How to set goals

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While some tasks are completed within a matter of a few seconds, others take a life time to achieve. But if you want to move through life, you need to set goals – else you will become a driftwood.

  1. Determine your goals: When planning life goals you need to ask yourself a question: where do you want to see yourself after 10 years, or maybe 15? A career life goal might be to become a programmer. A fitness goal might be to become fit.

Examples of specific goals:

  • I want to cut down junk food.
  • I want to learn Spanish.
  • I want to participate in 10K marathon.
  1. Break your goals into smaller constituents: Once you have decided your goals it is time to break it down into smaller goals, this way you will be able to track your progress also. For example, if you want to be fit you need to start eating healthy.
  1. Write short term goals: One you have decided what your main goal is and also divided it into smaller goals, it is time to write it down. This will not only make it harder for you to ignore but make you accountable.
  1. Move towards your larger goals: Use these small goals that you have made for yourself as a stepping stone to achieve your bigger goal.
  1. Adjust goals periodically: There is nothing constant in life, including life itself. Hence one should always be prepared to tweak his/her goals.

Always remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

The importance of setting goals in life

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The last post, Meaningless Goals, was about wasting time and energy chasing absurd and pointless targets. So it was only logical, or at-least this is what I thought, to talk about the importance of setting goals in life in this post.

So what exactly are goals?

Goals are the oxygen of our dreams, they give direction and meaning to life. Compelling us to lead a disciplined life and transforming our personality and outlook in a positive way.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Tony Robbins

Here are my 5 reasons why setting goals is important in life:

  1. Achieving potential : Setting a goal means setting a target to strive towards. To accomplish this one needs to stretch beyond the normal. This helps the person look beyond the familiar routine and grow in life. Always remember, familiarity is the nemesis of growth.
  2. Creating focus : We all have potential to do something good in life. It is up to us to realize our potential and focus our abilities and talent in the right direction. Just like how sunlight can’t burn through anything without a magnifying glass focusing it, a person cannot achieve anything without focus.
  3. Taking control of your life : At some point of time we need to grow up and take control of our life. Meaning, not only should we hold ourselves responsible for our success but also for our failures. So instead of waiting for things to happen we need take charge and make things happen.
  4. Creating accountability : Having goals makes a person accountable, because rather than just talking a person is compelled to act. This self accountability makes the individual responsible for his/her successes or failures.
  5. Motivation : Setting goals helps a person connect with his/her innermost desires. Motivating and giving the person something to strive for. This motivation helps overcome the negative desires that cloud the mind, reconnects with the innermost desires and redirects the focus on accomplishing the goals.

Goals are simply tools that help funnel energy in the right direction. They help a person reach his/her potential and do something good, for oneself and for the community at large.

Reasons why you should travel

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Many people think that we need to wait for our later years of life to explore the world, and that the only places worth visiting are those that have a religious or historical significance. Well, everyone has the right to decide what’s right for them. But there is much more to traveling than just visiting places of religious and historic significance. Here’s my list of 5 reasons why you should travel:

  1. Disconnecting with your regular life: You get the opportunity to forget your problems for at-least a week or so. Sometimes this distancing away from the problem helps you understand it in a different perspective, thus helping you to solve it.
  2. The art of being patient: Traveling involves a lot of waiting, like waiting for your flight, waiting for your meal to be served at the restaurant, waiting to see God (or just the idol). All this teaches you the art of waiting, making you less twitchy and more relaxed.
  3. Making friends isn’t that difficult: Once we reach a certain age we find it difficult to make friends, why? The reason is that we are too busy meeting deadlines. But when traveling, we aren’t chasing any deadlines, and hence we are relaxed. This makes it the perfect opportunity to make friends.
  4. Flexibility: Probably not in the physical sense, unless you are visiting a yoga retreat. While most of the traveling schedule is planned, either by you or your travel agent, but there is always a surprise or two waiting for you. Like the unplanned rains, which makes you wait at a restaurant and sample Parsi cuisine.
  5. Improves social skills: Making small talk with your fellow passengers or having a lively discussion at the local bar, traveling will surely improve you social skills.

Life is a wonderful gift, and there is nothing more wonderful than traveling the world we live, understanding different cultures and most importantly creating beautiful memories that we can share and cherish.

