“What is your long term goal?”
This is a very common question in interviews – be it a job interview or an admission interview. And majority of the students find it difficult to answer this question. This article is not about answering the question. But about goals and the role they play in our life.
Should we have goals? Or rather ... What is the problem if we do not have them? If we take the discussion to a philosophical plane we might end up with existential questions. Let’s not move into that realm of things. It is a fact that we all have desires and we all strive to fulfil them. We feel frustrated when our existence seems mediocre and feel envious at people who are doing well. What we do not understand is that many a time the difference between a performer and a non performer is the presence and absence of a clear cut goal and persistence in striving for its attainment.
What does a goal do? A goal helps you to focus your time and resources and assists you to evade distractions and disturbances. A goal elevates you from the state of a drifting log that goes wherever the current takes it to that of an arrow that has a target to hit.
This time of the year is particularly suitable for introspection and setting long term goals, especially for students doing professional courses, as this is a period of relative calm with not many exams and not much rigour on the academic side. When you are pressed for time and have more than a handful of things that you are juggling with, whether you want it or not, you can only think short term. Only when you are in a relative calm can you really think on a broader canvas and clearly understand your long term goals.
During the New Year period millions of resolutions are taken and broken in a matter of days. Most of the New Year resolutions do not pass a week. This is because they are mostly wishes. A goal should be clear and specific – it should be measurable and quantifiable – it should be achievable – and it should be time bound. Your goal needs to be something that you personally want to achieve and will feel happy about on attainment.
Studies show statistical evidence to the positive correlation between goal setting and achievements in peoples’ lives. It is also found that goals that are written down are more likely to be achieved than those set in the mind. Setting or writing down your aim by itself will not help you reach it. It takes many intentional moves and deliberate actions to achieve the goal. It is very important to have a plan that would take you towards your aim and then act as per that design till you reach your destination.
Bountiful of literature is available on goal setting techniques from famous authors for help on the specifics. To begin with, you should understand the impact of setting and attaining goals in life, use this period of relative calm for introspection, understand what is important to you in the long term and then take time bound action. Remember that well designed goals have the power to catapult you from mediocrity to excellence.