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Setting goals to bounce back

According to Edward Locke, one of the pioneers of goal-setting theory, “Every person’s life depends on the process of choosing goals to pursue; if you remain passive, you are not going to thrive as a human being.”

The premise of the theory is that human behaviour is purposeful; it is directed towards achieving a goal.

Having a sense of purpose and goals in life has been attributed to living longer, lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, lower risk of Alzheimer’s, and better pain management. However, this new volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world we find ourselves in has made it difficult to anticipate the possible future. What has been certain is that we have had to restructure ours, our team’s, and our organization’s strategy to achieve goals.

Then how can we reach the finish line then? Can our goals have anything to do with it?

One of the behavioural strategies, as part of the Resilience Questionnaire™- Purposeful Direction, is beneficial. It can help us become resilient and overcome setbacks and challenges and acts as a psychological buffer against the obstacle.

Purposeful Direction involves keeping the end goal as the focus, as the final destination. It talks about goals that we are committed to achieving. This focus is essential for leaders as they play a critical role in showing a clear purpose and direction and aligning the team and organization with it. Having a clear focus on goals and the direction to achieve it during resilient times helps us:

  • Demonstrate our determination, our will power to achieve the goal
  • Set frequent and realistic individual/team/organization-specific long-term and short-term goals
  • Meet and exceed targets consistently
  • Envision the end-goal, in spite of deterrents
  • Have a strong sense of we want the future to hold for us, from our job and careers

Everyone sets goals-but only a section of us are able to reach our goals even in the most challenging circumstances. How do we ensure that we do not get deflected and be easily thrown off-course?

  • Set clear goals. They need not be extremely ambitious or target-driven. Achieving goals which are clear, specific, challenging, and achievable will motivate one to strive towards it, and in turn, increase self-confidence and satisfaction
  • Chalk it out. Plan it and put efforts to reach closer to them every day
  • Stay committed to achieving them. Remind yourself the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of the goal
  • Re-evaluate goals consistently

While having clear and specific goals is essential, having goals without a purpose can make us inflexible. Inflexibility may lead to set unrealistic expectations from oneself, such as achieving a goal at any cost. Hence, it is important to associate goals with a directed purpose as it will help us to bring multiple perspectives in achieving the goal, make us more adaptable, and help us realise the larger picture.

“Find yourself a purpose. Find a road to achieve this purpose. And finally, never take your eyes off that road!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

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