All about Goal setting

Few years back, we had training on motivation in my previous organization. The trainer was in his late sixty but he was full of energy. It was a refreshing training with some theory and some games. The most inspiring thing happened at the end of the training when the trainer gave me his visiting card. There were three blank lines at the back of his card. He told me to write my three most important goals at the back of the card with the dates I wanted to achieve them.

I always had goals in my mind but never wrote it down and that too with the dates. I did it just for fun. I wrote about House, New job with good salary and bike with the dates i wanted them. I kept the card in my purse and looked at it frequently.  After few years I read that card and was surprised to see that I achieved all the goals. The completion date was not exactly the same but it was close one.

After above incident, I read some books on goal setting and did some research on the internet.  I found that all the successful people always knew what they wanted. It is found that people who successfully implement goals and work strategically to ensure that they meet their goals often experience more success in their performances throughout life. Goal setting helps us in staying focus on what we want in our life. According to me goal setting create your pathway to success. Below are some guidelines.

1 – The most important thing is that the goal should be something you really want and not something that sounds good.

 It is the burning desire which keeps you motivated in all ups and down of life. After finishing my graduation the next challenge was MBA degree.  I chose correspondence course which was difficult with the hectic job but I wanted to finish it in two years. I set my goals of MBA with the desired date. I used to read the goal at the time of exams which used to remind me that I don’t have any other option than to clear this. As expected I cleared my MBA in two years.

2. Write your goal in detail.

It is very important that you specify each and every details of your goal. For exa: if your goal is to buy certain house, write down its specifics in colorful detail- the location, landscaping, furniture and floor plan. If possible get the picture of house.

3. Write your goal in the following areas.

Financial and Career – Exa: – By January 2012, I will be earning $10,000a month.

Family and free time-   Exa: – In June 2012, I will go to Italy with my wife on a vacation.

Health and appearance- Exa: – I will be at my ideal weight of 60kg by June 2011.

Relationship goals – Exa: – I will re-establish communication with old friends by August 2011.

Personal Growth – I will read books on self help every month from may 2011

Ethical and making difference in society – I will donate 5% of my income for charitable work from June 2011. 

Setting goals in each area of life will ensure a more balanced life as you begin to examine and change the fundamentals of everyday living.

4. Write your goal in the positive instead of the negative.

Work for what you want, not for what you do not want. This instruction might sound stupid but our mind has habit of thinking negative. Exa:- I do not want to be poor instead of I want to be rich.

5. Decide goal for long term and short term.

First write down goals for long term say five years from now and then write short term goals to achieve your five years goal. For exa: If your five year goal is to become Vice president of the company and currently you are at an analyst level then your short term goals should be to become manager in one year and then AVP in three years.

6. Make sure your goal is high enough to give you challenge.

I always believed that if you will work for car then you will at least get a bike. Always aim high so that when you achieve them you become the happiest person on the earth. Those feelings will keep you going.

Your goals are written down.  So now what?

Please share your goals with your close ones. Do not think they will laugh at you. They might help you on your goals and become your companion on your way to success. Read your goals everyday and visualize the end result every night before going to sleep.  Our mind thinks of the last thought we have before going to sleep. Mind will give you all the solutions needed.

Last but not the least; keep your most important goals in your pocket. Read it daily whenever you have spare time and visualize the end result. This will stop your mind from wandering everywhere and you will be focus on your main goals.

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Morning Walk

I picked up my IPod and tied my new sport shoes and got ready for my morning jog. I normally do yoga every morning but recently I decided to add jogging in my schedule.  I am very lucky that I have a big ground near to my house. When I saw many people in the ground, I was surprised. It was 6:00 am in the morning and hundreds of people were doing different activities in the ground. I was full of motivation after seeing that.

Morning is always beautiful especially in summer because it’s very bright. It comes with a new hope every day. If you walk in the early morning then you get lots of energy and your whole day goes lively and you feel full of life. Everything is so pure in the morning. Even pollution is less. Science has proved that it helps you in increasing your productivity. You feel refresh and become ready to face challenges of life. You yourself know that when you sleep till late, you feel sleepy and lazy whole day.

Today I decided to observe people and their activities in the ground. Most of them were school kids as they have vacation. I never understood that if you ask a kid to get up early in the morning to study, he will never do but if friends call him to play cricket then he will get up at 6:00am on his own. Even I used to do thatJ.  Frankly speaking we need to learn from them how to live life or at least try to remember what we were doing when we were kids. They are full of energy and vibrant.

Other class of people I noticed was between the ages of 50 to 60 years. Some were walking and some were playing volley ball. I have noticed that they play for one hour daily and they play on Sunday also. They play with commitment and dedication. Some people were doing yoga and meditation also.  I know one lady who is of age 88 years comes ti ground every morning for walk. She is the biggest inspiration for my morning walk.

