are realistic and flexible. If you’ve planned your approach well, there’s no reason to get unnerved.

Reward yourself for a job well done: Rewards are a very effective behavioural technique to keep yourself engaged and motivated with the task at hand. Go to a movie with a friend or a game or buy something you’ve been wanting to for a long time.

Take frequent breaks: Short breaks after every 45 minutes are extremely important while doing any kind of work that demands your attention. At the same time, a couple of days off every now and again can also help.

Remind yourself of why your goal is important: In moments of dejection, it’s easy to lose sight of why one’s goals are important, and giving up seems very tempting. At these times, keep reminding yourself of why your goal is important.

Don’t compare yourself: Different people have different goals and various unique ways of approaching their targets. When it comes to long-term goals, comparing yourself to others will probably not be an accurate way of evaluating your progress. Maintain your own yardstick and prepare in a manner that suits your style.

Pace yourself: Remote goals are like marathons and pacing oneself is essential. Make sure you don’t tire yourself and burn out. Be prepared for the long haul where you look after your health, keep a balanced schedule and incorporate your preparation into your daily life.

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

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