How to achieve success through proper goal setting

Goals can be called indispensable for achieving success in almost any field. A life without goals is a directionless ship. But how often do we miss the significance of thoughtful goal-setting! Read this article to know about how goals can be turned into a valuable asset to achieve success.

For achieving success in any field, two main components are necessary: one is a goal and second is a good plan to achieve that goal. A goal is critical as it acts as a target for us. A goal can act as a magnet, pulling our energies towards it. When we have a goal in front of us, we are less likely to waste our time and energy in useless pursuits and instead focus on what's truly important for us. A goal can be called the first step towards success.

Setting the right kind of goals

Often it is seen that we make critical mistakes at the crucial first stage itself. What I mean when I say this is that often our goals are vague and non-actionable. For example, I have a goal before me and that is 'to get stronger'. Will I be able to achieve my goal? Most probably, I would be unsuccessful. The reason for my failure is the vague nature of the goal. What do I mean by 'getting stronger'? Is it physical strength or mental strength or some other form of strength? If it is physical strength, then do I want stronger arms or stronger shoulders or stronger abs? Further, within what kind of time period do I have to achieve my goals? Since none of these is specified in my goal, therefore, there is a high chance of failure involved here.

Setting SMART goals

In goal setting, we often come across a term called 'SMART' goals. 'SMART' is actually an acronym for 'Specific', 'Measurable', 'Attainable', 'Relevant' and 'Time-bound'. Thus a specific and measurable goal like 'scoring over 70% in the next semester examinations' is a better goal than simply saying that 'I want to become better in studies'. Without a specific and measurable goal, we would not even be able to find out if we were successful or not.

An attainable goal is also important. We should not set goals which are too difficult for us. Setting the bar too high would be a guarantee of failure. Failure would destroy our motivation and inhibit success. On the other hand, the goal should not be too easy either. If we set the bar too low, then we won't get any sense of accomplishment while crossing the bar. Goals should be such that they give us a sense of accomplishing something worthwhile while at the same time not draining our energies. For this, we should obviously have an awareness of our strengths and weaknesses.

Moreover, goals should be relevant. This means two things: firstly, the goal should be of some benefit to us and secondly, the goal should have some relation to the external environment (for example, a firm cannot set a goal of doubling its sales in a period of recession). Also, there should be a time-limit within which we have to achieve our goals. Having a deadline ensures discipline which is valuable if we want to achieve our goals.

Having a plan: Time-table and To-do list

At the beginning itself, one point was made. To achieve success, a goal and a plan to achieve the goal is necessary. So far, we have discussed only the goal. Let us now discuss the plan to achieve the goal.
A good plan should be a roadmap for success. While framing the plan we should take cognizance of all the relevant factors, both external (environmental) and internal (personal), which can influence us in our journey towards achieving a goal. Time is obviously the most important factor here. A good plan should invariably include either a time table or a to-do list. I personally prefer a to-do list in comparison to a time table. This is because a time table can be disrupted by unpredictable factors like the arrival of a guest or a power outage. This problem does not happen in case of a to-do list.

Setting mini goals

Be that as it may, both a time table as well as a to-do list can help in setting mini-goals every week or even every day. Mini-goals can be quite helpful in cases where the original goal seems extremely intimidating. For example, my goal may be to crack the UPSC CSE examinations this year. Considering the goal in that manner would make it absolutely frightening. What I can do in this case, is to take the various components of the exam and take on them one by one. For example, I might set a goal of clearing the Indian History portion first. Then I would set a goal of clearing the Geography portion, then the Current Affairs portion and so on. Thus by breaking the seemingly intimidating goal into less intimidating ones, I have made my job easier.


It is also important to realize that no plan is full-proof against failure. Any plan, however, well made may have to face failure. No matter how much a batsman practices in the nets, there is always a chance that an unplayable delivery might get him out on the first ball itself. Although failure is certainly a possibility, it is important to learn the lessons of failure. It was well said by Adam Osborne that-
"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake. You can't learn anything from being perfect."

To achieve success in our present, we have to think about our past failures. We have to analyze each and every one of those failures. We have to think about the reason why we failed. For instance, I might want to write an article for a reputed monthly magazine. But whenever I submit my article, on each occasion they are rejected. In such a case, I have to put aside my ego. I have to look at my past articles and think about where I went wrong. If I do not do that then there is absolutely no chance that any of the articles I submit in the future will be accepted.

It is almost certain that whenever we try something new, the odds of failure are high. In such a case, having a person as an advisor who has done the job previously would be extremely helpful. For example, a person who has cracked the CSE previously can be a helpful advisor in case you are looking to attempt the exam yourself. Finally, even if it means a bit of repetition, I would like to reiterate the fact that success in achieving a goal is never guaranteed. But that does not mean that failure should become a permanent state.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao22 Mar 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

Goal setting alone will never give success. The goals should be clear and we should have an understanding of our goal. That means we should have a quantified goal. I want to clear the exam. Here the goal is to pass the exam. If I say I want to achieve 90%. that means you are quantifying your goal. This clarity is very important. There should not be any loose ends. You should keep in your mind the strengths you have, the weaknesses you have and the resources available while deciding on the goals. There is no point in setting goals which are not attainable and later on try to find some excuse for not achieving the same. Once you decide on your goal a road map for achieving the same should be made and you should concentrate a see that you will be successful in achieving the same.

In an organisation, the employees will be given some Key Result Areas (KRAs). The year-end evaluation will be carried out for the individual based on the percentage achievement in his KRAs. Be practical in deciding the goals, be positive, explore the areas and overcome the hardships. Then you can attain your goals.

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