Set your goals for the New Year

Business Bhutan - - Editorial - PULKIT SHARMA The writer is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist in Puducherry, In­dia. [Cour­tesy: ToI]

As an­other year draws to a close, most of us are look­ing for­ward to mak­ing new be­gin­nings. This is the time when we set goals and frame res­o­lu­tions – eat­ing health­ier, ex­er­cis­ing daily, chang­ing our dys­func­tional habits, im­prov­ing our re­la­tion­ships, tak­ing good care of our­selves, aug­ment­ing our as­sets, and prac­tic­ing med­i­ta­tion seem to top the list. Once we have de­cided what to do, we try to put the plan into ac­tion. There are times when we suc­ceed and phases where we don’t do well – some of us achieve a goal and move on to the next, oth­ers fail but keep try­ing and a few be­come dis­il­lu­sioned.

Although it is com­monly be­lieved that high achiev­ers are a happy lot, of­ten the truth is that most of them strug­gle with empti­ness and mean­ing­less­ness. They feel that de­spite set­ting and achiev­ing a lot of goals, some­thing big is miss­ing from their life. This hap­pens be­cause their most sought-af­ter goals lack a deeper vi­sion and are based upon in­com­plete self-knowl­edge and so­cial con­di­tion­ing. No won­der a ma­jor­ity re­ports that noth­ing has changed, and per­haps noth­ing will change. When we en­cour­age them to re­flect deeply, they re­al­ize that life is too big, and their goals are usu­ally too small to bring a sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion in their life as well as the lives of those around them.

So, what is the al­ter­na­tive? Per­haps one needs to let go of a nar­row out­look and en­vi­sion the big­ger land­scape. Sufi mys­tic Rumi be­lieved that there is an undis­cov­ered deeper knowl­edge within us hold­ing the key to bliss: “There are two kinds of in­tel­li­gence: one ac­quired, as a child in school mem­o­rizes facts and con­cepts. There is an­other kind of tablet, one al­ready com­pleted and pre­served in­side you. This other in­tel­li­gence does not turn yel­low or stag­nate. It’s fluid, and it doesn’t move from out­side to in­side through learn­ing. This sec­ond know­ing is a foun­tain­head from within you, mov­ing out.”

If you wish to move for­ward, then stop chas­ing spe­cific and short-lived goals. In­stead, come up with an all-en­com­pass­ing vi­sion to guide your life. Imag­ine the per­fect, the high­est pos­si­ble, the strong­est and the most evolved ver­sion of your­self and think of an ideal life. This will give you an idea of what all you need to change about your present life. With this new­found aware­ness, as­pire re­lent­lessly to sculpt your body, heart and mind mov­ing closer to your ideal.

The jour­ney be­comes faster when the as­pi­ra­tion stays in your con­scious­ness all the time like a con­stant flame. For strength­en­ing your as­pi­ra­tion, you need to re­peat­edly re­mem­ber and con­cen­trate on it sev­eral times in the day and al­low all your thoughts, feel­ings and ac­tions to be guided by it. In other words, you call upon the high­est ideal within you to shape your­self to per­fec­tion and with pa­tience, per­se­ver­ance and prac­tice you trans­form into a new be­ing.

Although your goals keep you mov­ing, they don’t tell you the right di­rec­tion. For a bliss­ful and mean­ing­ful ex­is­tence, you need to first cre­ate a vi­sion for your life and then set spe­cific goals to ful­fill this vi­sion. There­fore, let’s do some­thing dif­fer­ent in the com­ing year: let’s be­gin with a grand vi­sion and then set goals to bring our life closer to this vi­sion.

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