Monthly Archives: December 2019

Why Goal Setting Is Important?

Goal setting, as we have heard many times, is the very first step in our efforts to achieve our dreams. Our dreams can never turn into reality if we just dream about it without any goals in mind. We can try to imagine ourselves being in the same position in our lives after wasting 30 years, using various ways to achieve our dreams, just to realize that we never really reached any goals to bring us closer to our dreams.It would have been a desperate failure from the start.

To understand where our next few steps or goals towards reaching success, we should recognize these 6 essential reasons for us to set our goals in the right way.

1. Goals as the Force of Motivation

Goals drive us towards our achievements as it acts as the force of our motivation. To connect to our inner force or desire, goal setting is the first step we take towards our achievements. In both short term and long term, it gives us a target to aim at, a destination we wish to travel to or even a particular number we try to arrive at.

This is the point which gets us excited and passionate as we work very diligently towards our goals. While it is common that our efforts to achieve these goals are full of enthusiasm and energy in the beginning, it is important for us to know how much these goals personally mean to ourselves.

In such way, setting goals which we know we would truly be passionate about in the long term will help us accomplish our missions in a more sustainable manner. After all, if we are not consistently motivated, we would suffer from the burn outs of trying to achieve meaningless goals.

2. Goals as Visual Representations of Our Dreams

Imaginations, visualizations, fantasies or even dreams are not just unrealistic concepts based on our utilizable knowledge if we have set our goals towards them. Because of this, goal setting plays a vital role in ensuring our belief in our methods, our analysis of our results and our efforts in chasing after every resource needed.

Instead of setting one goal as the only way to reach our dreams, we can conceptualize our dreams as a set of puzzles and the goals we set are pieces of puzzles we need to design, fix or even match to complete this set of puzzle. We can also regard each goal as a stepping stone towards our desired destination.As a result of achieving each goal, like finding each puzzle, we are closer to assembling the whole picture of our dreams (the complete set of puzzle).

So yes, don’t be afraid to dream!

3. Goals to Track Progress

Since some goals are the foundations for us to build on to reach another goal, arranging them to be accomplished first will be vital for us to track the progress of our work. As mentioned above that goals are like stepping stones to our main goal, goals also serve to help us track our progress in our work. This can be interpreted as accomplishing each goal will bring us closer to achieving our targets.

Whereas achieving our goals means increasing our chances of succeeding, we also have to track our work in progress by assessing how a work can be done and the amount of time needed. These goals can also be inter-related to one another as we cannot progress with specific work if one objective or goal is not reached.One particular situation to exemplify such concept is the work of organising a birthday party for our family.

The first step is always to send out the invitations and then confirming the number of guests attending. Without these first two steps, it would be challenging to arrange for the venue, the amount of food and drinks, the decoration and other aspects which will complete the party. The invitations and the number of guests attending are the two vital factors to the success of the party.

In conclusion, some work cannot simply progress without completing certain goals first.

4. Goals as Promises to the Self

The goals we have set to achieve are also promises we made to ourselves. In recording our goal setting process, it is also important that we ensure these concrete goals and give ourselves a particular timeline to achieve each goal.
Other than that, these ‘promises’ also keep us responsible for every of our actions which lead us to the failure or success of our plans.

With this sense of responsibility instilled in ourselves, this allows us to re-evaluate our actions and scrutinise the consequences whether in a short period or in the long term. One can definitely take pride in his/her success when recalling of the decisions s/he took 2 years or even 20 years ago.

On the other hand, if one fails or accomplishes less than the set goal, then it is a definite sign to change ways to improve and achieve whatever the set goal is.

5. Goals as the Direction of our Focus

Setting goals also means setting our mind, our heart and our soul to the target. In another metaphorical sense, we simply cannot shoot an arrow without a target. Upon setting our goals, we will know how, where and when to use our talent and abilities.Like a magnifying glass concentrates the sunlight towards the leaf, the leaf is then burnt.

The sunlight is our abilities whereas the magnifying glass is likened to our focus on the target and the leaf, obviously, is the target. Without the magnifying glass (our focus), the target would never be reached despite the amount of heat the sunlight supplies (our potentials).

We can only obtain this sense of direction in our journey to our dreams when we specify the goals right at the beginning. Sometimes we cannot avoid the fact that our focus might change and we have to maintain or to a desperate extent, defend our focus to achieve our goals.

One of the many ways of maintaining focus is changing our lifestyles to reduce distractions such as declining invitations to meaningless parties or occasionally saying no to outing with friends. This reduces the resources spent on distractions and in turn, increases productivity for us to work on our objectives.

6. Goals to Develop Our Potentials

Our potential is nurtured through our progress in achieving the goals we set from the beginning. This means setting the goals which are direct opportunities for us to expand our knowledge, sharpen our skills and enrich our experience will benefit us in the future.

