Try These Five Steps Before Setting Your Goals Today

Man Tamalika Basu

To perform any action such as losing weight, quitting smoking or even memorizing Qur’an, experiences tell us that without developing a ‘well-formed goal’ you can’t perform it perfectly. Well-formed goals are half way of achieving anything. Also, with a well formed goal the remaining half becomes easy and even more enjoyable.

So how can you make a well formed goal? Try it out for yourself.

A checklist is given below which describes a well-formed goal. Think about any important work or goal which you want to achieve and according to the checklist below invest some time in phrasing it.

A well-formed goal is positive and phrased in the present

A well-formed goal does not include any negative word such as ‘don’t’, ‘without’ or ‘stop’. But it is one which is worded positively. As an example, “I’m not lazy anymore” isn’t a goal phrased in the positive; but “I am efficient” is a goal phrased in the positive.

A well-formed goal is also one that is phrased in the present but not in the future. Try to say “I am finishing my work”, instead of saying “I will finish my work”.

A well-formed goal is initiated and maintained by you

A well-formed goal is one which can be initiated and maintained by you. In simple words, it is one that is independent from other people acting in a particular way. This is because, while we influence other people, we can’t really put pressure on them to do anything.

So, Instead of setting a goal for how you want your family members to treat you, develop a goal on how you want to treat your family members to encourage them to treat you in any possible way.

A well-formed goal is defined in sensory language

What will it look/sound like when you achieve your goal? What will be the feelings of others when you achieve your goal? Include that in your goal.

For example, you can be a non-smoker; your lungs feel fresh and have an extra $200 to spend on yourself.

A well-formed goal takes into consideration the positive of the current situation by products

What advantages do you have in your current situation?

As an example, for not memorizing Qur’an:

-I have enough time to read other topics;

-I am relaxed because I don’t feel like getting ready for an exam;

-I have much time to spend with my family members.

Now let’s take all of these situation positive by products and include them in the goal:

I am memorizing Qur’an and have some time to read other books and spend some time with my family, and I feel relaxed.

A well-formed goal is conscious of ‘ecology’

Here ‘ecology’ is meant to indicate the context in which we exist and with which we interact. In other words, ‘ecology’ is the social system in which we live, which influences us and which is also influenced by us.

This is very important to remember and also have some similarities to point 3 and 4.

When you achieve your goal, what kind of things might you lose out? Who might you make jealous? Who might you annoy? 

Go back to your goal and add a description of the ‘ecology’ to it:

I can efficiently spend time with my family and relax appropriately. My friends support me and also encourage me.

Note that, “my friends support me and also encourage me” isn’t actually part of your goal, but it is a supporting phrase to relieve your anxieties. As such, this part doesn’t have to be maintained by you.

Let’s go through a final example to illustrate the five steps clearly.  Let’s start with “I don’t want to disrespect my guardians”.

How the goal can be reworded based on the five steps is given below:

I don’t want to disrespect my guardians

-I respect my guardians (1st and 2nd step)

-I respect my guardians, and I feel happy when interacting with them (3rd step)

-I respect my guardians, and I feel happy when interacting with them I have space for them and feel in control of my life (4th Step)

-I respect my guardians, and I feel happy when interacting with them. I have space for them and feel in control of my life. As well my friends encourage me to respect my guardians. (5th Step)

When you are done with the above five criteria, your short and sweet goal may end up being a few paragraphs. That is perfectly fine. Most importantly, once you have written your goals, enjoy the journey of achieving them.