Encouraging Employability Series – Article 1 – Planning and Goal Setting


If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail so said Benjamin Franklin, the American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.


Planning is the foundation of any process or goal setting. A meticulous planning is the essential secret of success, and all over the world successful people agree that for them it all started with a plan.


In this article we will deal with the importance of the following –


  • Understand the need to plan
  • Learn the steps of planning
  • Use planning for our life events
  • Set goals in the SMART format
  • Create a plan to achieve the goals


Plans can be of three basic types

Long Range: 2 years

Medium Range: 1 year

Short Range: 6 months


To set our goals, we need to get SMART!




S – Specific – Know exactly what  you want to accomplish



M – Measurable – How will you know you have met your goal?

A – Attainable – Make sure your goal is not too far to reach but far enough to be challenging

R – Realistic – Link the goal to something important to you, so the goal ties in with your life’s plans

T – Timely – When do you want your goals to be met?




Think about the three most important things you want to achieve by the end of this year keeping in mind the theory of Smart Goals. Examples: Getting a job, earning a certain salary, appearing and clearing competitive exams, career planning, getting rid of bad habits, inculcating new hobbies etc.


An example

Let’s take an example of the GOAL which most of us have all the time. The goal that we talk about endlessly, and the one we hear about every day perhaps… ‘WEIGHT LOSS’!!!

If not us, then maybe a parent, a friend, a relative, a neighbor. Someone or the other is always talking about weight loss around us.

So let’s start by looking at what kind of a SMART GOAL we could create by using these 5 steps:


Write the words LOSE WEIGHT in bold letters on a board and then walk the audience through the picture on the PPT, and then find out –

  • Are the goals SPECIFIC?
  • Are the goals MEASURABLE?
  • Are the goals ACHIEVABLE?
  • Are the goals RELEVANT?
  • Are there a TIME limit for these goal?


Let’s now review the weight loss goal:

  • Specific – Is it specific? It means does it have numbers or is it non- specific, and just says “I want to lose weight”
  • Measurable – Is it measurable? It means does it have a particular measurable number like -10 or 12 kgs.
  • Achievable – Yes, saying 50 kgs in 6 months is unachievable, unless we do some surgery or consult a special doctor. 2 kgs a month is achievable at an individual level.
  • Relevant- Is the goal relevant today? Or should we be focusing on some other goal altogether?
  • Time bound – Yes, we must have specified the time limit. If we would have said ‘this year’ then it means nothing. But six months specifies even the time requirement.



How do you plan your day?

  •  What are some of the things that you plan for in your life?
  • Do you create a written plan?
  • Do you share the plan with anyone?
  • Are you able to follow the plan?



Lack of planning an constitute a crisis for you

You might have heard about the ‘to do’ list or the ‘time-table’ or the ‘organizer’. All of these are excellent planning tools that are available and accessible to all. They may be in the form of an app, a diary, a self made- hand made booklet. If you aren’t using one already, its time you got one.


Steps of Planning

  • Step 1: What
  • Step 2: Why
  • Step 3: When
  • Step 4: Who
  • Step 5: How
  • Step 6: Celebrate


Step 1: What do you want to do? Is there a SMART goal prepared? Be extremely clear.

Step 2: Why do I want to do this? What’s my motivation behind doing this? Is it in line with my larger objective in life? Am I doing it for peer pressure or because it matters to me?

Step 3: When do you want to complete it? Can we break it down into a three step process?

Step 4: Who will help you with it? Your Friend, parent, teacher, mentor. What exactly will you ask them to do? What are some rules they can follow to monitor you? Can they remind without you being upset?

Step 5: How will you do it? Break it in a step by step fashion. There may be as many as ten steps to complete the plan!

Step 6: Celebrate- How will you celebrate your success? Can you celebrate small goals being achieved.


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