Without such goals, we might not be able to develop ourselves out of our comfort zone as we are subjected to the comfortable and safe routines of our daily lives. Because of not setting goals or not having the suitable goals, some of our potentials never grow or are just locked within ourselves.

On the contrary, the goals which we have set will enable us to challenge ourselves to adapt to new environments and new situations. Besides, setting certain expectations on ourselves would only convince us to do our best and expand our limits. Weight loss or gain targets, running time limit, business profits or even following a planned diet are all personal goals for us to challenge ourselves.

Obviously, we reap what we sow and sometimes what we sow might be more than just the reward itself.Once we can appreciate the improvements we gained through accomplishments, we will also achieve the sense of self-fulfillment. With this feeling of satisfying ourselves, we can work on other goals with better motivation and energy. We might not even feel that the obstacles in the later stages are as challenging as before too.

Balance Life and Work

In our quest to accomplish our every goal to the point of reaching our lifetime goal, we would often fail to control our passion and let it become an overwhelming obsession which takes over our lifestyle and even health. At this point, whatever we pursue will not become as important as our life.

In other words, we have to balance our life of achieving goals and the other important aspects in our life such as our health, family, friends and leisure. In spite of everything, all day work and no play make Jack a dull boy or maybe even a sick boy.

Setting goals in these aspects in our life is as equally important as the other goals we have set out to achieve. By spending less time or effort in these aspects, our progress in work might also be affected. It will be an inevitable challenge to balance all of them as we will be too busy for everything but every positive progress in any part of our lives will surely strengthen us to create further improvements in other aspects.

Health
When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth become useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.

Herophilus

A cliché, repeated in multiple versions of quotes, serves to remind us that without our well-being, one simply cannot be productive in work, enjoy our love with our family and friends. Our health is the most vital aspect we cannot neglect whatever age we are at.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle will improve the quality of our lives and those around us. It will not just increase productivity but also prolong our life. However busy we are, we tend to maintain a nourishing and healthy diet (special occasions are exceptions!), exercise sufficiently and get enough sleep. It would be waste of our efforts to achieve our lifetime goals if we are not healthy enough to enjoy the sweetness of our victories longer.

Family and Friends

Humans are social creatures who cannot live without a single relationship with others. As such, every human is socially dependent on one another to survive right from our birth. It all started with our relationship with our mothers who give birth to us, and then expands to our other family members, and then friends and lovers and so on.

But how important is our social life?

Being socially healthy is as equally important as being mentally and physically healthy. Spending quality time with our family and friends is one of the social needs of an average person of whatever age. After a long day of business or work, don’t just go back to the TV, your phone or whatever electronic gadget. Try to connect with people and pay attention to their lives.

Talk to your family more often. Arrange a date with your loved one. Take the children for a trip. Discuss a topic with your fellow enthusiasts. Have a drink with old friends. Make new friends at the park. Do voluntary work or charity at the old folks’. Send Christmas gifts to the orphans. The idea of a healthy social life benefits ourselves as it keeps us from depression and social isolation which could impact our health at a serious level.

Other than our social needs, being involved in positive relationships caters to our emotional needs. When we surround ourselves with people who do not only understand our needs to love and to be loved, we also gain social support to help us recover from our losses in our lives.Relationships and social networks always work on a give-and-take basis.

Hence, such support is a privilege we receive from giving as much attention and effort to maintain positive relationships with the people around us. As a conclusion, we definitely should surround ourselves with people who understand, encourage and support us in our lives while we also work to share them our strength and inspirations.

Spending Time Alone

Overworked and feeling that you have given all your time to everyone else except yourself are symptoms that you should allocate some personal time to relieve the stress and to reflect on the main aspects of your life. One’s social life is never complete without time for only the self. While most successful people are so passionate that their personal time has become their work time, many spend their leisure with different hobbies.

The amount of time spent by each of us varies but the intentions are similar most of the time, to de- stress and to recover from the strains of their passion in order to perform their best when they return to pursue their goals. By spending some time alone, we will not feel demotivated when we continue to pursue our goals. In fact, this type of self time allows us to be happy and invigorated for further challenges.

This is also an opportunity for us to reward ourselves when we have achieved a goal. Travel the world, take up a new hobby, expand our knowledge in a certain field, or even just playing video games are several ways to revitalize ourselves.

Finance

Money is the root of all evil. That only applies when it is in the wrong hands. On an interesting note, many of us finish our primary and secondary education without ever being aware of the crucial aspect of personal finance in our lives. Only in college or university that we start to realise that the financial control over our lives is key to survival in the society.

However, being aware of the good practices to control your finances and actually practising them are the factors that decide whether money is really the root of all evil. After all, it does reflect on our credit scores.