Welcome positivity into your life (Part 3)

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Creating a positive life

The first part of the series was, ‘Identifying negative people in your life‘. In the second part of the series we saw how to ‘Re-organizing your life – away from negative people‘. This is the third and the final part of the series, in this we will look at ways in which you can create your own sense of positivity.

Here are some ways.

1 Use positive affirmations: Maintaining a positive lifestyle isn’t the easiest of task, especially during the transition period. Hence there will be times when you struggle to maintain a positive attitude day to day. To overcome this start your day by saying a positive affirmation out-loud to yourself 5 to 10 times.

  • “I will” not lose my temper.
  • “I am” good at my job.
  • “I can” live without smoking.

2 Keep a check on yourself: It takes time to get rid of negative habits. Initially you will find yourself slipping back into your negative lifestyle or getting diverted from the goals that you have set for yourself. As such you need to keep a check on yourself. Some common mistakes that may happen are:

  • Accepting an invitation from a negative co-worker
  • Again start consuming junk food.
  • Endlessly watching television.
  • Your exercise plan falls apart.
  • Sleeping for more than 8 hours.

3 Focus on an activity you enjoy: Set aside a specific amount of time (per week) for a hobby or activity that you enjoy. This should be something doable and something that you enjoy like:

  • Knitting
  • Yoga
  • Tennis
  • Running

Channelizing your energy in the right direction will keep your negative emotions at bay.

4 Take care of yourself: There is a huge difference between leading a self-centered life and self-care. A self-centered person is someone who cannot think beyond himself/herself, while self-care simply means setting aside some “me time” for yourself every week. Use this time to connect with your real self, or maybe pamper yourself with a massage.

Now that you have started leading a positive lifestyle, the important thing is to follow a schedule. It may take some time to get used to your new lifestyle, but you will soon start seeing and enjoying the benefits of a positive lifestyle.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.

Stay positive and always remember to help the needy.

Welcome positivity into your life (Part 2)

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Re-organizing your life – away from negative people

The first part of the series was, ‘Identifying negative people in your life‘. Now that you know how to identify negative people, the next step is to get rid of them.

Here are some steps that will help you get rid of negative people.

1 Limited contact or communication: Once we have identified negative people, the best thing would be to stay away from them. But it is easier said than done. Let’s look at it this way, what if that negative person happens to be your neighbor? You cannot indefinitely avoid your neighbor, or stop communicating with him/her for the rest of your life. Hence the realistic approach would be to limit your contact or communication with negative people.
Word of caution: There is a big difference between a negative person and a criminal/outlaw. If you believe or know that a person belongs to the second category, it is best that you stay away from that individual and stop communicating, unless you are a budding criminal or a method actor.

2 Make time for yourself: Once you have decided to stay away from negative people, the next thing that you need to do is plan activities to keep yourself busy. The reason being, your loneliness may not only make you vulnerable but also drive you back towards the very same negative people that you are trying to stay away from.
Here are some activities to keep you busy:

  • Yoga/Meditation
  • Book reading
  • Painting
  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Gym or mixed martial arts class
  • Cooking
  • How about starting your own blog?

3 Choosing your battles: After you have eliminated a couple of negative people from your life, you should not think that you will never encounter a negative person. Actually, something quite different would start happening. Since you know what qualities make a person negative, you will initially feel that you are meeting more negative people than earlier.
But this time when you encounter a negative person who tries to provoke you, think:
Is this where I make a stand?
Being positive is not about remaining silent, but it is about choosing your battles.

4 Help a friend: As mentioned earlier, negative people may not necessarily be evil. So if there is a friend or someone who you really care about, do help.
Start by giving small suggestions, as to how your friend can change his/her attitude towards life. If your friend is receptive and ready for a change, start sharing more. If you are able to save your friend from negativity, you would be really proud of yourself.

5 Meet positive people: Once you have decided to stay away from negative people, start making acquaintances with people who have a positive outlook towards life. While making new friends takes time, and it takes more time once you reach your thirties or forties. But the important thing is to start building a circle of people who have a positive outlook towards life. These people will not only help you grow in life, but will not be a drain on your time and energy and be unresponsive when you need them.
When making new friends, take things slow. Don’t open your heart to the very first person who is ready to listen to your feelings.

While we cannot control the way people in general behave or think, but we surely can change ourselves. A positive life may not make you the richest person in the world, but it would surely make you a happy individual.

