It’s one of those annual resolutions all of us make when the new year rolls around. To hit the gym and lose weight. 

Do we succeed in meeting our goals? Not always. The reason for that is simple: Our goals are often too ambitious. We want to drop 20 kg in six months. Or we want to change our eating habits overnight.

All of us have goals. Career goals. Health goals. And life goals. And meeting them can sometimes be a challenge. 

What do you do under the circumstances? You re-evaluate your goals. For instance, you could revisit your weight loss goal and change the target. Or forget about weight and just make it about becoming healthy.

Never has meeting goals been more of a challenge than now when we are all working from home during the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Increased workload or even a shift in responsibilities sometimes come in the way of our plans. When faced with such changes in our priorities, the adjustment can be challenging.

One way of dealing with this is to evaluate your goals from time to time. This may call for restructuring, re-prioritizing, flushing out, or even creating new goals to eventually tip the scales and bring yourself back on track. 

The trick is also to set small, manageable goals. Say you have to write a 5,000-word report on the auto sector. Your initial goal was to do it in two days. But then you had to take on some additional tasks for your team and couldn’t wrap up the report.

Don’t give up on the report. Re-evaluate your goal instead. Tweak your deadline. Give yourself 10 days to write the report and break that up into smaller chunks of 1,000 words over two days each.

Use a similar approach for larger life goals. Despite how small your goals are, understanding how they fit into your overall purpose can help you stay on track. Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal recommends reflecting and aligning your goals to what you truly value to strengthen your motivation. 

You could ask yourself these questions: What do I want to experience more of in my life and what could I do for that? How do I want to grow in the next year? 

In order to develop meaningful goals, it is important to consider why we are pursuing certain goals rather than just focusing on what they are. Use your emotional intelligence to guide your thoughts and actions, modifying your emotions to adapt to your environment. By understanding the reasons and motives that drive you, you are more likely to set constructive goals. 

Setting strong goals is crucial, but it’s only the first step. To be successful in achieving those goals, it is important to set up a system that helps you review these goals regularly and measure their effectiveness.

This can be achieved by asking evaluative questions to determine whether your goals are worth the time and effort you put and tracking your progress towards them. 

Sometimes, even after you have evaluated our goals, you might find yourself hitting a brick wall. It is then that you might have to readjust, modify and adapt your goals based on the challenges. 

Adjusting does not mean discarding your goals but trying different approaches and techniques to reach the desired outcomes.

So, what can you do to ensure that you do not give up on your goals? And meet them effectively. You can follow the SMART method developed by management expert George T. Doran. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-oriented.

By making goals clear, actionable, and measurable, you can see how much you have accomplished. 

And it’s okay if you don’t succeed the first time. As New York Times best-selling author Harvey McKay said, “Failures don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” So go ahead and take smaller steps, monitor your changes, and evaluate your progress in meeting your goals. Just don’t stop trying.

Nainika Seth is an Associate with the Learning Impact Team at Harappa Education. She is a postgraduate in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Loughborough University, United Kingdom. She enjoys baking and photography. 

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