Goal setting is important task in our lives because it helps us stay focused on what we need to get done. In fact, goal setting is good for our health and wellness. However, goal setting should not be something that adds stress to us or allow it to stress us out. This is being mentioned because if we do not accomplish our goals for instance, it is okay, life is not over, and therefore we should not become stressed about it. Goal setting is something to keep us motivated, inspired, energized, and focused. There are different ways to let goal setting be motivational. You may have reward system where you reward yourself every time you reach and achieve your goal. Also, remember to have long-term and short-term goals.
With this being said, let us look at how to set up goals the SMART way:
S: SPECIFIC M: MEASURABLE A: ATTAINABLE R: RELEVANT T: TIME BOUND
For instance, from a health-fitness perspective:
Specific: I want to run 5k race (5k = 3.1 miles)
Measurable: I will track my running mileage, time, and pace using RunnerKeeper app to compare my runs and my progress.
Attainable: (Is this goal attainable for me?) Yes, because I exercise at least 3x a week.
Relevant: (Is this goal relevant to me?) Yes because I enjoy running and exercising.
Time bound: The race is in March 21st, 2017.
When you set your goals this way, you have a clear picture of what it is, when to get it done, and how to get it done. You give yourself details rather than just saying, “My goal is to run 5k race by March 21st, 2017.” When you find a way to measure your progress, you will know how it needs to get done and what progress you’re making. Also it is important that your goals are relevant and attainable for you, otherwise, you will have hard time achieving them. It is good to challenge yourself, but you do not want to over limit what you are able to do, otherwise you will lead yourself to failure. This strategy can be used for long-term goals and short term goals, and for any goal you may have. It can be to lose weight, to pass an exam in school, to begin your business, to submit your project, and the list can go on.
Long-term goals are important because it gives you a picture of what to look ahead, may it be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, a year from now, or even 3 months from now. Short-term goals are also very important because they can keep you on the right track to achieve your long-term goals.
For example, a long-term goal may be to own a business. An example of short-term goal to help toward the long-term goal may be to gather the tools needed to help in building the business.
Another important point to remember when setting your goals is to prioritize them. See what is most important one and focus on it first, and then you can move on to the next.
Another helpful tip in goal setting is categorizing your goals. Although it’s not ideal to have too many goals at the same time, there are times when you do need to set different goals to help you achieve success. For example: you want to improve your health, so you will have a goal that’s toward your health, and you also want to improve your financial spending, so you will have a separate goal towards that.
Here is a sample of how goals may be categorized:
eat more vegetables and fruits.
do strength training at least 2x a week.
exercise at least 3x a week.
cut down on eating outside.
save at least $5 a week on a side.
Donate money to charity causes at least once a month.
These are just examples of different categories and how under each category a more precise goal may be stated. However, one must remember that to have an effective goal, it is imperative to remember to keep it SMART. These are just general goals and were not following the SMART guideline. It was simply given as an idea of how goals may be categorized. Now, once you have your goals categorized and have better picture on what you want to accomplish, you can take one sub-goal under each category, and work one at a time. You may take one sub-goal under health category and one sub-goal under financial category. You may have similar time-bound (under SMART) so that it becomes easier to do them at once, and they may be measurable, attainable, and relevant to you. The only difference for each one will be the “S”, and that’s where you will have them more precise and narrowed down.
There are different ways to track your goals. With technology these days, there are different phone apps as well as web apps that help you track your progress. There is also excel sheets that may be used to help you create templates to print and track your goals. Also there’s the traditional way of using a journal and manually log in and format it as you desire In the end, you need to find what works best for you and use that tool to help you track your goals.
FROM ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE ON GOAL SETTING:In Islam, we are encouraged to have goals and work for them mainly because we are created for a purpose, and our purpose is to worship Allah SWT and follow the Sunnah (way of) prophet Mohammad S.A.W.Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah makes his heart rich, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allah puts his poverty right before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.”Da’f (Darussalam), English reference: Vol. 4, Book 11., Hadith2465Therefore, as a Muslim, it is important to remember to align our goals with our Islamic practice. This is why it is also important for us to be aware of our Islamic months so that we are aware and prepared for our holidays and especially for Ramadan. The companions (Shabas) of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W would take six months before Ramadan to prepare themselves for it, and would take six months after Ramadan to reflect upon it and ask Allah SWT that their fasting and acts of worship are accepted. I will post another blog on this topic and in much more details, but I wanted to bring Islam practice into goal setting because as Muslims, we need to remember our soul purpose of this life. And that is to build and prepare for our afterlife, the hereafter, as known as Akhira in Arabic.