Here are the 10 good habits to maintain healthy personal finance:

1. Tracking Income and Expenses

Undoubtedly, this is the fundamental step of any financial planning and controlling. As the average person, tracking income is not as complicated as tracking expenses especially if the sources of income are not many. Tracking expenses requires some discipline and consistency in our daily habits such as recording the amount of cash we spent, keeping the credit cards bill we paid, keeping receipts of our expenses, loan information, tax records and online purchases.

It gives us a better idea of our personal finance and how it can help us to achieve our goals while reminding us to stay financially healthy by not spending more than our income.

2. Priority Allocations

While it is most basic to suggest that we should plan our budgets, there are definitely certain priorities which we should prioritize our finances for. When we receive our pay cheques at the end of the month, the first step will always be to allocate these funds to the priorities we set in line with our goals.

Such priority funds may be our savings, loans, our children’s education, retirement funds and investments. By setting this as the first step of our budget, we can work out how much we have left to spend or to prepare for other necessities.

3. Emergency Funds

Other than insurances which can cover certain amount of our losses in accidents, we are advised to keep up to 10% of our monthly income for emergency uses. For instance, having an accident which can keep us away from work means we can utilize these funds which we have already saved up before for our daily expenses. As surprise scenarios can be quite unpredictable, it is best we prepare the umbrella before the rain.

4. Staying Away from High-Interest Credit or Totally Away from Debts

At some point in our lives, it would be almost impossible to stay free of loans. Because of this, we have to consider the loans with the lowest interest rates we can apply for to reduce our repayment. After all, any interest rate imposed upon the principal is the main income of the debtor. Paying way more than what we have borrowed will only increase unnecessary expenses.

Besides, some creditors allow advanced repayments for us to finish the repayment before the planned payment period. In this case, we might even save up on the interest of the remaining payment period. Staying debt-free means gaining more income and also a better credit score which serves to be an indicator of our healthy financial status to creditors. Healthy credit scores allow us to obtain loan more easily in the future as well.

5. Creating a Shopping List & Impulsive Shopping

Buying on impulse means unnecessary spending which will reduce the flexibilities of controlling your expenses as it also means reducing the spending on necessary items. We should not purchase any luxury items when we do not have extra cash and even if we want to, it would usually be the money left in our monthly budget after all our financial priorities are settled.

To control impulsive shopping, it is best we write down a list of items we need to buy so those which are not in the list are considered as unnecessary. Similar to long term and short term goals, we can always save up for luxury items which we can only afford later.

6. Purchasing Value

We would always tend to ensure our purchases give us the value for our money and no after-sales problems at all. In particular circumstances, sometimes it is better to pay a bit more for products that will effectively last longer than buying the cheap ones which we have to constantly replace or repair.

In contrast, not all products are better simply because they are more expensive. The prices of such products are down to a multitude of factors such as competition, consumer perception, quality of materials, cost of methods and etc. We should seek reviews from experts and other consumers before comparing these products to one another and deciding which gives us the best value according to our needs.

7. Investment

Only allocating monthly income for certain investments does not guarantee profit and therefore, every wise investor has plans for timely exits from their investments to avoid losses. In other words, we must possess sufficient knowledge and the right information to invest in any of the various financial instruments. Otherwise, we would suffer losses without being able to understand the reasons.

On the other hand, we must monitor our investment funds to avoid losses as well as to seize fine opportunities to gain more profit from our investments. An even more secure way of preventing losses in our investments would be to have an exit strategy especially when we can foresee the circumstances.

8. Retirement Funds

Even if governments enforce laws for the employees and the working citizens to allocate retirement funds, sometimes, it would not be enough to live comfortably particularly if you wish to retire at an earlier age. Besides, what good does it do for us if we have prepared the funds for our children to graduate from university or college if we end up in poor financial status when we retire?

Having a retirement plan is a long term goal which determines how we would like to live our lives when we retire. On the contrary, struggling to have such financial ability at retirement age means we have to delay retirement work for a few more years.

9. Consistent Raise
Once our income is raised, we should not forget our savings and investments for our future should also be proportionately raised. For instance, the rate of our savings per month is 20% of our monthly
income of $5000. That translated to $1000. In the next year onwards, our income is raised to $6000 and so the savings, based on 20% of $6000, should be $1200.

In the case where our expenses are not increased in comparison with our income, extra income means more flexibility of utilising our money. Another way of raising our savings is to increase it from 20% of our income to 25% of our income even when we do not get a pay rise.

10. Analyzing Financial Condition and Improvising the Budget

With all the necessary steps taken to manage our financial status, we often overlooked the review of our financial performance on a particular time basis. The reviews of our financial status usually are
carried out at the end of the year or the month. Such timing is usually to see if our plans were executed well enough to help us achieve our financial goals.