CAREER ADVANCEMENT / OCT. 27, 2014
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How to Set Personal Goals

Many people feel disillusioned with their lives. Despite their best efforts, they might feel that they are not getting anywhere. One of the main reasons for this could be that they don’t really know what they want. If you don’t know where you are going, you are likely to get frustrated in life. This is why having personal goals is very important for everyone. Setting goals not only allows you to visualize your future, but also gives you motivation to work towards this vision. In addition, knowing where you are going enables you to set priorities for your life.

You can set personal goals in different areas of your life. Here are some categories you need to consider:

  • Career
  • Financial
  • Education
  • Family
  • Attitude
  • Health
  • Personal/Social
  • Public service
  • Spirituality

Take time to think about what you would want to achieve in each of these areas. After coming up with your goals in each category, trim them down to a more manageable number. This will allow you to focus your attention on what is most important.  

Remember to break your long-term goals into shorter goals. For example, if you want to become a bank manager in 5 years, create one-year plans which will help you achieve your ultimate goal. This can be further broken down into daily to-do lists.

Here are some tips which will enhance your chances of achieving your goal:

  • Write them down – Having goals on paper crystallizes them and motivates you to work towards their achievement
  • Use positive statements – Make sure your goals are expressed using positive statements. For instance, say ‘Start getting to work early’ instead of ‘Stop getting to work late’
  • Set priorities – Once you have identified your goals, give each priority. Some could be high-priority goals, while others could be low-priority. This will enable you to give each goal the attention it deserves.
  • Be precise – When setting goals, be sure to include amounts, times and dates. This will make it easier for you to measure progress
  • Focus on performance, not outcome – At times, you do not have much control over the outcome of your goals. For instance, you might fail to achieve your business goals due to government policy, disasters or a change in global trends. Therefore, setting goals based on outcomes can leave you disappointed and disillusioned. Instead, it would be advisable to set your goals based on performance
  • Be realistic – Make sure your goals are challenging, but achievable. Having unrealistic goals will only frustrate and discourage you
  • Be flexible – You need to be flexible enough to adjust your goals as necessary. At times, it would even be prudent to abandon a goal which no longer adds value to your life

After achieving a goal, make the next one even more challenging. This will give you the opportunity to stretch even further. Remember to apply the lessons learnt on the journey towards achieving your goals. Don’t allow temporary failure keep you from pursuing your goals further. To achieve long term success, you will need to be patient and persistent.

Image via istockphoto

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