Imam Zijad’s Corner: Goal Setting in Life

Goal Setting in Life

Studies have shown that the majority of people fail to set any type of goals in their life and hence drift through the oceans of life like a raft on an uncharted stormy sea. It seems that human beings take life as it comes…for granted and without serious planning.

However, some of us, at some stage of our life, have set mini goals for ourselves; we call them new resolutions. We set a goal to be more patient with family members (never to yell and embarrass ourselves, we set a goal to lose weight or earn more money or stop smoking, or volunteer 20 hours for SNMC, pay $20 a month…

However, we often find that soon after making these ‘promises‘ to ourselves, we either forget about these goals, or we find that we simply do not have the time to carry them out. Another year passes, and history repeats itself at the beginning of another year, and we once again set out to make a list of new/the same resolutions or goals that we would like to accomplish in the coming year. But how many of us really accomplish our goals? How many of us really take the time to plan our goals? How many of us really know which goals are important?

When we plan a long-awaited overseas (back home) journey for a holiday or even a weekend trip (or a wedding), we usually go through much planning regarding every stage of the trip (e.g. tickets, itinerary, baggage, clothes etc).

However, even though we plan a holiday in such detail, it is ironic that we sometimes don’t take the time to plan our life…Let us check ourselves and we will notice that we know how to plan in some areas of our lives…not in all. Let us ask a few questions about a journey to the lands of origins:


Do you know where you are going?

Do you know when you are going?

Do you know when you will be returning?

Do you have the opportunity to say farewell to friends & family before you go?

Do you know what currency to take?

Do you know what provisions to take?

Have you planned adequately for the journey?

A life without a plan is a plan for failure.

People who do not set goals, drift aimlessly in life, from one day to the next, not really knowing where they are going and not knowing if they have arrived to their destination. Setting goals is important since it gives direction, meaning, and purpose to our life. Goals can be long term, medium term and short term. Ultimately, the short term and medium term goals must link up to the long-term goals so that there is harmony and direction in our daily activities. We will never know what we are capable of achieving if we do not set high enough goals for ourselves.

Smart Goals

We know that we have a goal in life when it meets the criteria of a SMART goal – meaning:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely

Specific: Goals should be straightforward and emphasize exactly what you want to happen – what motivates you. Specifics, defined goals help us clearly define what we are going to do and focus our efforts in it pursuit.

Measurable: Establish concrete criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. In expending energy on your goals, you can measure your progress, and stay on track. When you reach your target dates, you experience the excitement of achievement that spurs you on to continued efforts required to reach your goals.

Achievable: A goal needs to stretch you slightly – stretching your abilities. While it may be out of your comfort zone, you should still feel you can do it, though it may need a real commitment from you.

Realistic: Set goals that you can attain with some degree of effort. If they are too difficult, you may set the stage for failure. Too low and you send yourself the message that you aren’t very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement, but not too high so that you feel frustrated and dispirited!

Timely: If you don’t set a time, your commitment is too vague and scattered. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to starting or taking action now, no necessity in acquiring the resources or the skills to make it happen. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

SMART goal setting provides you with all the ingredients to making your hopes and dreams come true, keeping you on track and on your life purpose. Living a life of purpose, a life that is purpose driven, can lead to greater happiness. Setting and achieving goals based on your life purpose can lead to a greater sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. With a life that is purpose driven, teeming with goals, you’ll soon discover for yourself what is a meaning of the real success.