I have seen that morning walk also helps in developing relationships. Working married couple doesn’t get time for each other in their busy day but during morning or even night walk they share their views with each other. The good thing is that there is no mobile or TV or anybody else to diver their attention. If you are not able to spend quality time with your spouse then start morning or night walk from today. Another relationship I saw was between owner and their pet. A Dog may run through entire ground but it will come back to its owner only. I have seen that small kids also love to play with them.  Owners come to ground for their pet but it helps them also. Also some grandparents were playing cricket with their grandsons.  All this small things matters most in life.

One class I was missing was between the ages of 20 to 50 years. I think they are very busy people but I request you to them and to all of you who are not doing any exercise please at least do 30 mins walk in the morning.  It will improve your immunity power and it will also give you lots of energy for the entire day.

Some of the benefits of morning walk.

  • Strengthens your heart
  • Reduces blood pressure and the risk of stroke
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Strengthens joints and bones
  • Helps control weight
  • Improves mood and makes you relax
  • Its an exercise for your brain also.
  • Gives you energy and a good night’s rest
  • Helps in reducing stress and worry
  • Improve immune system

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Bad Spending Habits

I often come across friends who tell me that they have negative balance in their savings account by the 25th of each month. They often burrow money from others and repay it next month when the salary gets credited.

That’s when I came across making a financial plan of one such friend. I was surprised to know that my friend actually overspent of what he used to earn each month. My dear friend, had a few of the pampered habits listed below with examples.

Technology or the peer effect: All of us have a like a particular asset. Some like cars and bikes, others like new generation touch screen mobiles, laptops, I-pods and the list goes on. If we look at someone with a new phone that is better than ours we too have a desire to own it one day. But little do we realise that technology is not here to stay. It is a fact that pagers in United States ruled for ten long years but in India pager companies go wiped out in less then a year. Then came normal mobile phones, then came mobile phones with games, music, touch screen and what not. Here, I mean to say that technology is moving really fast to keep pace with. Most of us don’t like to use the same phone for years. Innovation makes us look at new things and all of these demands a price. So keep a track of your spending towards technology and you need not have a new mobile because your friend has one.

Show-off: A pop corn in a mall or a multiplex that costs forty to sixty rupees would hardly cost rupees ten if you prepare the same at home. But you are prepared to pay that premium just because you have gone on a date or with a group of friends. You tend to think, about your friend who would ill-comment about you, if you don’t purchase some snacks during intervals. Don’t you? Hence just to show-off you tend to over-spend.

Mall effect: Now-a-days we at least have one super mall next to our area of residence. We go there to purchase a few things as they turn out to be cheaper than the baniya store or because you get more variety. We end up over purchasing quite a few eatables that are not on our shopping list, but they were purchased as they had a good offer or were being sold for a good discounted price. Realise, that you would not have purchased the same products if you would have visited your baniya near your house as the same offer would not be available.

Hasty decisions: You see an advertisement while window shopping that you would get a home theatre system free on purchase of an LCD. This ad would obviously make you step inside the store and you give a chance to the salesman to convince you to buy the LCD on cash or credit. He would even give you a refund of your old television with remote and offer you no interest if you make full payment within six months. Its unjust to let go of such a good offer. Think, if you would have missed that shop you wouldn’t have actually bought that LCD. It would have been a different matter if you actually required one television for your home. Please read, understand and analyse a product before you buy. Remember haste makes waste.

The sale effect: Its been a 365 day sale at almost all the shops in Mumbai. Buy 3, get 2 free, 60% flat discount, or offer valid till stocks last are the most common adverts outside the shops. But every time I pass by that shop the stock doesn’t seem to get over. Sale does not always mean that you have got the best deal. It is better to analyse the actual price of the product according to its quality and other factors and then decide for yourself, is it logical to pay an X amount for 1 + 1 free offer. To learn more about the product, scan the internet, check out other such schemes, check out competitors price and then make a wise purchase decision within a few days.

Overburden with EMI: Equated monthly installment is a commitment by you towards a bank or a financial institution promising them to pay an X amount each month under any circumstance. EMI can be for a home, car, personal loan etc. Please remember to have an EMI of not more than 50% of your income. Your personal expenses are minimal when you are single but the expenses and responsibilities increase with an increase in every additional member in the family, maybe a wife or a child. It is always logical to keep your EMI’s in control so that even in case of redundancy you can afford to pay the EMI for a few months from your emergency expenses or savings till the time you are re-employed. Also protect your family with an appropriate insurance equal to the total amount of all your outstanding liabilities.

Over leveraging: Many of us tend to follow a herd tendency towards investing. If Mr. X has earned a quick buck by investing more than what he could we even try to win our luck in lotteries, stock markets, chit funds, real estates etc. Remember, Mr. X was luckily in the right place, at the right time and in the right investment to earn more out of his leveraged investment but the situation would have changed when you try to invest the same way Mr. X did. So be cautious. Think ten times before making an investment option.

