‘Set your goals and work towards it’- you have probably heard this countless of times. But what exactly does this entail? This article will tell you more about goal-setting and how to work towards them.

Goal- Setting & Strategic planning

Having goals gives one long-term vision and short-term motivation. It not only provides direction and motivates focus, but also helps you to organize your time and resources so that you can make the most out of life. The picture that I just painted looks wonderful, but many often do not go through with them. Just think of all the same New Year resolutions you make year after year. The root of this issue stems from the beginning- goal setting. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when setting goals is to desire things based on their impulses in which the novelty wears off once one gets down to doing it. Even if one manages to achieve those goals, the satisfaction anticipated does not fulfill the perceived desire and disappointment takes over. When you set a goal, it must come hand in hand with strategic planning on how you are going to achieve it. This lets you know what kind of work is expected to be done and whether the goal is achievable before you work towards it.

Explore your own needs

Establish goals based on your own personal desires, not to please anyone or be externally influenced by others. You can start by asking yourself what you want that will make you truly happy. Don’t be afraid to push your boundaries but at the same time, consider if those goals are realistic and attainable. You should also evaluate the short, medium and long term impact of these goals on your life. What are you trying to achieve? How will this help you in the future? Take time to think through and formulate your goals.


Now that you understand the importance of goal-setting with strategic planning and what are your needs, I am going to introduce to you one of the approach you make like to take to setting them- setting SMART Goals. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. first appeared in the November 1981 issue of the Management Review by writers George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham. It was initially seen as tool to improve project management in businesses. Today, SMART goals are used by people all over the world for setting all kinds of goals. While there are numerous variations, SMART usually stands for:

·       S- Specific (or Significant)

·       M- Measurable (or Meaningful)

·       A- Attainable (or Action-Oriented)

·       R- Relevant (or Rewarding)

·       T- Time-bound (or Trackable)     

One example would be instead of “To be healthier”, it would be more powerful to use the SMART goal of “To lose 5kg by 31 December 2016 by working out 3 times a week.”.

Planning for the worst

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Let’s face it, not all paths towards goal achievement are smooth- in fact most are obstacle-laden. Fear and worry of failure is the number one blocker that people have towards going after their dreams. By preparing for the worst, you can reach your goal more smoothly as you have already covered any negative outcomes and focusing your precious energy on your goal achievement rather than worrying about failure. Some people believe that by preparing for the worst is an excuse that will lurk in your mind that will tell you your goal cannot be achieve. But it is actually the opposite- it is a very smart move. Preparing for the worst outcome can be a safety net for your emotional well-being which is greatly beneficial to accomplishing your goals. So remember to take time to sit down and think about the possible scenarios that may occur. This will allow you to eliminate bumps that if unprepared for, may cause you to give up altogether.

I shall leave you with this quote by former US president, Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” All the best in your goal setting!