Just like you need to clearly state the destination point in your GPS, you also have to have well-defined goals in life. Having goals allows you to see the route ahead of you.
Here’s an interesting story which will illustrate this point very well –
A group of people came to a famous teacher and asked him to guide them in life. The teacher agreed to do so and asked them all to take a seat. He then offered them a cup of tea. He placed his teacup on the table and started to pour water. However, he missed pouring the water inside the cups and instead spilt it all around.
The group of people started shouting and questioned what the teacher was doing. They pointed out that he was wasting water. To this, the teacher calmly replied that it was the most important lesson in their entire life. He continued, “It is important to have specific goals in life. Otherwise, all your time, energy and resources will be wasted, just like the water was.”
Therefore, having goals is critical.
Here come the important and frequently asked questions:
1. ‘How to set goals effectively?’
2. ‘How to balance the long-term goals and the short-term goals?’
There are many systems of goal setting but here is a simple system that can be easily applied and followed. This system will not only ensure that you set meaningful goals but will also encourage you to follow through so that you achieve great results.
Here are the three stages:
Stage 1: Come up with your MISSION
All great companies have clearly defined ‘mission statement.’ This mission statement guides its long-term strategy. Often, you will find this information on their website section that talks about, ‘What they're aiming for?’ and ‘Why their company even exist?’.
Similarly, if you think about any great historical personality, they always had a certain mission they wanted to accomplish.
Evidently, it is very important for you to come up with a mission that will keep you motivated. There are people who believe that they don’t need to have big dreams – they just strive to live a good life and take care of their family. However, such people often have a hard time motivating themselves, thereby not have enough energy left over to accomplish something big in life.
In order to achieve something big, you must have an ample amount of energy and motivation. Having a clearly defined mission can be a great source of energy that is always within you.
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee
So, ‘How do you come up with your mission?’
Here is another simple approach –
Think about the people you admire. Study their mission in life. This may provide you with some inspiration.
Another interesting way is to think about ‘How you want to be remembered after your days on this planet come to an end?’
The answer to this question will give you philosophical and long-term mission for your life. Also, it will help you to contemplate on your view about life - ‘What do you want to achieve at the end?’ or ‘How you want to be remembered?’ etc.
The Japanese Samurais were one of the best warriors of all times. One of their mental practices was to think about death, every day. It may not seem like a lot of fun but it makes sense. This practice helped them to reflect on the desired outcome from life which in turn enabled them to plan their current actions accordingly.
To sum up, ask the following questions to come with a life mission:
1. ‘What do you want to?’
2. ‘What do you want to give to the world?’
3. ‘What kind of legacy do you want to leave?’
4. ‘How do you want to be remembered?’
The resulting life mission will as a constant source of unlimited motivation that will stay with you for life.
Stage 2: Come up with your YEARLY goals.
The mission gives you the overall direction of movement yet it may be a little vague. Thus, it is important to break your mission down into something more specific. For example, you can decide three goals for your upcoming year.
Usually, they will belong to the three most important areas in our life:
1. Relationship or family
You have to find a balance between these 3 areas. That is the only way you will be happy. For example, some people dedicate their entire life to earning more money and yet may be disappointed (or even unhealthy) even after acquiring lots of money.
Recently, I read an article about a guy who owns a private jet. Unfortunately, he's so overweight that he needs external help for even getting out of the bed. Only focusing on money led him to overlook other important areas such as health.
Do make this mistake!
Set 3 goals for the year.
One goal for health.
One goal for money.
One goal for a relationship.
There will be times when you won't be sure about how to reach your goals but that’s fine. Once you know your goal, you would be able to figure out how to get there.
Thus, the bottom line is - Set a goal.
Eventually, you will start looking for the ways and tools that will get you there.
Stage 3: Set your MONTHLY goals.
Now that you have decided upon your three major goals for the year, now you need to break them down further. You need to simplify and detail your yearly goals. This way, you will know the things you need to do in the current month to get one step closer towards your annual goals.
You can simply set three goals for the current month. These goals will be similar to your annual ones – health, financial and relationship goals. Or, you could even create a few subgoals.
Let's say if in the current month your health goal is to lose five pounds of weight, you can then set three sub-goals which could be to eat healthily, to stop drinking soda and to start running every morning.
So, you can set three goals or three sub-goals for each of the meta-goal that you have. Thus, if you decide to create sub-goals you will have a total number of nine goals for the month.
Don’t worry, this is still manageable. You just need to keep in mind your goals and keep pushing through the month.
PS-I'm curious to know what are your current goals? Please write them down in the comments section below. Also, if you have any questions about goals setting, ask them in the comment section and I will get back to you.