An achiever has clear-cut goals and shows persistence. That makes a positive difference.

“What is your long-term goal?” This is a common question in interviews, be it for jobs or admission. Most students find it difficult to answer this question. But what are these goals and what is the role they play in life?

And should we have goals? Or rather, what is the problem if we do not have them? Taking the discussion to a philosophical plane will throw up existential questions. Let us not move into that realm.

It is a fact that we all have desires and we all strive to fulfil them. We feel frustrated when our existence seems mediocre and feel envious at people who are doing well. What we do not understand is that many a time, the difference between a performer and a non-performer is the presence and absence of a clear-cut goal and persistence in striving for its attainment.

What does a goal do? A goal helps you focus your time and resources and evade distractions and disturbances. A goal elevates you from being in a state of a drifting log that goes wherever the current takes it to that of an arrow that has a target to hit.

This time of the year is particularly suitable for introspection and setting long-term goals, especially for students doing professional courses, as this is a period of relative calm with not many exams and not much rigour on the academic side. When you are pressed for time and have more than a handful of things to juggle with, whether you want it or not, you can only think short term. Only when you are in relative calm can you really think on a broader canvas and clearly understand your long-term goals.

During the New Year period, millions of resolutions are made and broken in a matter of days. Most of the resolutions do not pass a week. This is because they are mostly wishes. A goal should be clear and specific — measurable and quantifiable, achievable, and time-bound. Your goal needs to be something that you personally want to achieve and will feel happy about on attainment.

Studies show statistical evidence to the positive correlation between goal setting and achievements in peoples' lives. It is also found that goals that are written down are more likely to be achieved than those kept in the mind. Setting or writing down your aim by itself will not help you reach it. It takes many intentional moves and deliberate actions to achieve the goal. It is important to have a plan that will take you towards your aim and then act as designed till you reach your destination.

Plenty of literature is available on goal-setting techniques from famous authors for help on the specifics. To begin with, you should understand the impact of setting and attaining goals in life, use this period of relative calm for introspection, understand what is important to you in the long term, and then take time-bound action. Remember that well-designed goals have the power to catapult you from mediocrity to excellence.

Kishan Kumar V. L., Partner, Konfidence