At the end of the day its your hard earned money. Spend it as you like but with caution.

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The Power of Systematic Investment Plan

A goal can be any target that needs to be achieved in a stipulated period. There are different types of financial goals like, buying a flat, children’s education, marriage or retirement living expenses. All of these are critical long term goals in your life. These goals need to be achieved in a disciplined and systematic manner. 

When I say systematic, I mean investing a fixed sum of money each week, month or year to achieve the targeted financial goal. In this article let me make you understand the different advantages of SIP investing. SIP as everyone knows is Systematic Investment Plan. Generally SIP relates to investing a fixed sum of money each month in mutual fund scheme. The rupee cost averaging and the power of compounding are two main advantages of SIP investments.

Rupee Cost averaging: If you wanted to buy units of a mutual fund you end up purchasing more units when the net asset values of the units are down, and vice versa. Here, it is the average purchase price that matters and not the purchase price of one unit as you will keep on purchasing each month on a particular date. The returns are based on this average cost. This way you average the cost of your purchase and sell the units in future to achieve your financial goal. This helps in negating the volatility in the markets.

Power of compounding: It refers to returns earned on the principal as well as the interest amount unlike simple interest where you earn returns only on the principal amount. It also rewards investing at regular intervals and works best over long tenures. The larger the tenure of investment, more are the returns. Also, the earlier you start to invest, the more you benefit. For instance, if you begin investing at age 30 and invest Rs.10,000 a year for the next 10 years at 9 per cent per annum, and roll over the proceeds until you’re 60, you’ll end up accumulating Rs 9.28 lakh (your total investment only Rs 1 lakh). On the other hand, if you begin saving at age 40 and invest Rs 10,000 a year for 20 years at 9 per cent a year, you will end up accumulating Rs. 5.58 lakh (your total investment of Rs 2 lakh). This means that by keeping your money invested longer, you can get the benefit of compounding and can become richer by Rs 3.70 lakh (if you start investing from age 30), although your principal investment was just half of what you would invest by starting at age 40. Take a lesson from the above example and start saving as soon as possible.

Remember, you will have to fulfill many goals in future for which you will have to start investing systematically from now.

 

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The Joy of Giving

“It’s not how much money you make but what you become from it is important”.

Have you ever wondered why people like Warren Buffet and Bill gates have decided to give away a big part of their wealth to charity or why so many NGOs are doing their work smoothly and why still new NGOs are opening everywhere? The only reason behind this is people feel happy when they give or when they donate. 

Almost everybody must have felt this joy of giving in their life. Sometimes it makes you feel like top of the world when the people to whom you have donate gives blessings to you. After all what we are going to take with us when we will leave this world is not wealth, it is those blessings which we earned by doing good work.

“ There is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for anybody’s greed”  – Mahatma Gandhi.

Many times I discussed the topic of giving or charity and most of the time I get answers such as we don’t have time or we don’t have money. The real truth is that they don’t have heart to understand the importance of it. We feel that if we do charity then we might be short of money. Actually this kind of thinking comes from very narrow mind. If we cannot give that mean we are already short of it. Giving away makes you feel that you have more. Many people argue that why should we help someone, they should manage on their own. I feel that we should look at this as an opportunity given by god to do some spiritual work. Entire life we struggle to make this life good but charity help us in making our current as well as next life good. You might say that who knows about next life. You are right, therefore do some good work and relax that those good works will help you in your next life. I guarantee you that giving away small part of your income will give you more happiness then buying some unwanted stuffs. Those blessing will give you more peace because it comes from true heart. Their prayer directly reaches to god.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa

Donating money does not always means that you have to give big amount. We should be donating according to our capacity. There is no minimum or maximum limits to it, but make sure that you are happy for whatever you are giving. It should not feel like a sacrifice. Many NGOs help thousands of children but when they contact you they ask to sponsor only one or two children. You can decide that you want to donate some part of your monthly income. Just the way you do your financial planning to achieve your personal goals, you can do charity planning for your spiritual goals.

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.” Mother Teresa

When I am talking about giving I am not only looking at money. Many people misunderstand that giving is always related to the money, but that’s not complete true. Mother Teresa is the best example of that. She didn’t give lots of money but she gave lots of love which is more valuable than money. When I visit old age home they don’t bless me for how much I have donated but they just bless me for going there and sharing some love with them. They are in their last stage of life and all they want is some care and love. Same as orphanage home, children like things you give them but they also want love from you. I believe that we have true knowledge only when we are kids or when we are old. In the childhood we don’t care much of money but when we grow up we start giving more importance to it and again when we become old, we realize the truth that money can’t buy love. If you can’t give money then just give your love. The more love you give, the more love you get.

We don’t need to get link with many NGOs but one or two should be enough. Give your money and love to those needy people and god will bless you.

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