Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Seven 'P's

[123/365] Han shot firstImage by pasukaru76 via FlickrBy Jasur Umarov

Imagine you are in your car about to embark on an 800 mile journey with no destination. You haven't packed a thing and you have little or no money with you either. You wouldn't do that did you say?

Sadly that is what so many people do when they embark on the journey known as life! They are drifting with no purpose or plan. In life, as well as any major task, event, or challenge we have to make a plan.

One way to remember this is the seven P's statement which states that prior, proper planning prevents pitifully poor performance. There is never a time this is not true! Whether it be a paper or a simple grocery run.

How do we make a plan for our life when we don't know what we are facing? The better question is how could we not? In order to make a successful plan there are a few questions you need to do some brainstorming over.

What are your career goals? What level would you like to achieve?

What are your expectations financially and will your career choice satisfy these expectations?

What sort of education do you need to achieve your career goals?

Do you want a family? Are children a part of your future? How are you going to be a good parent? Will you do your best to make your spouse happy? How?

Do you have any goals from an artistic mindset that you wish to achieve?

Is there any part of your attitude that may keep you from reaching your goals? Is there anything that you need to check yourself on?

Are there any fitness or athletic goals that you would like to achieve? Do you want to maintain good health into old age?

What do you derive pleasure from, and how do you intend to fit this into your life?

Do you have a desire to change the world through public service?

Give these some thought and come up with some goals from each category that holds significance to you. After you do this, read over them and make sure that these are your goals and not your parents, brothers, or best friends. This is important, because you are the one that has to live in the life that you make.

None of the above listed are going to live for you, and you will inevitably be responsible for your own happiness and success. If you already have a life partner, you of course need to take their input into account as this will be an important part of the glue that keeps your relationship strong. Your answers to these questions set the stage for your long term goals.

Next you need to break down your goals into what is commonly referred to as "the five year plan." When you get to this stage you need to be more time specific as to when you want to achieve certain things. It is essential for motivation and a personal sense of achievement to have and reach goals.

If you have too wide of a window as to when these are to be met, you will get complacent and may never feel satisfied. The drifter feel will start to infest your mind and will prohibit you from attaining the proper level of self awareness necessary to get across the finish line.

Take your five year plan and break it down into segments of time such as a year, six months, and so on and so forth. Keep a to do list at least weekly but preferably daily and reaccess your goals as your priorities and desires change.

A commonly used mnemonic for goal setting is:

S - Specific (or Significant).
M - Measurable (or Meaningful).
A - Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R - Relevant (or Rewarding).
T - Time-bound (or Trackable).

It stands to reason that if you make your goals more specific, meaningful, attainable, rewarding and set a time frame, you will achieve more. For example if you stated that in your life you wanted to take a trip to Italy, that is very vague, but if you said you wished to take a trip to Italy so you can explore your heritage and see a part of where your come from, and you wish to do this by the time you are thirty five. Well, you are much more likely to know the steps you need to take and when and how to get there.

Is this really the best way to set goals? Dr Locke thought so!

Dr Edwin Locke did the pioneer research and developed a theory on the correlation between goal setting and motivation in the late 1960's. In his 1968 article "Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives," he stated that employees were motivated by clear goals and appropriate feedback. Locke went on to say that working toward a goal provided a major source of motivation to actually reach the goal - which, in turn, improved performance.

In conclusion, remember not to beat yourself up if you don't reach the goals that you set. Learn from your experience and evaluate the why, and get going on your life. This is not a dress rehearsal!!!!!!

Student Ed

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