Once you have re-organized your life away from negative people, the next step is to create a positive lifestyle. This is what the next and the final post of this series is going to be about.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.

Little boy meets God

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“Mama! Do you know where God lives?” Raghu asked his mother innocently.

Raghu’s mother, Sandhya, thought for a second and said. “No one knows where God lives. But he visits the park in the neighborhood sometimes on Sunday’s.”

“Today is Sunday!” Raghu spoke excitedly. “Will we be going to the park today?”

Sandhya pretended to think for a moment and said. “Okay. We will go to the park today. Tell your dad to get ready soon.”

“Okay.”

“Wait! When you meet God what are you going to offer him?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll pack pop-corn and sweet lemon juice.”

The three soon got ready and left for the park.

“If God decides to visit the park, he sits on either one of those three benches.” Sandhya said pointing towards the three empty benches.

Raghu started playing around the benches, while Sandhya and Rahul kept an eye on him from a distance.

Soon an old woman, with a slight limp, came and sat on one of the empty bench.

Raghu curiously started looked at her. The old woman observed him and smiled back at him.

Raghu silently sat next to the old woman and started observing the wrinkles on her face, which made her look all the more beautiful.

“Are you hungry?” Raghu asked. “I brought pop-corn and sweet lemon juice for you.”

“How did you know that it is my favourite?”

For the next 30 minutes the two laughed and talked.

“Where are your parents?” The old woman asked.

“There.” Raghu pointed in their direction and they waived back.

“Now go back to them.” The old woman said. She then kissed his forehead and happily left.

With a big smile Raghu returned back to his parents.

“So, did you meet God?” Rahul asked.

“Yes. God is a woman and she has pain in her right knee.” Raghu replied immediately.

When the old woman returned back to her home, there was a big smile on her face.

“You look very happy, met someone special today?” Her son enquired.

“I had pop-corn and sweet lemon juice with God. He is much younger than I thought and has a slight lisp.”

As we Hindus say about God’s presence, Yatra Tatra Sarvatra. Meaning that God is present, here there everywhere.

God is present everywhere. All we need to do is share our happiness and make others smile to feel him.

Doing good, does us good

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To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task – Sophocles

There once lived a man who was very helpful and kindhearted. He would help someone even without asking them to pay him back. Owing to this habit of his, he did not have a lot of money, but he was able to live an agreeable and content life.

One day while he was walking on a dusty road, he saw a purse. He picked it up and noticed that the purse was empty.

“Yes this is my purse.” A beautiful young woman shouted, as she came running in his direction accompanied by a policeman.

“Where is my money?” The woman asked as tears ran down her cheeks.

“It was empty when I found it.” The man replied innocently.

“Please give me back my money. It is for my son’s medicines, he is very sick. He’s been like this since he was born, and he has no one but me to take care of him.” The woman begged.

woman-crying

The man thought. “She is a single mother, and she is definitely telling the truth. I should help this needy woman.”

“Take this.” The man said as he handed over all the money that he had.

The woman left and the policeman took the man for further questioning.

As the woman walked towards the medicine store she counted the money, only to realize that it was more than twice the money she was carrying in her purse.

A few days later, the woman was walking towards the same medical store to purchase medicines for her son when she realized that she is being followed by a man.

Fearing that she is again going to be robbed, like the last time. She tightly grabbed her purse against her chest and shouted. “Help! Help! This man is trying to rob me.”

Hearing her, a group of people immediately rushed towards the man and started beating him.

A policeman rushed to the scene and shouted. “Leave him! Leave him alone!”

Hearing the policeman’s words the crowd dispersed.

The woman observed the policeman’s face and realized that he was the same policeman whom she took along to inquire about her purse.

The woman then turned her attention towards the slightly bruised man sitting on the ground. “Look! He is the same person who robbed me last time.”

“He was not the one who stole your money. He is not a thief. But seeing your condition, and hearing about your son, he gave you whatever money he was carrying.” The policeman told.

“The only reason I was following you was to make sure that no one steals your money this time.” The man said, as the policeman helped him stand-up.

The woman felt ashamed for her actions and after a couple of seconds of silence, said. “Please don’t go anywhere. Come to our place, and have dinner. I am sure my son will enjoy your company.”

Sometimes in our anger, desperation or frustration we make wrong judgments. But if we get the opportunity to rectify our mistakes, we should not hesitate. Always be humble and kind towards others who are less fortunate.