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Saturday, September 30, 2006

5 simple steps to reach your goal

Goals, who needs them?

Well, research indicates that less than 3 per cent of us regularly set written goals. However, those who do invest time in this exercise are overachievers who seem to succeed effortlessly. To them, non-goal-setters appear like dead leaves in the wind, their trails mostly decided not by them but the direction in which the wind blows fastest.

A written set of goals, organised and structured, can help keep us focused in the same way a map helps us find our destination in an unknown city. Corporations spend millions on planning and goal setting. Even at work, employees are often judged by their ability to achieve goals that have been set for them. And yet, in our personal lives, we rarely use the power of setting goals.

Davinder Sachdeva, General Manager (Sales) at one of the five largest software companies in the world, tells us how he does it. "Writing down a goal means it is important to me. Unless I write it down, it is a vague idea floating in my head. When I write it down, I can fit it into my schedule and make it real."

Here's a simple five-step process of setting goals that you can actually achieve, rather than just wish for.

Step 1: Define your goal

This seems simple, but surprisingly isn't. Most people do not clearly know what they want. Defining a goal helps you articulate what you want -- not only to others, but also to yourself. Imagine leaving your home every morning with a vague idea of where you are headed. What are the chances you will get anywhere worthwhile?

So, how do we define specifically what we want? Take a rough sheet of paper and pick an area of your life (career, education, health, relationships, spirituality, personal growth, etc) where you would like to set a goal. Write down around 20 things that you want to see happen. Don't think or analyse too much. Let your thoughts flow.

Now prioritise this list -- rank these 20 in the order of their importance to you. What you are doing is gaining clarity into what is most important. You will find yourself a lot clearer in your head.

Step 2: How will you know you have achieved this goal?

As an example, let's work on your top three goals. Most often, if we don't have good validation criteria after having set a goal, we will never know if we actually succeed in achieving it. So, ask yourself this significant question: How will I know I have achieved this goal?

This might be straightforward for some goals. If one was 'to get a promotion', or 'get admission into XYZ institute', the for that is straightforward. But, if your goal is 'to become a better manager', that's a little vague. You might want to set the validation criteria as:

1. The attrition rate in my team will drop.
2. Rewards earned by team members will grow.
3. Meetings will be shorter.
4. I will give and take regular feedback from my team.

If these things happen, you will know you have become a better manager. Now, look at your goal and try making your validation criteria as specific as possible. Notice that all four points mentioned above can be measured tangibly.

Step 3: How to go about doing it

Take a good look at your goal and validation criterion. What do you need to do to make these results happen? This is the time to break down your goal into actions and sub-actions. Come up with a list by asking yourself this question.

Step 4: Set a time frame

Setting a time frame for your goal breathes life into it and also allows you to build it into your schedule. It also helps you create a sense of urgency about your goal. If you are having trouble doing this, refine your goals and make them more specific. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to set a time frame around it.

Step 5: Take Nike's advice

Just do it.

Unfortunately, this is what proves to be the most difficult step for most. Inertia, procrastination and laziness hold us back from doing what we know we should be doing. Here's some simple advice on how to get things done:

1. Read your goals, your validation criterion and action steps every single day, more than once if possible.
2. Use a planner and fill in your list of actions. If you see what needs to be done in your planner, you are more likely to do it.
3. Use a reminder service. You can use an online calendar or reminder service to send you a reminder email every day.

The trick is to keep your goals and action list on top of your mind somehow, and keep taking action. If you do not do this, chances are they will meet the same fate as your New Year resolutions.

Finally, if this sounds like too much work, try to spice it up by making it fun. Introduce elements of things you like. For example, I usually do boring things like making monthly budgets and taxes while sitting at my favourite coffee shop. By combining these two activities, I am able to transfer the 'fun' element from one to the other.

Most often, we need to tweak our mindset just a little bit to create huge results in our lives.

-- The author is a corporate trainer.

Do you regularly set goals for yourself? How do you achieve them

1 comment:

allspaces said...

A Tenant’s Guide to Renting

The first challenge every tenant faces is finding an apartment for rent that suits their individual needs. For today’s tenant, the most effective apartment search can be done using an online apartment finder. Tenants should decide what they require in an apartment or house rental before beginning their search. For example: the number of bedrooms, location or distance from public transportation and how much the tenant can afford to pay in rent, furnished or unfurnished apartment, etc. By making these important decisions first, tenants can avoid renting an apartment or house only to regret it later. Many tenants today are taking advantage of the convenience of the internet to locate apartments for rent as opposed to the traditional print publications.

Once a possible apartment or home has been found, it is the tenant's duty to thoroughly inspect the premises making a commitment in the form of a security deposit. A tenant should not rely on the landlord or the landlord's agent to tell the tenant if anything is wrong with the property. The tenant must inspect the property carefully and ask questions about it.
Inspecting the condition and functionality of the following areas/features of the apartment before committing yourself as a tenant is highly recommended.
1. Kitchen appliances in working order.
2. Water pressure strong, plumbing without leaks.
3. Electrical outlets and wiring working.
4. Walls and ceiling painted or papered without cracks
5. Ventilation or air conditioning accessible.
6. Floors, railings and bathrooms in good repair.
7. Fire escape easy to use.
8. Stairs safe and well-lighted.
9. No rodents or insects.
10. Heating system in working order.
11. If furnished, check and write down condition of all furniture.
12. Windows and doors operable and weather-tight; screens provided.
The tenant should also check the security of the building to find out if there is a dead-bolt lock, security chain, or through-the-door viewer.
BEWARE OF EXISTING DAMAGES: In order to avoid being blamed for damages that already exist in the rental unit, the cautious tenant should take every step for self-protection. Before moving in (or as soon as possible thereafter), the tenant should make a list of all existing damages and repairs that need to be made. A copy of the list should he presented to the landlord and attached to the lease This way the landlord cannot blame the tenant for damages caused by others and the tenant will know what the landlord intends to repair. If the tenant keeps good records the landlord will not be able to keep the tenant’s security deposit for damages that were actually caused by others. Taking pictures before moving in is also strongly recommended.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Rossano, associated with www.AllSpaces.com who “Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places” has been dedicated to the Real Estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 tenants with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals, feel free to visit www.AllSpaces.com or email him at Paul@AllSpaces.com.